What Color is a Homeless Person. Reality vs Perception

We were crowded around a computer in the corner of a transitional housing apartment building on Wednesday Night searching for pictures of homeless people. Everyone with me had been homeless in the past 10 years. 2 of them were African American, one Hispanic and two were Caucasian. I was making my point that the typical portal of a homeless person is a middle aged or older African American Male.

We Googled and Binged and then walked out to the corner of Seventh and Stanford to look at the actual street. The computer and the people did not equate.

It took three pages of surfing before I found a picture of a homeless child. but 27-43% are children in families.

 33-50% of the homeless are female – but among the visible homeless – it looks more like 25%. This is because many females have children with them and live in missions, or with friends, or in more sheltered locations such as under bridges.

I included a chart to how you the ethnic breakdown of the population.

Race General Population Homeless Population
Latino 47% 33%
White 30% 14%
African American 9% 50%
Asian/Pacific Islander 12% 2%
Other 2% Less than 1%

Source: Institute for the Study of Homelessness & Poverty at the Weingart Center

When The Bold and the Beautiful showed the actual population living on the row and in the URM, the demographic difference between the homeless and the typical cast of characters was evident and discussed .

“Forget what I said the other day, yesterday was the most black people Ive ever seen on the show. I lost count. Overall it was a pretty good show”-Cheap21 on boards.soapoperanetwork.com

“I  know this is well-intentioned…but it’s ridiculously out-of-place on B&B. It’ll make the return to lily-white”-PJ on boards.soapoperanetwork.com

The reality is that half of the people who are homeless are African American; not most of them, or all of them, but half of them.

CBS’s the Bold and the Beautiful is set in Beverly Hills. 85.1% of the people who live there are Caucasian (white). Only 1.80% are African American.

It is not racial profiling for a show set in a predominantly white city to have a predominantly white cast.  When the show went on location – the demographic reflected the population of where they went.

I don’t suggest we all take pictures of every person we see who is not housed and then tag them so that they show up more accurately represented on the internet – but I am suggesting we look at ourselves and wonder – “If I were homeless, would I look like my idea of a homeless person?”

Published by Homeless

Mommy. Social worker. Nice lady seeking to end homelessness and end poverty. FightOn

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