Deserving Poor vs Non Deserving Poor

by Don Garza

I saw two videos in the past month in which the people speaking made a distinction between homeless people : we call them the deserving poor and the non deserving poor.

Many people suffer with illnesses that can not be seen . Not only mental illness , but physical illness and they can affect a persons abilities to varying degrees.

Georgia Berkovich a recovering addict who works for The Midnight Mission alluded to this concept . Recovering addicts have a tendency to continuously exhibit their insecurities in ways that make them feel superior . It is a subconscious thing that they do which makes them feel good about themselves .

Vijay Gupta in a recent talk also alluded to the deserving poor and the non deserving poor highlighting how wonderful it is to advocate for ones self and be able to work , while speaking down on someone else who has a different struggle with both physical and mental illness.

D'John and two little girls Darla and Emory
Which person “deserves” your help?

It is distressing to know that those who want to work with the homeless and the addicted and or mentally ill still work within the parameters that there are those more worthy of help than others amongst those who do want the help.

I watched how the addicted treated the weaker who were physically and or mentally ill in skid row. Those who did manage to make it to recovery always treated the weaker as inferior once they were sober. It made them feel better. It was horrible to watch as those who were able to get housing worked to get the weaker evicted because they felt that those mentally ill people should not live in the same building as them. The stronger forcing the weaker into the streets from the housing that was built for the weaker. This is part of why you see many on the streets as the section 8 housing is filled with people who could live somewhere else, but choose to stay in that subsidized housing because they can.

What a shame that many seeking the Hollywood dream from other states move into the housing built for the homeless . , The traditional homeless and then conspire to complain and ultimately have them evicted from the housing which was built for them and thrown into the streets .

If only people like Georgia Berkovich and Vijay Gupta would not preach about how there is a distinction between the deserving poor and the non deserving poor that does not exist . It’s type of thinking which of course is why we have a homeless crisis in the first place .

Sunday , I am meeting with a veteran who is homeless and will help make a game plan for him now that he is homeless. Referred to me by his friend. I can navigate the veterans system , not always , but I can get him to the right advocates.
Many times we need people to advocate for us. I can’t believe Vijay Gupta would claim that we should always be able to advocate for ourselves . In an ideal world and , of course, a world of privilege which he lives in he can , but in the real world we need help at times in that arena.

I just came back from South Texas and helped people deal with mold after their homes were flooded. Many of these home owners did not know what to do since it never flooded in their communities . They needed guidance , they needed people who could show them what to do . And we did .

Don’t be afraid to ask for help and don’t be afraid to be an advocate for someone else until they can advocate for themselves again or there are times they may never be able to advocate for themselves and that is when we the stronger should not be judge mental and advocate for them .

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