We Need to Talk About The Homeless Perception Problem

DePaul UK’s Street Corners ad is the latest in a collective campaign against how people perceive the homeless.

Today’s society has a tendency to disparage the homeless, and it is becoming one of our most divisive, broken, and visibly apparent faults. The way some people’s minds immediately jump to conclusions, diagnosing complete strangers down on their luck with drug problems, alcoholism, and bad judgment is an obstacle in the way of giving aid to those who need it the most.

DePaul UK, a group with the mission of helping the homeless and disadvantaged, started a Street Corners campaign to promote its Nightstop program, in which homeless young people aged 16-25 are matched with a volunteer host.

The posters use perspective to present one side of a story that illustrates typical stereotypes and common reservations when it comes to regarding the homeless. “There’s another side to the story,” the tagline says. Only when the reader turns the corner to read the other half of the poster, does the heartening message come together.

Image via

According to Depaul Nightstop UK’s website, “In 2013 Nightstop provided 11,755 bed nights and volunteer hosts gave over 176,000 hours of their time. A placement can be overnight or up to two weeks and can mark the first step out of homelessness for a young person.”

Publicis London, the agency that conceived the Street Corners campaign, wanted to address the two sides of each homeless person’s story, and also the two sides of the reactions that people have when they encounter the Nighstop program.

Publicis art director Dan Kennard and copywriter Ben Smith told Slate:

When you hear about the Nightstop program, they said, “You think ‘Ah, that’s fantastic,’ but your mind also automatically questions whether it’s dangerous and what the young people involved must be like. But then you hear from people who actually volunteer with the project and you realize your preconceptions are actually way off the mark. Most young people are more scared than the people hosting them, they’re grateful and any problems are very rare indeed.”

One of the agency’s previous campaigns, entitled “Fuck the Poor,” uses the understandably outraged reactions of pedestrians to point out that while people care about the homeless deep down, a message like “Help the Poor” largely goes unnoticed in a crowd.

Movements like these contribute to alleviating some of the hardships that homeless people may face on a day-to-day basis, albeit in their own special way. By tackling the perception problem that derives from the public, affecting the unfortunate—as evidenced by the video in which homeless people are asked to read tweets that generalize folks on the streets—more of our global society may be moved to tap into the larger pool of compassion and understanding, which will be essential in creating a more connected and loving world.

Photo by Josh Couch on Unsplash

Christopher Columbus, Alexander Hamilton, William Shakespeare, and Sir Walter Scott are getting company. Statues of the famous men are scattered across Central Park in New York City, along with 19 others. But they'll finally be joined by a few women.

Susan B. Anthony, Elizabeth Cady Stanton, and Sojourner Truth are the subjects of a new statue that will be on display along The Mall, a walkway that runs through the park from 66th to 72nd street. It will be dedicated in August of next year, which is fittingly the 100-year anniversary of the 19th Amendment that granted women the right to vote.

Currently, just 3% of statues in New York City are dedicated to women. Out of 150 statues of historical figures across the city, only five statues are of historical women, including Joan of Arc, Golda Meir, Gertrude Stein, Eleanor Roosevelt, and Harriet Tubman.

Keep Reading Show less

It's easy to become calloused to everyday headlines with messages like, "the world is ending" and "everything is going extinct." They're so prevalent, in fact, that the severity of these statements has completely diminished to the point that no one pays them any attention. This environmental negativity (coined "eco-phobia") has led us to believe that all hope is lost for wildlife. But luckily, that isn't the case.

Historically, we have waited until something is near the complete point of collapse, then fought and clawed to bring the species numbers back up. But oftentimes we wait so long that it's too late. Creatures vanish from the Earth altogether. They go extinct. And even though I don't think for a single second that we should downplay the severity of extinction, if we can flip this on its head and show that every once in a while a species we have given up on is actually still out there, hanging on by a thread against all odds, that is a story that deserves to be told. A tragic story of loss becomes one about an animal that deserves a shot at preservation and a message of hope the world deserves to hear.

As a wildlife biologist and tracker who has dedicated his life to the pursuit of animals I believe have been wrongfully deemed extinct, I spend most of my time in super remote corners of the Earth, hoping to find some shred of evidence that these incredible creatures are still out there. And to be frank, I'm pretty damn good at it!

Keep Reading Show less
The Planet

For more than 20 years. Sen. Susan Collins (R-ME) has served the citizens of Maine in the U.S. Senate. For most of that time, she has enjoyed a hard-fought reputation as a moderate Republican who methodically builds bridges and consensus in an era of political polarization. To millions of political observers, she exemplified the best of post-partisan leadership, finding a "third way" through the static of ideological tribalism.

However, all of that has changed since the election of Donald Trump in 2016. Voters in Maine, particularly those who lean left, have run out of patience with Collins and her seeming refusal to stand up to Trump. That frustration peaked with the nomination of Brett Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court.

Keep Reading Show less
NHM Vienna/Hans Reschreiter

Wealth inequality has been a hot topic of discussion as of late, but it's something that's occurred all throughout history. Class structure is a complicated issue, especially when you consider that haves and have nots have been in existence for over 4,000 years.

A study published in Science took a look at over 100 late Neolithic and early Bronze Age skeletons found in a burial site in southern Germany. The study "shed light on the complexity of social status, inheritance rules, and mobility during the Bronze Age." Partly by looking at their teeth and the artifacts they were buried with, researchers were able to discover that wealth inequality existed almost 4,000 years ago. "Our results reveal that individual households lasting several generations consisted of a high-status core family and unrelated low-status individuals, a social organization accompanied by patrilocality and female exogamy, and the stability of this system over 700 years," the study said.

Keep Reading Show less
via / Flickr and Dimitri Rodriguez / Flickr

Bernie Sanders' presidential campaign looks to be getting a huge big shot in the arm after it's faced some difficulties over the past few weeks.

Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, a leading voice in the Democratic parties progressive, Democratic Socialist wing, is expected to endorse Sanders' campaign at the "Bernie's Back" rally in Queens, New York this Saturday.

Fellow member of "the Squad," Ilhan Omar, endorsed him on Wednesday.

Keep Reading Show less