Homelessness In The US vs. Abroad


Homelessness and poverty is an issue experienced by far too many people world wide.  And while Americans tend to see homeless and impoverished people on the side of the road, sitting on the street passively holding a sign asking for assistance, or even see less fortunate people while volunteering at a food bank, this type of homelessness and poverty is a little different from types of poverty experienced elsewhere in the world.

Now, regardless of location, poverty and homelessness is always a subject that should never be treated as a joke.  Some people look at people without homes and think that they are lazy, on drugs, or have a variety of different issues.  And because those circumstances are not always the case, it is never ok to judge someone based on rash assumptions.  However, it is easier to spot the differences between homeless and impoverished people in the U.S and abroad.

For example, many homeless Americans live in certain areas where they have ended up by chance and circumstance.  Often times, you see people holding raggedy cardboard signs walking up and down the street asking for money. You may also see people sitting on a bench and silently pleading for money.  However, the impoverished and homeless people in Europe, for example, act a lot differently.  In the U.S, homeless people are a lot more passive.  However, in Spain, for example, beggars will actively come up to you and ask for money.  These beggars will even enter restaurants and harass customers by trying to sell them a rose for some money or by just haggling them.  Often times, these beggars walk freely in these restaurants until the managers notice and ask them to leave.  Another difference is that many beggars in western European countries have travelled from other impoverished parts of Europe like Romania.  These beggers are there on purpose and not as much by circumstance.  Entire communities of gypsies are prevalent in European countries with their sole source of income as money they recieve by begging.  Spanish people also have a superstitious theory when it comes to one certain types of begger.  One theory is that if you look into crystal clear colored eyes of a gypsy beggar, that you will be cursed with misfortune.  Because of this, many people look away as they walk past these beggars.

Homelessness and poverty is a very sad subject and something not to take lightly.  However, it is interesting to note the different ways in which impoverished people behave in comparison to where they live globally.


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