Step One: Create a Scene
As I reached the top of the escalator, tired office workers and students scrambled passed me to catch their busses. Over the music from my earphones, I could hear their coats brush up against mine and their boots clang on the steps. Joining the steady flow of passengers, I walked passed the homeless woman stretched out on the floor and the STM officer who stood above her. None of the other passengers paid attention to her and my eyes, like theirs, looked forward uninterested. The young woman who reached the metro door first held it open for me as I exited into the cold, unmoved.
Step Two: Using Hyperlinks/Combining Sources
Many sources point to the negative perceptions of homeless people as a cause for the lack of empathy felt towards them. One source suggests that roughly 60 percent of people are willing to pay more taxes to help the homeless. However, while this abstract idea of helping homeless people attracts support, real experiences with the homeless often drives people away. A study by the Journal of Consumer Research from 2014 proposes that the real reason individuals avoid helping some groups of people is that their responsibility in their situation knocks down any sense of justice. Since a common perception of homeless people is that they’re responsible for their situation, people are less likely to want to help, according to the study.
Step Three: Thinking in Concrete Terms
Most think they could never become homeless, which is part of why people empathize less with homeless people. However, according to one study, 40 percent of Americans live paycheck to paycheck. In the case of Katrina Blanchard-Gervais, she seemed to have a regular life until enough unplanned events added up. After leaving an unhealthy relationship, the mother of six became homeless after months of struggles.