Belmont University Research Symposium (BURS)


Stereotyping the Streets: An Exploration into the Roots of Homelessness

Publication Date

Spring 3-31-2022


Entertainment and Music Business, Mike Curb College of


Music, School of

BURS Faculty Advisor

Dr Virginia Lamothe

Presentation Type

Oral Presentation


Homelessness is a significant problem that affects millions of people today. I’m from Seattle, Washington, where over ten thousand people live on the streets. While the numbers are expanding, the issue isn’t getting resolved as many people associate homelessness as a problem rooted in drug addiction or indolence. However, the situation is far more complex. Through my research, I determined that homelessness is an issue surrounded by many paths that can lead one to it. One of the leading paths is mental health. Over 74% of people experiencing homelessness have a mental condition that blocks them from seeking resources. Systemic racism is also a leading factor, with homelessness percentages spiking among African American, Native American, and Pacific Islander communities. These groups make up a majority of the homeless population. Many government systems created to oppress these groups are still in place, minorities are still not given equal opportunity. When observing a person experiencing homelessness, we forget about these statistics and assume wrongly how they got into this situation. The assumptions we make block us from having conversations on the true causes of homelessness. If we are more observant of these causes, we can determine how to eradicate homelessness and build a more equal society.

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