Homelessness is a pervasive and widespread issue that is an underlying and unseen social concern. Reports from the National Law Center for Homelessness and Poverty estimate that 3.5 million people experience homelessness each year (NCH, 2007). Depressingly, instead of working to end the issue of homelessness, many Americans allow for their stereotypes and false perceptions to misconstrue reality of those facing homelessness and further disempower individuals. This idea is supported by Harris and Fiske's (2006) research finding that when individuals are shown images of homeless individuals, people respond with feelings of low warm and low competence. This response illustrates the severe prejudice and dehumanization individuals' experience when labeled with the term homeless.
In understanding the deep and oppressive social structures that contribute to homelessness, I recognize that this project cannot eliminate homelessness. However, this project is aimed to challenge the public's perception of the homeless and demonstrate their remarkable qualities. In addition this project plans to work with individuals facing homelessness and help them gain self-empowerment and greater self-esteem. This focus on one's personality will help enable individuals to reconnect with their lives and community. Moreover, this project also hopes to resolve the leadership deficit among the underprivileged. Historically, leadership has been used as a tool for social change, yet only taught formally to those of privilege. Overall, this project is working at the core to challenge peoples' perception of homelessness and offer leadership opportunities to individuals' facing homelessness.