Written by Betsy Horowitz
A disheveled old man in ragged clothes mutters to himself, picking through garbage in an alley. The sounds of the street echo off the walls of the neighboring buildings, car horns cutting through the general din of engines and conversations, footsteps and closing doors.
This scene, or something like it, has been portrayed as the common experience of someone experiencing homelessness in movies and television shows for decades. It can be difficult for most of us to imagine homelessness in any other setting, or with any different mix of traits, because the stereotypes that have been built before us are so deeply ingrained in our minds.
But stereotypes oversimplify complex issues. The scene presented above doesn’t accurately capture the full picture of homel