So many people use the saying "Don't judge a book by it's cover." In most cases it refers to someone's personality vs. how they dress. And for our client's this reference is true, but it actually goes in the opposite direction.
90% of our clients have at least one outfit that is nice. They blend in with society. If you saw them in a crowd you wouldn't be able to pick them out as being homeless. The movies portray a homeless person as being overly soiled with an unkept appearance. But if you've worked with the homeless, usually only those with accompanying mental disabilities actually look like the movie sterotype.
Most of our clients appear very put together. They are nicely groomed, mostly with the help of shelters and generous donations that come in from the community. They take pride in how they look because they really don't have anything else to be proud of. But if you look, make eye contact and look into their eyes. The eyes can't lie - you can see hopelessness, rejection, low self-esteem, sadness. It's "the look" of needing help.
Many people, walking around, appearring "normal" are actually in some sort of crisis. We need to become a society that chooses to look people in the eye again. It's not enough to say we won't judge. We need to see a need and then fill that need. We are blessed with eyes that see, so let's really take a good look at the people around us!