‘Classism’ in Youth Shelters?

Our fund development specialist, Sharon Vardatira, sent this along. It’s from the newsletter ‘Classism Exposed’:

Past homelessness seems like it would be a positive job qualification for working at a homeless shelter — but not if classism makes coworkers mistrustful or patronizing.

In “Anatomy of a cross-class breakdown at a youth shelter,” Polly Trout brings us the confidential journal of her friend, a youth shelter worker who got positive responses from the guests, but who documented condescending attitudes towards herself and the youth before quitting.

I invite your comments. Have you had similar experiences of disrespect? How could the experience and knowledge of former users of social services, and others who share their class background, be better tapped to improve future services?

Any thoughts? True to your experience?

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Reaction to “‘Classism’ in Youth Shelters?

  1. IMHO “credentialism” is rampant in human services that serve the homeless – especially in large bureaucratic organizations. Smaller, grass roots orgs seem to do a little better at that. I’ve experienced this first hand. Licensing requirements often present problems, and in Massachusetts the CORI rules have racist implications in the way the rules written and implemented.


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