I wanted to share this first hand account of two of my friends, both vandwellers and one homeless. I hope it opens your eyes to the stigma that exists of being homeless and it changes how you view both vandwellers and homeless in the future.
In the 1950 as a young boy I remember hearing of, and seeing Gypsies in town parked by Round Meadow Pond where a building used to be and before the interstate came through town. The Gypsy vehicles were different than the single residential cars that were in neighbors yards and was misterious to me as a child.
Related Smithsonian Article about Gypsies in our country.
My memory of when the Gypsies were in town that mothers and fathers would advise each other and neighbors to keep an eye on your children. There seemed to be common belief that Gypsies may steal children. I don't know if it was just a ploy to scare children away from them vs how much they believed we were ripe for the sealing. I know of no such incident that would bring such caution, but it was a bias. A bias that carried with me and I sm sure others through the years.
A couple of different conversations that I had during my trip one suggested I may have a bias on homeless vandwellers. It was felt that the perceived bias may play a role in how I view vandwelling I needed to search for understanding.
First I needed to ensure that what the definition of bias was.