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February 9, 1990

The Homeless-Reply

Author Affiliations

Washington, DC

Washington, DC

JAMA. 1990;263(6):810. doi:10.1001/jama.1990.03440060050016

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In Reply.—  Mr Hickey is correct to remind us that no one is immune from the tragedy of homelessness; he is also correct to remind us of the vast potential that is being lost in our current war against poverty. Precise numbers are not available, but it is likely that almost half the homeless in America are children whose unlimited potential is being cruelly wasted.But the reality is that most readers of JAMA are not in danger of homelessness or of significant poverty. Most of the homeless do come from the margins, from environments and cultures that we who are affluent cannot imagine. Very many of the poor are broken—addicted, mentally ill, emotionally and spiritually crushed by the weight of deprivation we cannot understand. Because "they" are so different from "us," there is the growing sense in our society that the poor have somehow brought their misfortune on themselves