Survival Guide to Homelessness

No matter where you go, there you are.

Saturday, April 23, 2011

How to Solve Homelessness

I get too much praise for this blog. The praise is extreme. I think I have an idea why. I'm one of the few people that doesn't try to give you a path to leave homelessness, and that is a welcome relief. I don't try to save you. I don't humiliate you.

Homelessness is isolating. No one understands what you are going through. People who know you are homeless are constantly trying to cure you of the condition. Cure you, like you have a disease. They have telethons, church fundraisers, comedians get together and have television specials to raise millions for the homeless. By the way, where the heck did that money go? Robin Williams, Billy Crystal, Whoopie Goldberg, if you are reading this, please explain how Comic Relief ever assisted me, or really anyone.

The first problem with relief efforts is they reach the rich. It's easy for a donor to find Comic Relief and make a donation, but it is very, very hard for Comic Relief to find a homeless teenager, figure out what that child needs and provide it, even if the charity had unlimited funds. The second problem is the charity is deaf in a far more profound way than a person might be deaf. Deaf people find ways to communicate, form communities, learn to listen with their eyes and talk with their hands. Charities, by contrast, and I don't mean to single out Comic Relief, never talk to the people they are "helping". They are deaf, blind, and stupidly attached to their assessment of the problem.

As a homeless person, I do not want someone to feed me. I do not want someone to house me. I do not want a blanket, and I will not work for food! You have to ask me what it is I need if you want to have an effect. As a homeless person, I am not even trying to find a way out of homelessness. It is too simple to say that I was going just fine until someone took my shelter away, and now I am in chaos. If only someone would give me back my shelter the chaos would abate. Nonsense. I'm not in chaos. I have a definable set of problems and giving me shelter won't solve them. It is only a tiny piece. Furthermore, I don't want a cure for my life. Most people who write to me who are homeless chose homelessness. Homelessness was their answer to another problem, a foreclosed home, a lost job, a catastrophic disease which left them bankrupt and disabled, an abusive family, a lack. Alas, this is the hardest thing to explain. Homelessness was a positive step toward solving other problems.

Robin, Whoopie, Billy, I love you guys. I watch your movies. I like your stand up. I could do without The View but you can't please everyone all the time. I don't expect you to solve homelessness. It doesn't need solving. People who are homeless could use some help sometimes, but you have to listen and see and think about how to offer that help. Money and laughs won't do it. You are just salving the guilt of society. Don't do that. Society needs to be uncomfortable.

I've thought a long time about what would be useful to the homeless. We need public toilets. Not filthy portapotties, but proper restrooms that are private and clean. We need safe places to sleep. Capsule hotels, which are found in Tokyo and some other places in the world, would be most excellent. The rooms should be very cheap, and I mean five bucks is too much. They should be subsidized, and there should be twice as many as there is a demand for them. They should be extremely secure, and you should be allowed to stay for as long as you want. We need showers. Safe, secure, single occupancy showers. Those are answers that would help people.

If cities want us off the streets, they should offer these alternatives. They would be cheap and easy.

Teen runaways who declare that they are without guardianship should not be treated as criminals, and should not be compelled to live a criminal life. They should be issued cards which confer the right to work upon them. Forget child labor laws. They have a perverse outcome, effectively forcing children to become prostitutes, drug dealers, and thieves. Emancipation should be an on-demand right for all children.

Get rid of laws which forbid sleep. Who are you kidding? Those laws contribute to the meth problem in this country. Those laws destroy lives.

You want to solve problems? Homeless people have problems, they are not the problem. Don't treat them as something that needs a cure.

48 Comments:

At 12:24 PM, Blogger JD said...

As someone who writes a blog entitled 'A Visitor's Guide to People, many without a home', I am delighted with your blog. It goes deeper, whereas mine barely scrapes the surface.
I would love - with your permission to post a link to your blog.
Keep up the good work!
John Deacon
www.homelessguide.com

 
At 10:38 PM, Blogger Mobile Homemaker said...

Sure you can put a link to me on your blog, JD. :)

 
At 10:31 AM, Blogger Doing It Homeless said...

hey buddy, thanks for your post. If I can help you or someone you know in any way, just let me know. It costs you nothing to send me an email. I'm showing a different side of homelessness while living in my car in Los Angeles. http://doingithomeless.com/today-marks-6-months-being-homeless. Can I add your blog to mine?

 
At 12:47 PM, Blogger Mobile Homemaker said...

Anyone can link to me from their blog. That's fair play, and doesn't require my permission, but if you want my permission...

Sure! Go for it! :)

 
At 5:40 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I have a question for you. I had an idea to start a program where homeless/unemployed volunteer to help those less fortunate then even themselves. A missions trip for example. Do you think this is something that would be valued? I wonder if it could instill purpose in the lives of homeless and create fulfillment by helping others? If you think this is a good idea, how could one go about motivating people to participate?
Obviously logistically, food, board and travel would be paid for through fundraising. Let me know what you think...

 
At 7:53 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thank you for the recent posts. IT is good to see you back on the blog. Your work touches lives of many people, homeless, those trying to understand homelessness, those who want to help but don't know how, and probably many others.

 
At 8:30 PM, Blogger S. Kahlon said...

I am graduating from college in four days, and my lease on my apartment is ending in five. I have nothing but the car that my parents gave me a couple of years before they declared bankruptcy. Well, that and $30,000 in debt.

I've been trying to figure out a logical way to live in my car, and after a month or so of research, I found your blog. And I am so glad I did. Because you are right. The choice that I am making now, to be "homeless," is a choice. No one is forcing me to do this. But as soon as I had the idea, it struck me as right and true and necessary. At least for now.

And if I hate it, well, we'll see then. But for now, I will read your blog until I fall asleep.

 
At 10:54 PM, Blogger Mobile Homemaker said...

@ Anonymous 5:40 PM

It is hard to convey tone in a comment, so pardon me if I don't understand your proposed project. I would be not at all interested in anyone offering to instill purpose or motivation in my life. It sounds condescending. It sounds like you are saying that my circumstance comes from a failure to appreciate all the wonderful things in my life. It sounds wretched to tell people who are struggling to go on a self improvement pilgrimage to help even more wretched people.

I think I could have you totally wrong, but it sounds like all the people that run the homeless shelters that I would never avail myself of.

 
At 7:11 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I hesitate to leave this comment, as I'm worried it won't have the right tone when read.

I think there are two distinct motivations that lead to people trying to solve homelessness. Your article doesn't distinguish between them, but I think it should because the two motivations lead to very different approaches to solving homelessness, and should probably be dealt with separately.

Charity Relief, soup kitchens, etc. are motivated by sympathy. They might be misguided, they may be squandering money by giving you the wrong things, but ultimately these but these seem mostly harmless. I may be wrong about this, but it seems like you can just avoid them (as you suggest doing with shelters). Yes, they are wasteful, but do they pose a threat?

No-sit/lie laws, on the other hand, are driven by fear and self-defense. Nobody wants to have weird people yelling gibberish at them when they walk down the street. Nobody wants to be harassed by panhandlers. Nobody wants shopping carts full of junk left in front of their house.

I suspect that a few troublemakers end up bringing a lot of pain down on all the other homeless people. For example, I wouldn't mind letting homeless people sleep in the park next to my house if they were all well behaved and didn't make a mess. But that wouldn't work so instead no one is allowed to sleep in the park. You already called out a similar problem with teenage runaways: they are all treated as criminals because a few of them are.

I don't know what the solution to this is. No one seems to have been able to find a way to stop just the problem behaviors without casting too wide a net. A couple of your suggestions are aimed at making sure we don't push people into becoming criminals, and that seems wise.

 
At 9:36 PM, Blogger Mobile Homemaker said...

Troublemakers? I reject both premises of your reply.

Charities do pose a threat to people in need because they allow the society to believe that system caused and system wide problems can be solved by a donation. This is blatant pandering and obviously false, but it makes the people who are well served by the status quo feel good, and leaves those not well served, even less well served. My question about who Comic Relief has helped was not in jest. I don't believe it has helped anyone. I believe these charities are unintentionally and perversely hostile to the homeless.

Second, the notion that nobody wants a certain kind of ugly person wandering around their neighborhoods is ugly in and of itself. It may be true, but it should not be honored. How does it differ from saying you don't want people of a particular racial, ethnic, religious, national, or personal affiliation in your neighborhood? How is it that prejudice against people with mental illness is not a violation of the Americans with Disabilities Act? I will admit that I have not written this blog with an eye toward helping the disabled, but I bristled when I read the phrases "yelling gibberish", "harassed by panhandlers", and "troublemakers" in your comment. It sounded like pure prejudice to me.

Even if those comments reflected a kind of reality, one can not make just social policy based on a hatred of a certain kind of person, whether that kind of person is mentally disabled, poor, young, or any other kind. People who try often begin down the road to "final solutions", "ethnic cleansing", and other ugly euphemisms for genocide.

 
At 8:22 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Just recently saw your blog and haven't read enough to know if you distinguish between those who choose homelessness and those who are chronically homeless and whose health is at risk, and who refuse offers of assistance due to mental illness and life-long addiction. There's a good novel recently published about that population, called Street Logic, by Steve Sundberg. Might want to check it out. Great blog, by the way. Thanks for putting it out there.

 
At 10:46 AM, Blogger Mobile Homemaker said...

The longer I think about it, the more I think there is no distinction to be made between those who choose homelessness and those who seem to have it thrust upon them. The distinction is between those who live homeless, and those who are in the process of dying homeless. I try to teach you to survive, live, and thrive homeless.

 
At 11:50 AM, Blogger BRug said...

Thank you for the warming article, Mobile Homemaker!

I myself am homeless and have been for roughly 30 years. Up until recently I had never been on the internet, let alone owned a blog. Having a place to meet people and write my thoughts and stories is fantastic. Knowing that there are people out there who express what you do about this issue is incredible.

You're an inspiration, sir. You're right, we don't necessarily like it when people try to "save" us. In fact, sometimes it can worsen our situation. Especially if we're suffering from some form of mental illness, which I am.

Your kind words really mean a lot. I hope to generate a large readership at my blog. I will be discussing all sorts of topics relating to homeless life and drug use. The nitty gritty. To allow people to slough through without getting depressed I hope to add as much humour as possible. Humour is a powerful tool.

For anyone interested my blog is http://iamhomelessandwhatisthis.blogspot.com/

I'll discuss whatever my readership wants me to discuss. I really don't have much else to do and I'm currently working towards getting myself clean and finding some work.

- Bubba, the homeless blogger

 
At 9:46 AM, Blogger BRug said...

Thanks again for replying to my comment! You're a good guy. A scientist to boot. I've always been intrigued by scientists. I wonder if your science blog has any book recommendations ...

My father was a scientist before he was drafted back in the 60's. I've still got a couple of his notebooks.

- Bubba, the homeless blogger

 
At 12:28 PM, Anonymous Janet F said...

I have been moved recently to help the homeless after I've had two homeless friends of mine die on the street in the last couple of months. I have never been homeless, and don't pretend to know how to tackle the problem, but I have had an inclination to develop a "street guide" for the homeless, so that they can make their own decisions abut life and empower them to help themselves. Do you think this is a good idea? Something to pass out instead of a meal, money, and goodbye?

 
At 6:13 PM, Blogger Mobile Homemaker said...

I thought that was what I was writing.

 
At 8:46 PM, Anonymous Floe said...

I've decided to wander for 371 miles with a small backpack and a little bit of money already. This is only temporary but I've wanted to do this for quite some time. This is my first time and I'd like to see how far I can go, and how much I can get accomplished as far as survival. I want to thank you from the bottom of my heart, as I have sat here and read all of your posts for about 2 hours now. Also, I thought it would be appropriate to ask you if it was ok to post a link to this site, to show to friends of mine and hope that some if not all will read it as I have. I should be leaving tomorrow, and even though my distance is nowhere near as long as yours, and not as significant, I'm still very grateful for this amount of information. Again, I thank you.

 
At 4:19 PM, Blogger hippie said...

I agree with the author on this completely : "Teen runaways who declare that they are without guardianship should not be treated as criminals, and should not be compelled to live a criminal life. They should be issued cards which confer the right to work upon them. Forget child labor laws. They have a perverse outcome, effectively forcing children to become prostitutes, drug dealers, and thieves. Emancipation should be an on-demand right for all children."

I grew up in a country where young people are not considered adults until the 21st birthday. Some wicked parents treat their offspring, esp the females, as property and slaves, not as daughters. My "father" did not care if I live or die, all he cared was that I didn't get pregnant or disgrace him in any way, and that worked as a slave to him and his son.

 
At 4:27 PM, Blogger hippie said...

Capsule hotel is a great idea, but won't work in the USA due too many regulations.

In Santa Babara, I have seen it that they have some nice homes for a very few once homeless, hyping the program that provided the few homes on TV. They probably helped less than 1% of the homeless in the town. The same funding can probably provide low-cost capsule hotel for all poor persons who need a cheap place to sleep and store some personal belongings.

 
At 1:12 PM, Blogger hippie said...

Another way to help the homeless is to provide legal public vehicle-camping areas at very low cost. It has to subsidized, as $5/day is too much for many of the homeless. May be some free spots need to be available for the destitute. Showers & toilets are needed too.

 
At 2:52 PM, Blogger Mobile Homemaker said...

One must be leary of the government, though. Local governments have often sanctioned shanty towns, only to later bulldoze them after tempting residents away with a public meeting. There is no end of tricks and shananigans that will be played on the homeless when their whereabouts are known.

 
At 4:13 PM, Anonymous AmB said...

Stumbled upon your blog totally on accident and with little interest. After reading just 5 lines I was completely sucked in.

Excellent. Without knowing you or, ever having been homeless myself I feel some kind of kind ship towards you and wish you the best further in your life.

 
At 8:26 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

excellent insights. I would love if USA could adopt some simple ethical ideas that other countries have (such as the capsule hotel rooms)... But I'm suspicious of our government and I believe they will do everything possible to prevent wage slaves from escaping their jobs. How would they be able to continue paying for their mortgages?)
it doesn't make dollars and cents for corporations who are legally bribing our elected officials through the lobbying scam, to do anything to help people get off the grid.
It can only be done with intelligence and guts. Thanks for your blog

 
At 8:33 AM, Anonymous VT Design Student said...

I'm part of a student industrial design group at Virginia Tech, and we're trying design some sort of hygiene and water use station that could be utilized in tent city communities of homeless people.

We're trying to do real research into these people and their lifestyles, but we've had some trouble finding people with real experience. Your comment on the need for clean bathrooms and private showers is very close to some of the problems we're trying to work on and alleviate.

Would you be willing to answer some of our questions about what's needed, and especially what's desired, by these homeless users? We'd really appreciate your input, by phone or email.

 
At 1:16 PM, Blogger Mobile Homemaker said...

Yes. Email me at homelessnessATgmailDOTcom

 
At 11:45 PM, Blogger Shane said...

Homelessness is an economical problem and a mental health issue. And there are various degrees of homelessness too. But lets say I am talking about that individual holding a sign on a street corner pleading for people's spare change.

"A" that person is there probably because of economical reasons or "B" that individual has mental health issues. Or "C" combination of both "A" and "B."

If people wish to have any impact upon homelessness the distribution of wealth needs to be distributed more more favorably to everybody. But good luck for that happen in capitalistic nation. Also mental health issues need to addressed and treated. Again good luck for that to happen as long as capitalism reigns supreme.

 
At 3:46 PM, Anonymous Zella said...

Shane, I understand where you're coming from and your good intentions, but you can't solve people's problems for them. The urge to do so by dictating and controlling in order to "help" (the only way to actively change someone's life against their will) is what led to Maoist China and Stalin's Russia. You seem to be following the thinking Mobile was describing of treating homelessness like a sickness. That's just another form of rejection and prejudice. You're right that economic justice is important, though, it would probably make surviving homeless easier. However as long as the prejudice against homelessness remains, it will probably always be harder to be homeless than it has to be.


P.S. It's unfortunate that homelessness isn't respected as much as mountain climbing. They both appear to me to be admirable tests of human courage, except no mountaineer ever got spit on.

 
At 2:46 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

There's alot that can be said. As for me, I need a job!!

 
At 4:33 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Let me know what your advice would be for the following.
Im 21 living in California and in very very un-sanitary living conditions and while i won't get into elaboration of each detail in my opinion im treated very poorly from the owner of the house hold. I have been actively job searching for 2 years now with no luck and the town i'm living in has little to no job opportunitys. Im poor and have only a bicycle as transportation. If i made the "choice" to be homeless(preferably temporarly) i could relocate to a town with more job opportunitys,get out of the un-sanitary conditions and no longer have to withstand being treated poorly. However i really have a significant lack of how to thrive homeless and would want to avoid jail....any advice appreciated. Preferably only from someone who has had extensive experiance with being homeless. Thanks. Adress me as jason.

 
At 9:12 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I am contimplating running away, and I think that what the last few paragraphs are very true. I wouldn't mind being able to get a job if I did run away. If I ran away now, I would be screwed.

 
At 5:33 AM, Anonymous Texas Meg said...

I am glad to finally read a decent opinion on homelessness. I am homeless, and have been for 13 yrs. At first it was by choice, then later, I was severely abused and ended up on the street again, after I had gotten my life together. I ended up hopping freights and hitchhiking over the USA. I agree with your suggestions- the whole anti-sleep brigade (I have encountered this the worst in NYC, where I got one day of sleep in a week if I was lucky-and innovative enough) is horrible.. the public will never understand, and being peed on in my sleep because I don't have a bed doesn't make want to "get a job"- it only makes me more determined to survive and be self-sufficient (such as run my own business online, etc.) I'm 31 now, and live in an RV, but I am still considered "homeless", and still need the same help I did before- food, clothing, showers (if I can't afford a campground, etc) .. and ESPECIALLY a public restroom. In NY I was literally hospitalized because I held in my excrement so long that I got sick. This is what people want- us to die, to be invisible, to get our filthy butts off of the street. I was one of the dirty crusty kids for awhile, but now I agree with your idea that you should dress nicer when homeless- I did that for years in the beginning, and no one ever knew- cops even asked me what I was doing hanging with the people I was sitting with! lol. Now I'm definitely cleaner, but still the same person I've always been- just smarter on the streets. And angrier.

 
At 11:53 AM, Blogger hippie said...

I have an old friend who is now a new homeless in NYC. He goes to shelters. I don't suggest anyone do the same but that works for him now since he doesn't have a car and winter is cold. Is car camping permitted in NYC?

In small towns, you can get a gym membership and have a place to shower and even work out. In big cities cities, gym membership is expensive. Gym showers is esp good for those with their own vehicle to sleep in.

 
At 1:22 PM, Blogger Mobile Homemaker said...

@hippie 11:53 am

So far as I am aware, no town allows car camping, and certainly NYC will have ordinances making it a misdemeanor. Your other suggestions are to be found in the articles on this blog. Read on. Perhaps you will find something new to you.

 
At 12:25 AM, Anonymous mark said...

I was homeless at a young age due to a truly dysfunctional family. Homelessness effects a person mentally and emotionally. You never really get over it. It lingers. Even now, as I am not homeless it is with me. Every time I drive through downtown and see large numbers of homeless people (who I see as kindred spirits). But, you can never really share this with someone and expect them to understand. Homeless people see both faces of society and the very blatant hypocritical face. The callousness of people, though there are kind souls out there, and the overall disdain with which we are treated. We are looked down upon and seen as lazy. I used to shower at the local college, dumpster dive at Mcdonald's after closing (they stopped the practice of tossing out leftover food ages ago), but most importantly tried to avoid those areas that were dangers to homeless people. It is hard and it toughens you up. Today, friends are shocked how I can sleep on a hard concrete floor if we ever go to a parade or some weird event.

 
At 5:18 AM, Anonymous friend in santa cruz said...

Hi, I found your blog randomly while researching decent stationwagons to roadtrip/live in. Please to find we have a similar mind about that.

I think it's interesting how many comments attempt to distinguish between good poor/bad poor. That's been engrained into the history of social work (i was lucky to learn at school) because the history of social work has been those who benefit from the society easing themselves of the contradictions of their terrible utopia through token attempts and facades.

No social work is complete without good communication with the people it supposedly serves.

Thanks so much for this blog. Past attempts at this have been the CrimethInc style, which might be too idealistic for the realities we all face.

--

I feel like we may have already met, and it depends on whether you used to help at a hostel along the central coast and talk to the co-op kids that lived across the street...

 
At 9:47 PM, Blogger Mobile Homemaker said...

@friend in Santa Cruz ~ Thanks for the comment. I'm sorry to say I've never helped out at a hostel, so I can't be the person you know.

 
At 1:22 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

It seems to me we treat homelessness as a disease because they fail to live life in a way that the majority says life should be lead paying taxes work till you drop if you live long enough then you maybe can retire albeit by then your too tired and worn out to live life.I wonder who really has mental problems the majority who keep doing the same thing in life expecting a different result.Or thosewho just get off the wheel for awhile refusing to do what society says they must.As the definition for madness is doing the same thing over and over expecting a different result.Which of us are truly mentally ill.

 
At 8:46 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

At first I like your blog, but after thoroughly reading I don't. You must be a mind reader to know that everyone thinks that homeless is a disease. You can't possibly think that you speak for everyone who is homeless. If you are too proud to take aid from someone then find, but to think that no homeless person wants to get back on their feet. I believe in that most people have the right intentions to help others, find I respect your cynical view of the world.

 
At 10:58 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I appreciate what was said in this blog! Having been a homeless family with children, I did not enjoy the "oh...we can fix you!" syndrome from the charities.

 
At 7:39 PM, Blogger Mobile Homemaker said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

 
At 1:58 PM, Blogger freaked out said...

If anyone out there could give me some sort of advice it would be great. I recently became homeless like yesterday. I just thought you could go to a homeless shelter and you would be just fine, umm no. The lady doing intake asked if I took any meds which I should but trying to keep in my home I quit taking them to have more money. She told me I couldn't stay there unless I took my meds that I could go to the er to get my meds. After hours of waiting and being treated like a pill seeker all they did was write me a rx and send me on my way doesn't do me any good don't have the money to fill it. The shelter said that wouldn't do the er was supposed to physically give me enough meds until their clinic opens on Thursday 2 days away so I couldn't stay. Thank god I have a car and my kids are staying at their dads, but dammit it was 17 last night, illegal to "camp" in my town. And I am freaking scared to death. What the hell to I do?

 
At 2:30 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I like your ideas. As a homeless myself, I've decided that the situation for everyone would change dramatically if cities offered a place to LAY DOWN. Is that too much to ask? Sleep is a human right. A clean, enclosed, monitored area, run by the city like a park, sterilized.. It really wouldn't take much to maintain and finance.

What so many people I am in contact with every day don't realize is how much the mind and a person's ability to function will suffer if there is nowhere to rest and close the eyes.

 
At 1:19 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

19 years old listening to The Boxer..1969 simon and Garfunkel.. reading your Blog..tearing up as im Contemplating Catching a Rail Road track and leaving behind a Mother,Father and 5 siblings.. my reasons.. Not many job opportunities as im originally from Mexico from 3months of age I was brought to America I grew up and fell in love with the Hippie culture and always kept my mind open never neglected knowledge to learn graduated highschool.. the money I have been making is just enough to keep my father off my back as He as well struggles to keep our family fed and Housed..Something inside me tells me its ok to depart and ease the expenses of my presence, tension has grown between me and my father.. thats another reason.. college is far to expensive and in all Honesty I feel Like exploring America will help me build some character and come back Stronger minded Rather than college(debt,pressures of grades etc.)could only put me deeper in my emotional hole.. any help or advice would be greatly appreciated as this will be my first time being away from my family and I will more than likely loose touch as soon as I jump on the train.. Im ok with the risk of Death or Jail and even deportation while im out there.. Nothing in life is certain but this choice to me clearly is and feels soothing dare I say it.. freedom from Daily routines Rent family arguments that lead to more problems etc.. Im eagered to settle down in a Tent city of some sort.. Thank you all who post your words do mean something here.. (Modesto California)
Peace and Safe travels to those still Exploring and enduring..

 
At 4:03 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

So well put. The things you say would help are things we really need as a society to solve a lot of problems that aren't just not having a 'home'. Today i find this blog as someone who has made 6 figures, still make way above what would even qualify for low income housing (I checked) my credit is really trashed, in large part from helping family, I've kept at least 3 from being homeless by offering more than a couch, they didn't help back but my helping them was about who I am not who they are. I was just denied an apartment, I have a wife and 10 year old son and I'm reading this site because we are being forced out of our home in a place that has nearly nothing even for people with good credit and just as I have been since I left home at 18 years and 12 seconds :) i've been afraid of being homeless, solving all the problems you've figured out, I've studied it for 20 years always figuring its better to know what to do than just deal with it when it happens. but the pods, the showers, the bathrooms, good god we need these things as a decent society, just as an example we took a 3 week vacation, our only destination was 'south' just drove, found places when we felt like stopping, we must have dropped 12 grand on that trip, it was great, but a couple times, places were booked, we got lost, delayed, altitude sickness etc... we found a safe parking spot just like you talk about and slept in the car, we were ok with that, we knew that was a chance we'd have to take to be free and spontanious, but damn a pod and a shower? a clean bathroom without having to buy something? how is that not just basic humanity, should not matter if you dont have a place of your own or you have 12. like really wtf does dick cheney do when he sharts his suit in a limo, they dont have bathrooms or showers, wouldn't it just be utterly decent to have common public places to get your dignity back? and as for people 'helping' totally, wtf? want to help someone? start by talking to them, hell my massive stress is lightened when a stranger gives me the decency of just opening up a conversation. we need to learn how to be human again, we all have problems and homelessness is a symptom of a problem, it isn't the problem. and for people that don't get that, are aboriginal people homeless? chew on that a bit for some perspective.

 
At 5:57 AM, Anonymous cindiw said...

I appreciate the honesty and candor in which you tell the story of homelessness. Yet, today there is a whole new aspect to it and it's the single woman without friend and family resources. There are fewer shelters for woman than men. Women are the silent homeless if not for safety reasons day and night. I don't choose homelessness but if I lose my car, I lose my job and I lose my ability to pay for shelter. Unlike 2007, the resources are dry, people have ignored that many are still on the verge of losing it all. Do you have any suggestions for women staring down the barrel of this predicament? I have read bill paying sites and see so many homeless single moms and women. Abuse shelters only take you if you are abused. Homelessness use to be predominately male because of "family". In this age of broken families and female independence in life and jobs comes the same predicament with little resources and much more danger. Never thought I would be in this predicament but if I can't make this payment I will lose my car, my way to work and my means to provide shelter. Any ideas would help. You are very resourceful and have a sound goodness in your look at life, people and predicaments. Thank you for this blog. This needs to be a book. It needs to be sent to every politician. But it has to be updated to include the single females and single mothers facing this in this economy. Thanks for any ideas on how I can survive this.

 
At 6:09 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

My wife and i were homeless for over a year in N.C.we found that we were much better off away from areas were other homeless gather. We camped in the woods in a tent most of the time.but we've slept under bridges,behind dumpster,etc I am a carpenter by trade and always tried to stay near a lower or home depot. I could stand outside with my hand tools and could usually find work with a contractor or home owner taking on a project. I would always scout out a stand of trees in which we could "disappear". This isn't always easy but if you keep your eyes open and know what to look for it can be done. Obviously you don't need a real big stand of trees in warmer weather because of the foliage. Always pay attention to posted land as setting up camp there will usually bring trouble.it seemed if i scoped out an area for a while i could eventually find a suitable place to set up a long term campsite.(1-3months usually). If you are setting up a tent make sure you are either higher or lower than any roads around you as to not be seen.always try to enter the wooded area where as few people might see you do so. If at all possible try to enter into the wooded area from as many different points as possible. This will help a couple different things 1: if there's any stores around people working there won't see you coming and going in and out of the same point all the time.2: if you use the same route all the time you will make a path that someone else could follow to your camp. If you can find a good spot to set up a long term camp.here's a couple of things i learned the hard way.try to find something you can store fresh water in .the bigger the better. ( an old cooler,a few 5 gallon buckets,etc...) you don't have to fill these larger containers. Just get them back to your camp. Whenever you venture out from your camp,take along some sort of container to bring back water in(half gallon to a gallon at a time) after a little while you will gather more than enough fresh water for drinking,washing up, wash some clothes,etc...another thing whenever i would go out i would take a small plastic bag of garbage to throw away. If your staying in a wooded area no matter how big of a wooded area,garbage will attract animals.anything from a dog,racoon,skunk,rats,mice,reaches,etc... plus its just nasty having a bunch of garbage around your camp. After all this is your home for now. However long. Never leave open food in your tent unattended,chances are your tent will be shredded when you get back. There have been very few places where i could have a small fire either day or night.If you plan on staying at your camp for any length of time. You have to avoid bringing any attention by Anyone!!!.And don't tell anyone where your camp is,even people who seem like they want to be helpful. The best camp i ever had i stayed at for almost five months. I had a tent, some old lawn chairs i found in a dumpster,a lifeline,a cooler,and plenty of fresh water i was able to have a trap over most of my camp. And always stayed dry in the rain. I never dared to have a fire for fear of being discovered. But both my wife and i were quite comfortable there.just because we were homeless didn't mean we had to be uncomfortable. If you want to set up a camp in the woods for however long.. here are some things you will want to have....A tent (luxury) sleeping bag,sleeping pad or blankets.a knife,flashlight,a mirror,a watch , matches or lighter,bug spray(luxury).toilet paper,transistor radio(luxury) first aid supplies( band aids,disinfectant,etc...) an led lantern(luxury). Garage bags ( can be used in a variety of ways). Good luck and happy camping

 
At 2:40 PM, Anonymous Silvia said...

If they want to solve something in my country all they need to do is stop poking their noses in where their noses don't belong. We have commitments all over the globe and for what? Those people resent us telling how they should live. The fact of the matter is that the people who run this country are hypocrites. They demand that others abide by their beliefs but they are unable to abide by them themselves.

"Homelessness" is only a problem for you if you are a property owner and need tenants to earn income from. That is the root of their "activism." Imo, it is just like their "christianity," from what I read, JC forgave people, I have never seen our society forgive anyone who didn't make a substantial payment of some kind first.

 
At 11:32 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Just finished reading your guide to homelessness. You've gifted me with valuable insight into what its actually like to live on your own terms, on the streets, and explain the daily struggle of being homeless. Some of the articles make me tear up.

My situation is a psychological one. I'm unmotivated, lazy, and i take everything in my life for granted. I want to find purpose in my life, and I'm trying to figure out how. I don't want to be an average Joe, working a 9-5. I want to be free. Free physically, and psychologically.

I figured, becoming a drifter, i could realize how important the little things are in my life.

I cant thank you enough, and again for this blog. it might be the last thing i read on the internet for a while.

 

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