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Old 04-11-2014, 02:19 PM
 
Location: Central Florida
2,063 posts, read 1,763,499 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Escort Rider View Post
Oh

Please educate me: How is it that the same homeless person who can't "scrape together enough cash for even a sketchy motel" manages to continue smoking, continue consuming alcohol, and/or continue getting and using drugs?
For one thing they can sell their food stamps and then eat at food kitchen type places or get food from food pantries. Many others have qualified for social security disability and live off that money while choosing not to get housing.
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Old 04-11-2014, 05:29 PM
 
Location: northwest Illinois
2,331 posts, read 2,549,931 times
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Quoted by Escort Rider - Help me out here, as I'm not following your logic. Sure, one can live in a tent a lot cheaper than in an apartment or a house. But how is the problem of homelessness solved by people being given a tent and a place to pitch it? Isn't that analogous to saying the problem of hunger is solved by giving people enough food to eat? [Quote/] They usually make their money by busking, if they have a talent OR panhandling. Both can be quite lucrative for them.
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Old 04-12-2014, 12:01 PM
 
Location: Redmond, WA
559 posts, read 692,776 times
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Interesting discussion this many months later. I will answer a few of the ongoing issues.

1. Even if a homeless person is given a tent, there is rarely a place to pitch it. Nobody wants a tent with some stranger on their property and no city or government allows it either, the homeless you see camped out underneath expressways are doing so illegally, most authorities look the other way, they'd rather have them there, out of sight of the tourists. But this is usually the lowest tier of homeless, working homeless would never put themselves at risk, these homeless camps are dangerous.

2. The homeless you see collecting money on the streets or the offramps are the ones with bad habits they need to support, and man are they reelin it in, I wish I had the guts to do it, works out to more than minimum wage from what I've been told through the grapevine. The majority of the invisible homeless never panhandle. And most homeless are in fact invisible and slip through the cracks, they are people like you and me. They have no mental health issues, no criminal history, no medical problems, no addictions, no PTSD, and no domestic problems. They just found themselves in a financial conundrum. Unfortunately, almost all the social services available are specifically to help homeless with one of these issues. There is little to no help for people classified informally as "normal".
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Old 04-12-2014, 12:13 PM
 
460 posts, read 397,611 times
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It's very weird that Escort Rider's post doesn't even address the realities of addiction. I guess if one believes that everything is a willful choice (as opposed to a biological dependency), then it makes sense. But when you reference alcohol or drugs, how can what we know of addiction NOT inform what you say?

Also, in study after study, we know that most people overvalue short-term rewards over long-term (hyperbolic discounting) and its not a "new" phenomenon that current generations are more prone to. It's just how our brains work (probably for evolutionary advantage!). But combine that tendency with addiction and its not hard to understand.

If you want to treat these issues it has to be more than just money, but hopefully also more than mere castigation for "making bad choices", which is the easiest way to think of oneself as the good/just person and the homeless person as fundamentally deserving of their cruddy fate.
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Old 04-13-2014, 05:54 PM
 
317 posts, read 553,056 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kwhitegocubs View Post
It's very weird that Escort Rider's post doesn't even address the realities of addiction. I guess if one believes that everything is a willful choice (as opposed to a biological dependency), then it makes sense. But when you reference alcohol or drugs, how can what we know of addiction NOT inform what you say?

Also, in study after study, we know that most people overvalue short-term rewards over long-term (hyperbolic discounting) and its not a "new" phenomenon that current generations are more prone to. It's just how our brains work (probably for evolutionary advantage!). But combine that tendency with addiction and its not hard to understand.

If you want to treat these issues it has to be more than just money, but hopefully also more than mere castigation for "making bad choices", which is the easiest way to think of oneself as the good/just person and the homeless person as fundamentally deserving of their cruddy fate.

I don't get it from an early age I knew if birth control wasn't practice (condom) you could have a baby.

The other thing I knew from an early age was try hard drugs a few times and you would be throwing your life away. Like cigarets but a much more MAJOR scale.

So I ask you, how did most of us figure this out and others ..not so much?
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Old 04-13-2014, 07:20 PM
 
Location: northwest Illinois
2,331 posts, read 2,549,931 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Garethe View Post
Interesting discussion this many months later. I will answer a few of the ongoing issues.

1. Even if a homeless person is given a tent, there is rarely a place to pitch it. Nobody wants a tent with some stranger on their property and no city or government allows it either, the homeless you see camped out underneath expressways are doing so illegally, most authorities look the other way, they'd rather have them there, out of sight of the tourists. But this is usually the lowest tier of homeless, working homeless would never put themselves at risk, these homeless camps are dangerous.

2. The homeless you see collecting money on the streets or the offramps are the ones with bad habits they need to support, and man are they reelin it in, I wish I had the guts to do it, works out to more than minimum wage from what I've been told through the grapevine. The majority of the invisible homeless never panhandle. And most homeless are in fact invisible and slip through the cracks, they are people like you and me. They have no mental health issues, no criminal history, no medical problems, no addictions, no PTSD, and no domestic problems. They just found themselves in a financial conundrum. Unfortunately, almost all the social services available are specifically to help homeless with one of these issues. There is little to no help for people classified informally as "normal".
Correct, and well said.
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Old 04-13-2014, 09:26 PM
 
Location: Los Angeles area
14,018 posts, read 17,163,182 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kwhitegocubs View Post
It's very weird that Escort Rider's post doesn't even address the realities of addiction. I guess if one believes that everything is a willful choice (as opposed to a biological dependency), then it makes sense. But when you reference alcohol or drugs, how can what we know of addiction NOT inform what you say?

Also, in study after study, we know that most people overvalue short-term rewards over long-term (hyperbolic discounting) and its not a "new" phenomenon that current generations are more prone to. It's just how our brains work (probably for evolutionary advantage!). But combine that tendency with addiction and its not hard to understand.

If you want to treat these issues it has to be more than just money, but hopefully also more than mere castigation for "making bad choices", which is the easiest way to think of oneself as the good/just person and the homeless person as fundamentally deserving of their cruddy fate.
Did I really have to spell everything out for you? I was implying that for addicts, the top priority is fueling their addiction - everything else is secondary, or tertiary, or maybe non-existent. That is the "reality" of addiction, of which I am very much aware. And yes, addicts have lost the power of willful choice for the most part - even the choice of availing themselves of help doesn't hold much allure.

But there was a moment of willful choice at some point in their past, at least for the drug addicts, and that was the very first time they tried a drug. It was a fatal choice. (Alcohol is more complicated because it is legal and ubiquitous in society and loads of people use alcohol without abusing it). So in a sense, I would say yes, for that subset of homeless people who are drug addicts, they fundamentally deserve their cruddy fate because they CHOSE that path.

And that stance has absolutely nothing to do with thinking of myself as a good/just person because I am in fact a good/just person and I don't need any mental gymnastics in order to create that feeling, your insulting insinuation to the contrary notwithstanding. I contribute to society by paying taxes, and on top of that I donate to charity. On top of those two things I give back by volunteer work, as I am 70 and retired from full-time work.

There is probably a tendency in "most people" to overvalue short-term rewards, but nonetheless "most people" do not become addicts.

Come down off your moral high horse, drop the supercilious and sanctimonious tone, and there will be a better chance of a rational discussion.
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Old 04-14-2014, 01:40 AM
 
Location: northwest Illinois
2,331 posts, read 2,549,931 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kwhitegocubs View Post
It's very weird that Escort Rider's post doesn't even address the realities of addiction. I guess if one believes that everything is a willful choice (as opposed to a biological dependency), then it makes sense. But when you reference alcohol or drugs, how can what we know of addiction NOT inform what you say?

Also, in study after study, we know that most people overvalue short-term rewards over long-term (hyperbolic discounting) and its not a "new" phenomenon that current generations are more prone to. It's just how our brains work (probably for evolutionary advantage!). But combine that tendency with addiction and its not hard to understand.

If you want to treat these issues it has to be more than just money, but hopefully also more than mere castigation for "making bad choices", which is the easiest way to think of oneself as the good/just person and the homeless person as fundamentally deserving of their cruddy fate.
Uh, he DID mention addiction. did you not read his post?? It's really not as complicated as you make it sound.
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Old 04-14-2014, 01:50 PM
 
Location: Here
2,589 posts, read 5,572,926 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Garethe View Post
Hello. As promised I wanted to give everybody an update on my decision last fall to try and live without a dwelling. I don't know where the original thread went, and I don't know how to link it, feel free to search for it if you're new to the forum or need a refresher. As some of you might remember I had made the conscious choice to become homeless for an indeterminate period of time in an attempt to cut expenses, save money, and embrace minimalism. And I'm man enough to admit that it was not possible, at least not under the circumstances I was facing. Some of the issues were predicted by members of the forum, but there were other problems as well. Here are the highlights:

1. Weather: while Seattle normally has a mild winter climate (mild in the sense that it does not often go below freezing overnight), November/December were unusually dry and it was very cold without the perpetual cloud cover. This made outdoor sleeping of any kind impossible and dangerous. I was forced to spend many nights lodging with friends, family, and cheap (somewhat sketchy) motels. Even the most expensive housing is not going to cost more than $40-50 per day averaged out, so this alone spelled failure.

2. Clothing: in order to interview and search for work I needed to look good and this was impossible because for starters it looks plain silly to arrive at an employment office with a backpack and several layers of clothes. It "screamed" homeless. Now in one or two cases the recruiters knew me from past relationships, but more than once I cancelled an interview because I knew ahead of time I would not be able to arrive wearing the proper clothes. I had initially thought I could pull it off by stashing clothing at a relatives house or even the dry cleaners and just rotate the outfits. But funds ran out much quicker than planned and the relative was several hours away by ferry, too many added variables made the plan unfeasible and complicated.

3. Food: a pretty vital necessity. At first I thought I could take advantage of the many meal programs that can be found throughout the city. But much to my surprise, they are only accessible if you do not have a job because all 3 meals are served between roughly 7am and 6pm, the long commutes made it impossible because the dinner places for instance start at 5 and close up promptly at 6. In other words, you have a choice, work and starve or eat and stay broke. No wonder homelessness is so chronic.

4. To be or not to be: everybody has to "be" somewhere. No matter who we are, at any point in time throughout the day, we have someplace we need to be. But without a dwelling there is nowhere to go and most cities/jurisdictions have made it illegal to inhabit public space like sidewalks. Not that I would have done that, but there weren't too many allowable options, the library maybe. Even shelters often kick everybody out during the daytime hours or vice versa if it's a day center. But more importantly was what it did to my psyche no matter how much I tried to deny it. Walking around with nowhere to go was very depressing and lonely, in a clinical type way, not good at a time when I had to be thinking clearly.

5. Money: Everything in life requires start up costs and I clearly did not have enough of it to take on something so radical. Despite my minimalism, I found that I was a lot more dependent on "stuff" than I first thought. And the day I had to pawn my tablet was not something I was happy about or proud to be doing. And it still saddens me.

My life was going downhill, and fast. I knew that I had to put the brakes on this whole plan, which might have been possible to pull off had I started with a lot more money out of the gate, but then if I had that kind of money the whole effort would not have been necessary to begin with. Fortunately, the story ends happily. I moved in with my Mom while I looked for work, she has given me free room/board until I'm on my feet again. I just accepted a job offer yesterday and start Monday. I paid off some bills with money I earned from a brief job I had in December. And I made arrangements with creditors on others. A sympathetic friend loaned me money for living expenses until I get my first paycheck.

What lessons have I learned from all this? A lot. You have no idea. Like always having money set aside for a rainy day. Always having a need for "stuff". And always having countless expenses in life that just can't be avoided, there's no realistic way to eliminate them; not when our health/wellness are at stake.

As a reward to myself for landing a job, I'm treating myself to a newer better tablet with my first paycheck.

Post any questions and I'll be happy to answer them.
I'm coming into this real late, but just a few thoughts:

2. Did you ever consider storing your backpack in any of these places while at an interview: Up a tree, in an alley behind dumpsters, in an alley behind a car that likely wasn't going to be driven for that hour you were interviewing, in a shrub/bush, with the receptionist at the job interview or if you were interviewing at a store- with the cashier. Also did you ever consider getting a computer bag instead of a backpack? They would be more professional to carry into an interview, and you can also store your resumes in a folder inside.

4. I think the city you are in kinda makes your situation more difficult. However I can't speak for Seattle. I will speak about Chicago. In Chicago, people hang out on streets all the time. Also sitting at a park in any city shouldn't be an issue. You could have spent time at a library using their computer to apply for jobs or just read books to kill time. Also you could spend weekends getting free samples at the grocery store or at the mall. Also use the mall to kill time, or use free wifi to apply for jobs.

Did you ever consider using craigslist to find "gigs" like manual labor or one-time gigs/jobs ? Like for example some people post, "hey help me move, I'll pay you 20 bucks, just need an extra hand".


I know I'm a little late offering suggestions, but I think you could have done better with your efforts. Perhaps getting the job is the hardest part. If you had an income, you would've had more options while still being very frugal and minimalistic.
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Old 04-21-2014, 08:10 PM
 
Location: Texas
1,294 posts, read 1,168,110 times
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I am willing to bet that just only people on this forum would have supported the OP if he had asked.

I know asking people to buy you food at the supermarket, or McDonalds is pretty easy ... since they know you are getting food (and can't use their cash to buy drugs or beer) most people will happily do it. Just ask "Could you buy me a McDouble? It's $1.50? Can you buy me a pound of beans and rice for $2?

That is what is great about Americans. Yes begging for cash works in certain areas (even better than working) but asking for food at the food source, or for gas at the gas station works better. Americans love to help even though on forums like this they seem mean at times.

The problems with most people is they believe you will buy wine or drugs, so most do not like giving you cash but they are very willing to buy you basic products you need. Need a shovel? Ask for one at the hardware store! Living homeless is easy if you know the rules of working middle class Americans.

I wonder if the OP "dumpster dived" much.

Having said all that it would be hard to be homeless looking for a job in the city. I'm a more country hope nobody sees me kind of guy. I like being alone except for winters when it's cold. If you want to be homeless on purpose, don't count on a job being there.
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