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How does one become homeless in this country?

Guest sith lord

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I take it you have never worked at a homeless shelter, and have never seen families who are homeless. . .why does that not surprise me.

I've volunteered at homeless shelters and talked to the guys. Not enough there to go on. They have stories about what's happened to them, but the stories don't usually explain why they continue to be homeless.

I've really gotten to know 2 homeless guys pretty well over longer periods of time. Both of them were fairly smart guys, could definitely make it especially with the help they were being offered. But they had a kind of paranoia. Tin foil hat kind of thing. I don't know if that developed as a result of being homeless or if it led them to being homeless. Either way, I'm convinced its the reason they are still homeless.

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I have been working with the HIV+ homeless population here in San Bernardino for the past 6 months. What I have observed is that a lot of these people have serious mental issues...at least the people who were involved in our study.

Sure, there are a few who I thought should not be in the transitional living facility we were working at, but I would say the majority of the people had severe mental problems.

Yes, several of the ones I work with are bi-polar.
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We talked about this movie the other day. I really don't know how I feel about it. Sure, there was a happy ending, but to me, I thought he was being kind of selfish and his son was made to suffer for his "persuit to get rich".

I didn't see him as being selfish or "pursuing to get rich" ... now I do believe it was a gamble. But as we all know in America there are opportunities that come and go ... this opportunity presented itself to him where he could not only better himself ,but better the situation for his kid too. So it was a gamble ... if he had not been offered the job at the end then he would have been in the same situation and he could just look for a "regular" job. But I think the opportunity was too hard for him to ignore.

I didn't get the feeling at all that he was doing it just for himself. It really hurt him that his kid was in that situation but I think he made the right choice ... he took a shot and it paid off.

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Mental illness of some sort. The only logical explanation in this country, imo.

Mental illness is most of it, I think. Yes, it's possible to become homeless in a healthy state of mind, but by far, most of them are at least a little nutty.

I've worked with a lot of homeless people in the past. When you work with them every day, you see and hear things they don't normally tell others, such as social workers, food line servers, etc.

Homeless Guy #1:

I had this guy work for me once. He was homeless and penniless. He barely had enough money to buy food. So he gets his first check, and do you know what he bought?

He bought an authentic Stetson cowboy hat for $75. :laugh: And this was back in the 80s when $75 was a lot of money.

Seriously. Does this sound like a sane man to you?

He lived in the homeless shelter downtown. He would typically blow through his paycheck in a few days. He'd spend it mostly at happy hour at a bar somewhere. When he ran out of money, he'd sit on the corner of M St and Wisconsin Ave with his hat in his lap with a sign that says "I'm hungry, can you help me?" He'd make $15 an hour doing this. After a couple hours, he goes to the bar.

One day I got into a discussion with him, trying to figure out why he doesn't even try to improve his life. He became very upset with me as he explained. Pointing his index finger, he said

"Why should I save my money, which I worked for, just to give it to some landlord somewhere, so he can retire and go to Florida some day, with my money???" And he was shaking with rage, waiting for my reply.

Homeless Guy #2

This guy would blow through his check very fast, and I'd have to lend him money so he could eat to make it to the next pay day.

One day he got paid. His check was small because he missed hours that week. His take home pay that week was $120.

The next morning, he needs money for food.

Me: "Dude, what happened to all your money?"

Him: "Man, I knew I wasn't going to make it a week with only $120, so I got into a game of craps."

He blew his entire wad on three 40 dollar dice rolls.


Thing is, the guys above are the GOOD ones. Nine out of ten homeless guys who are given employment don't show up the first day. Out of the ones that do show up, one of three leave before the day is over. They just walk away.

The experiences above are an example of why I am mostly not in favor of the social programs as they are currently set up. The homeless and unemployed are trained and networked to take advantage of every social program available to them, and use it to the nth degree.


Homeless guy needs unemployment money. He could get a job and get more pay but he'd have to work, so instead he collects unemployment. That way he doesn't have to work. Problem is, he is required to at least TRY to get a job. He has to provide at least a certain minimum number of employers to the unemployment office to show that he has contacted them looking for work to prove he tried to get a job.


Find an old newspaper from last week, and look for help wanted ads. Call them and ask for work. If the employer says "Please come in for an interview", the homeless person hangs up and tries another one. If the employer says "Sorry, we've found someone", the homeless person uses this as a reference. This way he can stay on unemployment for the maximum period.

Yes, some homeless people genuinely need help, but it's a very small percentage. Most of the WANT to be homeless. It's the lifestyle they choose to live. That is a fact.

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A LOT of people live pay-check-to-paycheck. All it takes is losing one's job, or a sudden large financial event in their lives, and they are basically one step away from being homeless.

It doesn't take too many missed mortgage payments to lose one's home. Or one or two missed rent payments, and you are out on the street.

Some folks on this thread appear to be totally ignorant to the plight of their fellow Americans. That's sad.

Especially in today's economy, with the higher prices in fuel and food, it's much tougher for those who live on the edge.

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