here is something that rarely gets discussed about homeless folks in america.
there are actually a Lot of people who are homeless by Choice.
my oldest daughter, when she was 15 going on 16, decided that she was "in love". she wanted so desperately to be with her boyfriend. so she decided to run away from home. for a several months, they did the normal thing that some youth did... couch surf, live in someones van, etc. we never kicked her out. we wanted her to stay at home, stay in school, and just "date". but she chose to be homeless. (the boyfriend did Not have a good work ethic). i took them food occasionally, etc. but she still chose to be homeless.
eventually she figured out the boyfriend was a bum. she found a better boyfriend, got a job, and moved in with a more stable person.
i have know a few people in similar positions, where a young person chose to be homeless. NOT because the home situation was bad, but just because the young person made bad choices. they did NOT have to be homeless.
another thing that makes this topic so difficult is mental illness.
we had a guy in tucson (long ago) who was heir to a massive fortune. he could have been sitting on the beach in cancun. but he was homeless in tucson. you never know what mental illness does to a person. maybe they cannot hold down a job. cannot pay bills. will resort to drug abuse. possibly schizophrenic.
i have known people who worked with the homeless for decades. they say that for most homeless people,... you cannot just give them a little help to get on their feet. and there is no easy govt solution.
Wonderful points bear, I agree. Mental illness is the main factor in homelessness with many of the people.
Thanks for sharing the personal story. Personal experiences can often teach us the biggest lessons that teach us the most.
I experienced homeless people in Fort McMurray some yrs ago. This was during the winter when temps dropped to -40. Cold enough diesels ran all nite and I carried a spare battery into my room at night plus a battery charger. It was the coldest place except Alaska, I think. I have been warmer in the Canadian prairies, during winter which I have also travelled.
Anyway these homeless people would come into an variety store or some such place and stay for 10 15 minutes and then move on of their own accord. It seemed they knew all the places to go and how long they could stay before moving along
I often wondered if they had a mental problem and the community allowed them some lee way as they caused not one bit of trouble although they did not buy either. They were not on drugs, that much I could tell, but lots of layers of clothes . Men and women came and went.
It seemed as long as they moved along nobody bothered them and they bothered nobody either. They did not ask for money, just a place to get warmed up. I watched one person and sure enough they went into the next warm store on the block
Felt sorry for them but being a stranger did not know what to do. Also wondered how late the stores stayed open and if they had a place to go when they ran out of open stores
Golly that was the coldest temp I have ever experienced
How they survived I do not know.
More on this homeless problem
I always feel like the worst person when I see somebody holding a sign, such as I saw recently in our small city of 25,000 and drive on past.
Mother with 2 children
Needs money for food
Now I can afford a couple bucks, the price of coffee and tip for the second cup
But am I helping,??
Is this for the boyfriend's drug habit or maybe her addiction or??
Does she really need food???
I have on a couple occasions just to find out what the score is, if I am walking. I have offered to buy a hamburg and a cup of coffee or what ever they want for food
They always want the money but not once did they take my offer of actual food.
How do you help people like this. This may in some way reference bear, in what they want and don't want. You really don't know. I suspect many have a problem of some sort, such as bear or other wise a different story
We give to our local charity both money and clothes the clothes drier, or dry cleaner has shrunk. Also food/money when the church has a food collection
I know we should do more but have also supported local sports with money so we spread it around locally and hope the local people know what is needed.
In Detroit, my Dad would sometimes offer to take them to McDonalds and Burger King.
How many times did they take him up?
It's probably different in other places.
Here was an experience that I had in Nashville a few years ago.
Our grand daughter was competing in a huge gymnastics tournament in downtown Nashville. The prices they were charging for food were insane. $2 for a banana! We were there for 5 hours and I needed to eat and love Subway, so I went outside and started walking to where it looked like there was a Subway, around a mile away.
Turns out, that it was closed. I was walking thru a bad neighborhood, which was no big deal since I grew up and visit Detroit(not the bad areas) and this rough looking black dude comes up asking for money.
This wasn't being in your car and stopping at a red light and seeing somebody on the corner with a sign. This was me walking on one side of the street and him on the other side of the street, nobody else around and him crossing the street to get in front of me.
I wasn't assuming anything bad about him but I'm not dumb either. It would be the perfect setting for him to rob me.
So I told him my dilemma. I needed a place to eat because they were ripping people off at the gymnastics competition. If he could take me to a fast food place that served stuff similar to Subway, I would buy him anything that he wanted to eat there.
So he knew exactly where to go. It was at least a half mile away. I forget the name of the place but I had a nice conversation with him. He ordered his meal and got some extra snacks with it, which he asked me if it was ok first.
So instead of being suspicious of a beggar on the street, who I would have never given money too, I made a friend that day..........and so did he.
And had a funny story to tell my family back at the competition.
Here are some other experiences:
Another element to the story above. Let's say the guy really was intending to rob me. Before you rob somebody, you will size up the victim/target.......always.
That's why 280 lb football players don't get robbed on the street like fragile old people do. Criminals want easy targets.
If this guy was going to rob me, it could have gone down several ways. I could have pulled out money to give him a few bucks and he could have taken my wallet. He could have sensed fear/panic in me which would have meant I was not going to resist.
Instead, I turned it around into me, being friendly and asking HIM for the favor and I would reward him with a meal for helping me out. This would not match up as a typical victim, if that's what he was looking for. He also came away feeling really good because I thanked him numerous times for helping me out.
When you are doing somebody a favor and they are thanking you, its very unlikely that you will mess it up by robbing them.
I used a credit card doing the transaction and made sure not to show cash because I still only knew the guy for 10 minutes and am not dumb.
I can also tell that you are a good person and parent.
Deb and I have 3 kids. Our first 2 grew up with no major discipline issues. Our oldest has a masters in occupational therapy and did extremely well in school.
So we were patting ourselves on the back and probably judged parents, that had any kids that were not doing so well.
There is a strong correlation of course.
Our 3rd, however grew up like me. Extremely bright but was in constant trouble at school and ran away from home several times because he refused to be grounded for unacceptable behavior. He had oppositional defiance disorder(I was worse with conduct disorder).
He got into drugs and alcohol, almost killed 3 people in a car wreck, ended up in jail then even prison for a short while, then many years of alcoholism were threatening to destroy his life.......and we gave him the same things we did the others growing up.
He was self medicating with the booze(almost died in a Denver hospital 2+ years ago and had to detox several times). He had a couple of other complicating factors that made it tough for him but we convinced him to move back home in 2019.
It was still a rough couple of months here but HE finally decided to change just over a year ago. He stays sober and responsible and it a wonderful part of our family.
It may seem like he wasted a decade+ of his life to him but we are more proud of his accomplishment than of anything from either sibling. It was MUCH, MUCH harder for him to do what he did than it was for my daughter to graduate after 7 years of schooling.............and she worked extremely hard!
When he was a teenager into early adult, he would constantly insist in our conversations that its impossible for anybody to change. They can fake it but they are still the same person is what he thought.
That is so very wrong. I know from my personal evolution and he finally proved it to himself, which was the best way to authentically embrace things.
With regards to changing. They say that you can't teach an old dog new tricks....meaning that older people are set in their ways.
This is true for the most part but there is no physical law or law of nature that says it must be so. It's not like being 70 and wanting to regain physical abilities that you had when you were 25. That's impossible.
However, attitude's, personality traits, integrity and behaviors can still all greatly morph as much as you are willing to work at changing them at almost any age.
The key in that case is motivation.
If you want to change with all your heart........ are committed to change.....what will stop you?
No matter what your situation is or who you are. You will wake up tomorrow and have 3 choices:
1 Make things worse for you and those around you...with bad behavior and/or complaining.
2. Keep things about the same by acting like you have for most of your life recently.
3. Make things better for you and those around you........with good behaving and doing LITTLE things that make the small world around you a little bit better.
Little things that you are in the habit of NOT doing because you never think about them and thats why you are in the habit of NOT doing them.
Smiling and saying hi to people. Complimenting them. Volunteering to help others. Thinking of ways that would could make somebody happy. Not complaining for the sake of complaining(complaining to change a legit injustice is a good thing).
Helping a homeless person?
That one is tricky. Giving money to a homeless person on the corner probably makes YOU feel good but is that helping them? That one is an item that we have much less control over than we do in how we behave with the people who we interact with everyday in our lives.
Treat them with respect, especially those that we disagree with. Go out of our way to avoid causing hard feelings and a key element is to eliminate hatred from our being. Do small favors or go out of your way to do nice things. Be dependable. Help the less fortunate and complete strangers.
It's good for your little world and even better for you!
Hate is the most destructive emotion on the planet. Take it from an elite authority!
when i head toward downtown tucson, there will always be a homeless person (often with a sign,... will work for food), just off the freeway exit.
i never give them money. but i often have a granola bar in my truck. i have handed out quite a few of these. but never money. i don't need to pay for their beer.
my oldest daughter knows a young lady who who was homeless because she was a lesbian, and the mom could not tolerate the idea of having a daughter who was homosexual. this is often a reason why a young person becomes homeless at 15 or 16. (the intolerance of the parent).
this was another case of someone being homeless by Choice. she could have just kept quiet, and stayed home until she is 18, then worked to support herself, and have her own place. but she was homeless before the age of 16.
That is a great example of a situation for many homeless younger people. Many more of them are gay and feel shunned by society or even their families. This is one of the saddest things imaginable to me. Somebody who is gay didn’t pick their sexuality. I spent years studying this as a scientist because it’s quite fascinating. In almost all cases, the authentic science crystal clearly shows that these people had their sexuality determined in the womb, not from experiences growing up. For somebody in the straight world trying to imagine having a partner of the same sex is a repulsive thought. For many in the religious world, it goes against what THEY think is Gods plan.
I have news for them. God created them biologically that way and those judging them for being themselves are going totally against what Jesus taught his entire life.
Intolerance of others that are different than us because of race, religion or sexual orientation can evolve into hatred. We sometimes hear “hate the sin but not the sinner”
In other words hate the sin and judge the person committing the sin and being a bad person but try to not hate them for it.....
Even though they would have a reason to hate the gay person if they wanted to.....if they were not such a great Christian.......but never question their own belief system because that could never be wrong.
By definition, faith is believing in something that can’t be proven. So they can never be proven wrong in their belief system.....and that sustains their belief in something that science has proven wrong long after many of us know that it’s wrong.
Hypocracy and a convienient interpretation of nature in a way that conforms to your personal, flawed belief system using flawed religion.
Expecting somebody born gay to not be gay to conform to society’s flawed standards is based on a primitive mindset.....because the science of being gay is wellknown.
We are in the same place,on our treatment of gay people, as in the early stages of scientific advancement when Galileo’s discovery of the earth revolving around the sun got him into big trouble with the church that had taught for centuries, based on their definitive Bible, that the earth was the center of the universe.
Science and religion are in agreement on many things. When they are not in agreement and science can repeatedly prove itself to be correct, the religious are very slow to correct their flawed interpretation because a strong faith in something, whether it’s right or wrong produces a cognitive bias that is extraordinarily tough to overcome.
Funny thing is that, on this topic, those that understand the authentic biology behind being gay and those who are actually gay.......are the ones who have to dig deep inside to be tolerant of those that are still very ignorant of the science and still in their “sun revolves arounnd the world universe”
No offense intended towards religion as I’m a practicing Catholic.
There are plenty of things that I don’t understand and that none of us understand.....yet. But when some of us in the field of science do know things with certainty based on solid, proven scientific principles, it’s our responsibility to other humans to enlighten those still in the dark!