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Old 11-24-2019, 12:21 PM
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I met a homless guy yesterday.


I stopped in at a local sports bar to grab lunch and play some Buzztime Trivia. Guy sitting next to me was pretty much like me - older, casually dressed, offering up the occasional comment on a football game. Walking down the street together we would have looked like brothers. After I had been there a half hour he asks, "Say, would you buy me a hamburg"? I was a bit taken aback and he added, "I'm homeless". I didn't believe it at first but after some questions the details came out.

He lived in the dumpster behind the bar because it was dry. They have one dumpster for food and another for trash, mostly cardboard boxes and that is where he stayed. The bar is on the out lot of a busy shopping center but the dumpsters are behind a 6 foot tall wood fence. The employees know him and set aside the better leftovers sometimes. He mentioned somewhere that had a shower he could use often enough to stay presentable. The cops don't bother him.

I asked what his previous life was but all he said was, "I was married - didn't work out". I think I'll take him a plate on Thanksgiving if i can find him.

Dennis
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Old 11-24-2019, 12:57 PM
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You're very nice. Fix him.up some toiletries in a ziplock bag. A razor, soap, travel size shampoo, lip balm. And socks. Homeless people like socks.
We were checking out of a hotel in Louisiana one time. It was a nice hotel. Not 5-star, but good. I saw a man sitting out front when we were in the office. He was dressed nice and clean. When we came out he walked up to Mr.Wrekker and started a longish tale how he had picked up a women the night before. She robbed him, money, phone, took off in his car. The hotel clerk came out and hollered "Ernie, get out of here" The guy walked off. The clerk said he's been telling that story for years and raked in lots of cash, but he was just a homeless schlub. We saw the same man down the street at a gas station. Mr.Wrekker gave him $20. I asked him why he did that. He said either way the guy was down on his luck.
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Old 11-24-2019, 01:13 PM
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There is a cadre of homeless folks here that earn money by selling a newspaper called "Street Roots". The guy in our neighborhood is William and we talk to him every week, usually when buying a loaf of bread at the bakery he stands in front of. He's smart and always gives a synopsis of the major story in the paper. The price is a buck. I always give him at least three without making a deal out of it. I don't know his story, but I see him quite often, carrying his belongings in a duffel bag. While a lot of these folks are druggies and people with mental problems, some of them are just down on their luck.
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Old 11-24-2019, 01:58 PM
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There is a cadre of homeless folks here that earn money by selling a newspaper called "Street Roots". The guy in our neighborhood is William and we talk to him every week, usually when buying a loaf of bread at the bakery he stands in front of. He's smart and always gives a synopsis of the major story in the paper. The price is a buck. I always give him at least three without making a deal out of it. I don't know his story, but I see him quite often, carrying his belongings in a duffel bag. While a lot of these folks are druggies and people with mental problems, some of them are just down on their luck.
When I lived in DC homeless people would go into the Smithsonian museums and take a stack of (free) pamphlets from the information desk which they would try and sell as souvenirs to tourists walking on the mall for a couple of bucks apiece.
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Old 11-24-2019, 02:08 PM
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Very nice, Dennis. And Beck, yes, large gallon ziplocks with toiletries and snacks are good to hand out. I keep one underneath my driver’s seat, and the others in the trunk.

I think most of us, myself included, are or previously were a few bad-luck outcomes away from being homeless.

Thanks for this, Dennis.
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Old 11-24-2019, 02:18 PM
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When I lived in NYC there was a guy who often hung outside the corner grocery store and asked if you would buy food for his kids. I think he had a home, and a welfare check that ran out, since he showed up mostly at the end of the month. Often, he hung out with a woman who was usually pregnant.

I was tempted to give him some condoms. But I usually did pick up some milk and a box of cereal if he asked for it.
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Old 11-24-2019, 02:46 PM
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We saw the same man down the street at a gas station. Mr.Wrekker gave him $20. I asked him why he did that. He said either way the guy was down on his luck.
Yes, I always feel perplexed by the obviously fake, or occasionally genuine, stories. I figure, if someone is begging for money on the street, that is enough reason to give them money! (and/or food, etc), no need for a back story.

(Also you are not obligated to give every single person money: when you are begging from total strangers, textbook short cons, violently cursing them if they don't give enough, or following them home(!), all not cool.)
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Old 11-24-2019, 02:52 PM
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An annual tradition evolved among my friends and me to gather each year at someone's house in the holiday season between Thanksgiving and New Year's Day.

Everyone brings a large, reusable sturdy bag such as for grocery shopping and their choice of a contribution to be distributed among however many bags we are making up for the year, usually one per person.

Into each bag we put hat, gloves, socks, a coat or jacket, small blanket, about $5.00's worth of coins, toiletries, notepad, pens, canned and instant food items, pet treats/food, local maps, handwarmers, etc. and a printed list of various resources for the homeless, including food banks, shelters and the like.

Everyone carries a completed bag in their car and gives it to a needy someone they encounter during the year.

The encounters I've had with my beneficiaries have all been positive, some very touching. It has become an important part of my annual festivities.
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Old 11-24-2019, 07:07 PM
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Aspenglow, that is an amazing act.
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Old 11-24-2019, 07:20 PM
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I asked what his previous life was but all he said was, "I was married - didn't work out".
Just curious - is his ex a porn star actress/escort?
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Old 11-24-2019, 08:09 PM
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Just curious - is his ex a porn star actress/escort?
Damn, what took you guys this long to put the two posts together?

Dennis
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Old 11-24-2019, 09:51 PM
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Many years ago, when I lived in NYC, I frequently saw the same homeless guy and his dog on a street I frequented. I had a lot of quarters that I was wrapping up into rolls, so I thought I'd give this guy a roll each day on my way to work. Day 1, I handed the guy a roll of quarters. He looked at it, said "What is this shit?" and threw it back at me, hard, hitting me in the eye. I had to go to the ER.
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Old 11-25-2019, 05:22 AM
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He lived in the dumpster behind the bar because it was dry. ... The employees know him and set aside the better leftovers sometimes.
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Day 1, I handed the guy a roll of quarters. He looked at it, said "What is this shit?" and threw it back at me, hard, hitting me in the eye. I had to go to the ER.
One of my Dad's acquaintances used to live on a loading dock at the back of a building in the CBD. I was talking with one of my friends one day, and wondered out loud why the business would let the guy do that.

My friend introduced me to the concept of an "ecological niche". If the business doesn't let somebody responsible and stable live on their loading dock, they get some irresponsible asshole living on their loading dock.
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Old 11-25-2019, 06:34 AM
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Guy sitting next to me was pretty much like me - older, casually dressed, ...we would have looked like brothers...had a shower he could use often enough to stay presentable.

all he said was, "I was married - didn't work out".
It's a nice story, and it's good to help another human being.
But when I read stories like this I always wonder: why is this nice person still homeless.?

The bar employees leave food for this guy regularly. He has a stable life of sorts, decent conversational and social skills, was married. But has the guy ever suggested that he be allowed to work at the bar?Why not ask him to wash dishes for an hour a day, and then see what develops?


I was once sitting in a similar situation: on a bench outdoors at a small pizza/ice cream stand at the beach.A casually dressed,but not sloppy, woman approached asking for spare change, with a short sob story about being homeless. She appeared clean and reasonable. And when I suggested that maybe instead of spare change, she might prefer $50 dollars or so today, she looked up at me. Then I pointed to the sign on the countertop saying "help wanted".
She turned violent, cursing loudly and actually took a swing in my direction (without hitting me).
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Old 11-25-2019, 08:01 AM
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Many years ago, when I lived in NYC, I frequently saw the same homeless guy and his dog on a street I frequented. I had a lot of quarters that I was wrapping up into rolls, so I thought I'd give this guy a roll each day on my way to work. Day 1, I handed the guy a roll of quarters. He looked at it, said "What is this shit?" and threw it back at me, hard, hitting me in the eye. I had to go to the ER.
when I lived in NYC I ran into a lot of beggars. I decided that if I happened to have food with me, I'd give it to them if they asked me for help. I offered people bagels, leftovers from Chinese, mandarins, once I offered a guy a box of strawberries.

About half gratefully accepted. And about half hissed at me and moved on to a group of potential donors who hadn't seen them turn me down. I was never physically assaulted, though. Wow. And you even gave him cash. I wonder if he even knew it was cash.

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... But has the guy ever suggested that he be allowed to work at the bar?Why not ask him to wash dishes for an hour a day, and then see what develops?
...
This is actually somewhat complicated if the establishment wants to follow employment law. They need paperwork, for starters. (Proof he's a US citizen or has a working visa, SSN, that sort of thing.) It's probably not legal to let him work just for the right to trespass.

Now, half the restaurant employees in NYC are illegal (a wag, and I may be exaggerating, but it's a big number) so maybe that's not a consideration. But as society gets more organized it's harder to cut deals like that.
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Old 11-25-2019, 09:21 AM
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An annual tradition evolved among my friends and me to gather each year at someone's house in the holiday season between Thanksgiving and New Year's Day.

Everyone brings a large, reusable sturdy bag such as for grocery shopping and their choice of a contribution to be distributed among however many bags we are making up for the year, usually one per person.

Into each bag we put hat, gloves, socks, a coat or jacket, small blanket, about $5.00's worth of coins, toiletries, notepad, pens, canned and instant food items, pet treats/food, local maps, handwarmers, etc. and a printed list of various resources for the homeless, including food banks, shelters and the like.

Everyone carries a completed bag in their car and gives it to a needy someone they encounter during the year.

The encounters I've had with my beneficiaries have all been positive, some very touching. It has become an important part of my annual festivities.
That's pretty damn awesome.
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Old 11-25-2019, 09:31 AM
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I've been homeless and it is very hard on a person. Nobody should have to live on the streets or in a shelter, and the people who help those unfortunates are very fine human beings. There was a church across the street from the shelter I stayed at. One day hey held a free market with donated clothes. The part that really impressed me was the group of young ladies (high school studesnt I think) who were handing out five dollar bills to the people coming out. I told them they made me feel optimistic about the upcoming generation.

I now work in a discount store. I've had people who buy cartloads of toys and tell me they're giving them to a toy drive. I love those people. Hey, anyone can make an on-line donation, but it takes special people to schlep.

As I tell people: Change the name and the tale is told about you. You could be homeless one day too.

Last edited by Annie-Xmas; 11-25-2019 at 09:31 AM.
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Old 11-25-2019, 11:15 AM
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An annual tradition evolved among my friends and me to gather each year at someone's house in the holiday season between Thanksgiving and New Year's Day.

Everyone brings a large, reusable sturdy bag such as for grocery shopping and their choice of a contribution to be distributed among however many bags we are making up for the year, usually one per person.

Into each bag we put hat, gloves, socks, a coat or jacket, small blanket, about $5.00's worth of coins, toiletries, notepad, pens, canned and instant food items, pet treats/food, local maps, handwarmers, etc. and a printed list of various resources for the homeless, including food banks, shelters and the like.

Everyone carries a completed bag in their car and gives it to a needy someone they encounter during the year.

The encounters I've had with my beneficiaries have all been positive, some very touching. It has become an important part of my annual festivities.
When hubby was still a road deputy, official policy in the large county where he worked was to transport transitory homeless folks to the next jurisdiction. (And that's not a heartless NIMBY thing. The county had no type of homeless shelter, so a ride to the next interstate-adjacent truck stop was generally a positive for the person in transit.)

After T and I married, my daughter learned about this. Her 9-year-old heart was all "Mama, that's not good enough!" So we brainstormed.

Money was tight, so we started a change jar. When it was full, we rolled coins, and used the proceeds to make comfort bags. A Ziploc with dry socks, shelf-stable nutritious foods, travel size toiletries, enough quarters for a shower at the truck stop, that sort of thing. Added a little note of encouragement, and made sure that every deputy had a bag in the trunk. We collected used jackets and blankets and backpacks from friends and family.

Now that hubby is medically retired, daughter and I still collect change and drop off bags to another deputy who keeps the tradition alive. There's still no shelter in that county.

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It's a nice story, and it's good to help another human being.
But when I read stories like this I always wonder: why is this nice person still homeless.?

The bar employees leave food for this guy regularly. He has a stable life of sorts, decent conversational and social skills, was married. But has the guy ever suggested that he be allowed to work at the bar?Why not ask him to wash dishes for an hour a day, and then see what develops?
Years ago (holy crap, almost a quarter century? That can't be right!) I was tending bar in a downtown urban place. One afternoon, a homeless man was assaulted outside my workplace. Obviously, I called the emergency line, and the EMT who had been enjoying her happy hour drink rendered aid until on-duty arrived. I gave my witness statement (the bar patrons couldn't, because I was facing the window, and customers at the brass rail had their backs to it.)

The only other statement was given by the companion of the victim. I spoke to him the next day.

Victim was non-verbal, and, I think, schizophrenic. Companion was bipolar (according to him, and I saw enough to think he was absolutely correct.) Victim and companion lived rough. Neither was in any shape to be employed. But neither was scary. Just homeless and crazy.

The reason I spoke to the compadre the next day was that he came to let me know his friend was okay, and to thank me. He also let me know that they usually watched when I was closing the bar, because I was little, and had to take out the trash in the alley and then get in my car at 3am. Apparently, I reminded Companion of the daughter he'd lost touch with. (It wasn't creepy, in spite of how it sounds.)

After that, I was able to convince the Amigos to stop at the back door when I worked. They binned the trash for me. I made sure they had a sandwich and something to drink. They made sure I got to my car safely. I arranged for a (male) friend to nab them once or twice a week for showers and laundry at his place. And so forth.

Both were really unemployable, even assuming they had proper ID. Absent the mental health services that they truly needed, it was the best I could do. That's still the case, far too often.
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Old 11-25-2019, 02:33 PM
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I've been homeless and it is very hard on a person. Nobody should have to live on the streets or in a shelter, and the people who help those unfortunates are very fine human beings. There was a church across the street from the shelter I stayed at. One day hey held a free market with donated clothes. The part that really impressed me was the group of young ladies (high school studesnt I think) who were handing out five dollar bills to the people coming out. I told them they made me feel optimistic about the upcoming generation.

I now work in a discount store. I've had people who buy cartloads of toys and tell me they're giving them to a toy drive. I love those people. Hey, anyone can make an on-line donation, but it takes special people to schlep.

As I tell people: Change the name and the tale is told about you. You could be homeless one day too.
At one time in my life I worked for a public housing agency, renovating properties and building new ones. It's easy to get jaded when you see some of the folks living in these places seemingly uninterested in getting jobs yet having a 50" TV in the living room. At a meeting one week, a couple of my employees were grousing about this. I was about to quash that talk when another guy suddenly said, loudly, "You know, there is not one god damned one of you who isn't two paychecks away from being in their shoes! Shame on you!" They both had the decency to look sheepish.
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Old 11-25-2019, 03:21 PM
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It's a nice story, and it's good to help another human being.
But when I read stories like this I always wonder: why is this nice person still homeless.?

The bar employees leave food for this guy regularly. He has a stable life of sorts, decent conversational and social skills, was married. But has the guy ever suggested that he be allowed to work at the bar?Why not ask him to wash dishes for an hour a day, and then see what develops?
Can a person pay the rent with only a part-time job washing dishes? (Whether on or off the books.) If not, working at the bar may help by netting him some cash and free food, but remember the guy needs at least $1000 per month, every month, just for an apartment unless the city hands out free housing.
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Old 11-25-2019, 03:50 PM
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A friend of mine is going through homelessness right now. It truly sucks and it's going to suck even more in the next few months. He's been robbed and hassled by cops. I've told him he can crash on my floor once a month, and he's got a few other resources he can use, but sometimes he's gonna be sleeping on the street.
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Old 11-25-2019, 04:03 PM
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Can a person pay the rent with only a part-time job washing dishes? ... remember the guy needs at least $1000 per month, every month .
The reason I suggested the dishwashing job one hour a day wasn't because I expect the homeless guy living in the dumpster bar to suddenly move into a nice apartment.

My point was to ask if this guy actually wants to return to a normal life in society.
The OP describes him as a normal guy, just down on his luck. I'm wondering how normal he really is.

Offering to work one hour a day washing dishes would be a start, and show genuine motivation. If he works responsibly, the bar owner could then hire him as a full-time dishwasher at minimum wage.And after a few months of solid work experience, he would have some credibility to return to the job market doing whatever he had been doing when he was married and not homeless.

But if the guy prefers to stay in his trash dumpster,then he obviously has problems so severe that he is incapable of living in normal society.
This specific guy(with his personal contacts and friendships at this bar) has a huge advantage over all those anonymous guys living in a homeless camp littered with drug needles.

He has a chance to improve himself.
But like too many of the homeless, he doesn't seem to want to.
And that makes me sad.

Last edited by chappachula; 11-25-2019 at 04:05 PM.
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Old 11-25-2019, 05:31 PM
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I'm often surprised when I encounter sentiments such as in the OP, as to the novelty of meeting a homeless person. I guess if you don't have a job that regularly brings you into contact with them, or don't volunteer in some related manner, it is easy to overlook how many people are homeless for so many reasons.
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Old 11-25-2019, 05:52 PM
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It's a nice story, and it's good to help another human being.
But when I read stories like this I always wonder: why is this nice person still homeless.?
Mental Illness, lack of employment record, fear of employment based on previous experience.... There's a whole host of reasons why a homeless person choses to remain homeless.

I have a family member who, amazingly, still has his own home after 10 years of joblessness but he's stuck. He's not a real social fellow, but friendly enough. But he got laid off a job that he thought he had for life and it just plain overwhelmed him. He literally can't move forward because he's got a block in his own mind.

I've been there so I understand. I still try to encourage him to ask for help, and so do his neighbors, but he can't/won't do it. This time, I'm offering to be with him when he makes the call.
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Old 11-25-2019, 06:46 PM
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Mental Illness, lack of employment record, fear of employment based on previous experience.... There's a whole host of reasons why a homeless person choses to remain homeless.

I have a family member who, amazingly, still has his own home after 10 years of joblessness but he's stuck. He's not a real social fellow, but friendly enough. But he got laid off a job that he thought he had for life and it just plain overwhelmed him. He literally can't move forward because he's got a block in his own mind.

I've been there so I understand. I still try to encourage him to ask for help, and so do his neighbors, but he can't/won't do it. This time, I'm offering to be with him when he makes the call.
This is an important point. My family was homeless for a short spell when I was a child, so I've seen how it can happen. I've known a few friends who transitioned to homeless due to addiction. I have always felt that the hurdles to go from homeless to not homeless are immense. And many of us who are able of body and mind would find the process to be a big challenge. So, choosing to remain homeless is often a rational choice within the seemingly available options.
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Old 11-25-2019, 07:04 PM
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I'm often surprised when I encounter sentiments such as in the OP, as to the novelty of meeting a homeless person. I guess if you don't have a job that regularly brings you into contact with them, or don't volunteer in some related manner, it is easy to overlook how many people are homeless for so many reasons.
It varies a lot depending on where you live and work. When i lived in NYC i saw homeless people every day. If I went to my subway station early, every bench had someone sleeping on it. (Right before rush hour a cop came by and turned the lights back on and they all got up and left. And every evening they returned, and I've of them would give the florescent bulbs a half twist to turn them off. Honestly, I bet that was a safer and more pleasant place than a lot of the homeless shelters, which tended to have problems with TB.)

Now I live in a suburb with no public transit where everything closes at night. It gets cold here. We have some poor people who own homes but have little income. We don't really have homeless people. I commute into a city, and it does have homeless people. There are warm grates to sleep on, and public services. But if I worked in my home town, I might never see a homeless person.
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Old 11-26-2019, 09:39 AM
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There's an old saying: Most people are one pay check away from being on welfare. Yes, most of the homeless are struggling to find a job/place to live, but some do have the attitude of "The rules don't apply to me." One such lovely demanded to leave the shelter at midnight (against the rules) and made a fuss when they wouldn't let her back in.

I figure about 20% are in the shelter because they don't think their bosses/landlord's rules apply to them.
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Old 11-26-2019, 10:09 AM
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It varies a lot depending on where you live and work.
...
Now I live in a suburb with no public transit where everything closes at night...
In our suburbs, a local group sponsors shelters, so it is very common to encounter homeless. We DO have a train and busses, tho. And, of course, they are at the library.

But whether you SEE a homeless person or not, far fewer people actually TALK with them to any length. Then, among the small percentage of people who TALK to them, even fewer CARE about them as individuals.
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Old 11-26-2019, 12:41 PM
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Not seeing a person obviously sleeping on the streets doesn't necessarily mean you're never seeing a homeless person. That reasonable-looking person reading in the nice warm library may be camping a few nights on one friend or family member's sofa, a few nights on another's, and so on.
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Old 11-26-2019, 01:09 PM
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Actually, now that you mention it, last time I was in the city library there was a guy near me who I guessed was homeless. He WASN'T reading, nor did he have any library materials with him. And his shoes had holes. He was sitting quietly at a table, and I remember thinking that it was really cold out, and this was probably a pleasant place to escape the weather.
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Old 11-26-2019, 02:02 PM
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...this was probably a pleasant place to escape the weather.
Pleasant until your teenage daughter who works as a shelver is being followed around the shelves. Or drug paraphernalia in the washrooms. ...

But likely appropriate for a different thread.

I've had my perceptions expanded by discussions I've had with people who live in Chicago's forest preserves. I imagine many people may have no idea how common it is. Or what it takes to do it. (Hint, the coyotes aren't nearly as much trouble as the raccoons! )
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Old 11-26-2019, 02:26 PM
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Well, he wasn't following anyone around, and if he had any drug paraphernalia it was well hidden. He was just sitting at a table minding his own business. He was under-dressed and under-groomed compared to other patrons, but his behavior seemed perfectly fine.
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Old 11-26-2019, 03:03 PM
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Well, he wasn't following anyone around, and if he had any drug paraphernalia it was well hidden. He was just sitting at a table minding his own business. He was under-dressed and under-groomed compared to other patrons, but his behavior seemed perfectly fine.
Nevertheless, I still have a crazy preference that libraries be reserved for people who are using the resources. And by that, I do not mean using a chair to sleep in.

Yes, I would support public funding of more accessible safe shelters and warming stations. Or, if homeless are allowed to sleep in libraries, maybe they should be allowed/encouraged to do the same in city halls, police and fire stations, park district facilities...
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Old 11-27-2019, 09:28 AM
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Are you afraid your library's going to run out of chair space? What skin is it off your nose if somebody's using a chair that's there anyway, in a room that's heated anyway, in a space that's supervised anyway, for a purpose you think shouldn't be part of the library's purpose? Why does it make such a huge amount of difference whether the person is, or is not, reading or using a computer or audio system? Of course they ought to be behaving themselves. So should people with homes and full wallets.

Libraries in my area are generally full during applicable hours of preteens and teens using the library as a place to hang out between the close of school and when their parents get home; and at any open hour there are older people who probably just wanted to get out of the house for a while, who may be reading, or doing jigsaw puzzles which the library provides, or for all I know sometimes falling asleep in their chairs; people with homes and full wallets sometimes do that too. The libraries clearly consider themselves a community resource for such purposes; just as they're a resource for net access, job hunting, computer classes, storytelling, and so on.
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Old 11-27-2019, 09:37 AM
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A homeless man was asked to leave the library in my home town because another patron complained that he was looking at her. He filed a lawsuit, and it was ruled that libraries are PUBLIC places. They are open to the PUBLIC. Anyone has a right to be there as long as they follow the library's rules.
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Old 12-03-2019, 01:30 AM
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At one time in my life I worked for a public housing agency, renovating properties and building new ones. It's easy to get jaded when you see some of the folks living in these places seemingly uninterested in getting jobs yet having a 50" TV in the living room. At a meeting one week, a couple of my employees were grousing about this. I was about to quash that talk when another guy suddenly said, loudly, "You know, there is not one god damned one of you who isn't two paychecks away from being in their shoes! Shame on you!" They both had the decency to look sheepish.
As a family friend has said more than once, "Any one of us could be sleeping under a bridge this time next year."
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Old 12-03-2019, 02:27 AM
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But whether you SEE a homeless person or not, far fewer people actually TALK with them to any length. Then, among the small percentage of people who TALK to them, even fewer CARE about them as individuals.
I once had a weird non-verbal relationship with a homeless guy, ten or fifteen years ago.

He'd sell the homeless newspaper and sometimes some flowers in front of the minimart on my block every few days, and I'd often see him whenever I passed by on my way to the tobacconist. On my way back, if he saw me smoking he'd put two fingers to his lips in the universal language of "bum a smoke, guv ?" and I'd hand him a half dozen, sometimes whatever change I had on me as well. I have no idea what language he spoke, and he was missing quite a few teeth which made him mumble a lot - from the looks of him and the way he talked I'd say he was Romanian or Czech or from some other godforsaken post-Soviet place, but if I'm honest I just couldn't understand a blessed word besides "thanks". Never knew his name, either.

But because we saw each other often, and because he brightened up like a little kid whenever he saw me, I also brightened up whenever he was there. Soon enough we'd smile and wave at each other from all the way down the street, then after a while we'd shake each other's hands like we were old neighbours. One particularly dreadful winter I saw him looking like a beaten dog and as I got back home and tried to burn away the cold, hands glued to the radiator, I got the notion to bring him a mug of hot tea, for no real reason. The old bastard almost broke into tears, which made *me* almost break into tears. I left him the mug and beat a hasty retreat cause I didn't know what to do with myself at that point ; when I came back 10 minutes later to get the mug back he insisted I take his entire bouquet of flowers. I felt so bad because, shit, that was all he had . But he wouldn't hear otherwise. I kept bringing him tea throughout that winter. It became our little ritual, even if one of the cashiers at the minimart gave me the evil eye.

And then someday he disappeared into thin air. I have no idea if he died, or found a job, or got run out of town by the police, or simply found another, warmer place to sell the homeless newspaper at. I miss him sometimes, very selfishly. For the low price of a handful of cigarettes every once in a while he made me feel I was someone else, someone good.
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Old 12-03-2019, 11:38 AM
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The homeless shelter I stayed in was next to a strip mall with a Dunkin' Donuts in it. The peojple that ran the place always treated us like all their regular customers and as a result got lots of business from the shelter. When I found a place to go, I made a point of going into the Dunkies for one last cup of coffee and telling the owner how nice the cashiers treated us "like regular people."
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Old 12-03-2019, 07:28 PM
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It's a nice story, and it's good to help another human being.
But when I read stories like this I always wonder: why is this nice person still homeless.?

The bar employees leave food for this guy regularly. He has a stable life of sorts, decent conversational and social skills, was married. But has the guy ever suggested that he be allowed to work at the bar?Why not ask him to wash dishes for an hour a day, and then see what develops?
I know it's been a while, but I just swung back to add that the guy my Dad knew, who lived on a loading dock in the CBD, wasn't a drug addict or an alcoholic. He had a regular job when my Dad knew him, selling papers and magazines from a kiosk. He'd worked his way up from being a homeless newspaper boy to being a homeless newspaper man, and soon after I met him, at retirement age, he got into government-owned housing.
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Old 12-03-2019, 07:55 PM
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There is a homeless man I see on my walks along a creek trail in town behind the hospital. I figure he is somehow getting something from the hospital, maybe a place to crash overnight, so by the time I see him occasionally in the mornings, he is just sitting on a bench with his several bags of stuff. I usually wave or say hello to him as a fellow human being, but I like the idea mentioned above of providing a ziplock with some essentials inside. I will look to do that going forward.

Not long ago on a bike trip up north, we ended the trip and started to drive the several hours home, but made a quick stop at a fast-food restaurant. There was a couple of young people sitting on the curb out front, when out of the blue my friend asked them as we passed by what they wanted to eat. He went inside and bought them some food along with his order, and took it out to them before he sat down to eat with us. All he said to us was "I have been hungry, too." I took note of this and try to do this sort of thing when I can.
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Old 12-04-2019, 02:50 AM
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There isn't anything grand or noble about why I give money to people now and then, but I do when circumstances permit. Comes of spending a lot of time in close proximity and some interacting with them in my misspent youth. They're people, that's all, circumstances are a bit different than mine. Don't know why and don't care how they ended up there, but I usually have enough that I can spare some, just seems right, thats all.
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