Could you live as a homeless person for one year?

The usual eccentric billionaire approaches you with a proposition. You’re being offered the chance to earn a cool ten million dollars, after taxes, if you can survive as a homeless person for one year. Here are the rules:
[li]If you agree to the challenge, you cannot do it in your current city, any city you’ve ever lived, or any city in which any family member or close friend lives. (For this purpose, family means parents, stepparents, children, stepchildren, siblings, stepsiblings, aunts, uncles, first cousins, and second cousins). You will be taken to the largest such US city that fits the bill, and, yes, it must be a US city. If you call on any family member or friend for help, the challenge will end and you will forfeit the ten million.[/li][li]Of course somebody’s watching you discreetly to report to the billionaire if cheats. That person is a right bastard who is certain not to assist you with food or shelter, though he’ll rescue you if you’re about to be criminally assaulted and bail you out of jail if you’re arrested. Incidentally, if you are arrested, any time spent in the clink (over one day) does not count toward your year on the street.[/li][li]You’ll be allowed to begin with the clothes on your back and whatever clothing & shoes can fit into this backpack. Electronic items such as laptops, tablets, and cell phones are not allowed, with one exception: this cheap, prepaid cell phone, provided by the billionaire. It will be loaded with 60 minutes of talk time, when you begin, and each month another hour will be added.[/li][li]On the first of each month, your handler will provide you with $100 in cash. You may not take any job during this year other than day laboring. You can beg, though, or do work in exchange for food, shelter, bathing facilities, and whatnot; just not money. Nor may you take any loans in anticipation of your coming windfall.[/li][li]If you are already on prescription drugs, you will provided with a month’s worth when you get your monthly C-note. Otherwise you have exactly as much access to health care as any other homeless person.[/li][li]At the end of the year, you get the $10,000,000. If you decide to call it quits after six months, you get ten grand. Call it quits before half a year, and you get to keep the duffel and cell phone.[/li][/ul]

*Assuming that you trust the billionaire to honor his end of the deal…*would you do it? What’s your plan?

Do I have to spend the year in the city, or can I go walkabout? Also, the “clothes on my back”: can I put on a bunch of layers before I fill my “backpack?”

I’d do it but I’m curious… can I beg for money? If I’m sitting on my hobo corner with my “Will work for food sign” and someone tosses a handful of change at me, do I have to refuse/return/donate it or can I keep it?

And “largest US city” would be New York since I’m disqualified from Chicago so does that assume everyone winds up in NY (unless they’re disqualified from it)? Or do I wind up in the nearest large city closest to me (Milwaukee? Indianapolis?)

I gotta have my prescriptions and the rules would not allow it since I could not earn money. That’s the deal-breaker. Otherwise I would choose some place like Miami that would allow me to exist without shelter (most of the time). Actually, if San Juan is considered US, I would choose that.

Hmm. Hadn’t thought of that. Lemme think. I’ll answer at the end of this post.

Yes you may. And if you don’t, you’re an idiot. Particularly if you get dumped in Chicago.

As regards the walkabout question … I’m going to say yes, but you’ll still be subject to monitoring, and going to any location where family or friends are known to reside will be taken as cheating and result in immediate disqualification.

I just checked the OP, and you didn’t read it carefully. Your handler gives you a hundred bucks and a month’s worth of your current scrips each month. I’ll even be nice and say that, if you’re a diabetic, you get a glucose meter and a month’s worth of strips too. But I don’t think you get to choose your city. You get dumped in the nearest large US city in which you have no family or friends, not the city of your choosing.

Okay, I’ll go for it then. I would attempt to use the offer as an opportunity to go backpacking for a year.

Is it a northern city or a southern city? Dealing with winter is a sea change.

Can you not beg for money, or just not work for money?

Having no money for a hotel, but wanting to visit the Canadian side of Niagara, I had friends drop me off there when they were driving to a festival and pick me up on the way back. I slept in a field, a ditch, and a bathroom for a week. Given decent weather, I have no doubt I could do it for a year, and even have a blast doing it (I’d miss not having a camera though - can I buy one with the $100?).

But surviving winter? That seems quite life threatening. You’d need to give me some kind of arctic sleeping bag or at the very least very well insulating clothes.

I wouldn’t do it. I couldn’t do it.

I’ve never had $10 million so I can’t miss what I never had. I do know I’d miss my family, my comfortable house, my health insurance, my bigger-than-a-backpack stuff, and my feeling of security.

Yeah, I can do it…depending on bus routes. I have relatives near Tampa, and my plan is to head towards Key West. I’ll have to look at a map to route myself away from the relatives, but I can live on the beach, eating fish & crabs…and not freeze my ass off.

Yeah, I could easily do it, and I don’t even really think it would be that difficult. Not to discredit the difficulty of being homeless, but I got $10 mil coming at the end of my year.

As a reasonably clean and sane person, I figure I’d have pretty good access to services like shelters and soup kitchens. Depending on the definition of day laborer, I’d probably be able to pick up some odd jobs. It would be an uncomfortable and boring year, but I wouldn’t have to work ever again.

You didn’t read the OP carefully. You’re giving $100 (probably in singles, just to be annoying ;)) and a month’s worth of your current prescriptions each month.

Also, you don’t get to choose your city. You’re dumped in the largest US city in which you have no family or friends to call on for help.

The OP specifically allows for begging. And you’re right that most people will get tossed in New York City unless they already live or have family/friends there. If NYC is disqualified, then Los Angeles, Chicago, Houston, Philadelphia, and so forth, as seen here. You don’t get to choose. (ETA: I realize this contradicts post five, but I reread the OP and I think this answer is more in keeping with it.)

I figure I could do it because I would have a feeling of security. I know that, in one year, it’ll be over. In fact, if I decide a month in that it’s not worth it, I can just go home and forfeit the money. That’s a lot different from actually having everything taken from me and no sense of where to go from there.

Consider it like being asked to work on some off-shore oil rig for $10,000,000 or something.

That said, pending clarification on the “largest city” thing, I should make a friend in NYC now and see if I can’t get “disqualified” to Los Angeles. Be warmer, anyway.

Sorry, the way it was written confused me a little. Sounded as though I could beg for shelter/food/etc but not for cash.

As long as sitting on a park bench eyeing little girls with bad intent isn’t a requirement, I’m in.

This question favors people from the south. When “your nearest city” is still someplace where they experience winter for real, this turns into an actual survival test where if you lose, you die.
How many homeless die from the cold in someplace like Duluth every winter? How many in Atlanta?

I could do that no problem. I’d just make sure I know someone in every cold big city :slight_smile:

Well, I could use a duffel bag and can donate the cell phone, so I’d agree even if I renege half a second later.

Likewise, I’d presumably publicize the deal and offer it as an investment opportunity to any nonfriends and nonfamily; pick me up and host me for a year, and you get half the winnings.

Also, I don’t see any restrictions against actually accessing your savings in the rules, or against purchasing a lump of gold, gluing laces, leather, and crepe rubber to it, and calling it a shoe for the purposes of backpack eligibility.

I sure as hell wouldn’t play fair, if that was the point of the question.

Technically, it favors people in the North, provided you know someone in New York, Chicago & Philadelphia.

To me that’s really not the same thing, and actually I’d take an offer like that in a heartbeat. The difference is, I’d have a job to do, someplace to go at the end of the day, and know where the next meal was coming from. While it’s dangerous and hard work, I’d know what to expect. Obviously you’d have to worry about storms and disasters like the Deepwater Horizon thing, but for some reason I can handle big crises just fine but day-to-day uncertainty kills me.

You won’t be amusing the billionaire if you access your savings. I predict he’ll disqualify you as soon as the handler reports your doing so. And since your handler will certainly be inspecting your duffel bag at the very beginning (otherwise how will he know you don’t have a tablet or whatnot), you’ll get caught on the gold lump thing too.

Oh man, I could really use some eccentric billionaire windfall so I’d be willing, but I’d be fooling myself to think that I’d last more than a few days.

Yes, I would do it. The nearest big city to me where I don’t have friends or family would be Phoenix… it would be rough in the summer. I don’t have to stay outside during the day, right?