How bad is homelessness where you live?

Its not too bad yet in Kansas City due to lower costs for housing in general and the availability of shelters. The police tend to clamp down pretty hard when panhandlers get aggressive.

I hear ya. I’m at the point now where whenever I consider dining or entertainment in The City, I have to assess how willing I am to step over how many homeless people to get there.

Well, homelessness involves homeless people, and there are numerous issues intertwined in the whole situation. I didn’t see how to separate one from the other.

Where I work there isn’t a high concentration of homeless because of the suburban nature of the area. There are a few that we have known for years. They don’t want any help because all the shelters and programs require sobriety and they are unwilling or unable.

There are also an unknown number of people or families at any time that are living in local hotels through government programs. I don’t know if they are counted as homeless in statistics but they are benefiting from programs that keep them off of the streets.

It’s hard to say. Define “homelessness.”

I live in a rural area, 40 miles from the nearest stop light and 100 miles from the nearest major city. There are a lot of people around here who live in shacks, vans, campers, and what have you. Some are off-the-grid types who just want to be left alone. Some are sex offenders who can’t get work and can’t live in most parts of most cities, anyway. A few others are simply down on their luck and do what they can.

Nevertheless, in the winter anyway, the number of actual homeless people (that is, people who literally have nowhere to go and sleep on the streets) in this area is zero. In the summer that number goes up due to migrants, transients and hobos coming through town in search of work, but even then, they don’t sleep on the streets (cops would kick them out in a heartbeat). They generally camp in the woods, away from prying eyes.

Drive around San Jose and you’re going to see tents and debris fields scattered all over in bushes alongside the freeways. RV clusters can be found on back streets and in unused parking lots. There’s a family living out of a tent-trailer just around the corner. There are groups set up alongside the Los Gatos Creek Trail. And this is just in the areas that I frequent. So I’d say the homeless situation is kinda bad.

I live in Austin, too, and yep this is what’s happening. Although I’m not sure homelessness is increasing or decreasing.

Homeless have become more visible in Little Rock over the last few years. Part of the reason they became more visible is because our anti-panhandling law was struck down by a federal judge in 2016 so we see them a busy intersections asking for money. There’s an area they congregate not so far from city hall under a bridge near the river. Various charities go out there on the weekend to feed them.

When I worked at the main library we had homeless people there every day and they were perfectly nice people. Someone must have come to an understanding with them and made it clear that they were welcome to stay so long as they didn’t sleep, cause any disruption, and they checked their baggage with security. I can’t recall a single time we ever had a problem with a homeless person at the library.

Oh, I forgot. We have this woman who kind of roams around the area. One neighbor said she looked outside one day and this woman was using her outdoor hose faucet (yes, imagine looking out your front window and seeing and hearing someone standing in your front yard and getting water from your hose). She went out and asked her what she was doing and she said just refilling her water bottle. We are guessing she is living with someone or at a church or something so I guess then she wouldnt be technically “homeless”.

PS. The woman didnt mind although she found it awkward and wouldnt want it to occur regularly because what if the person left the water on or got sick from the water coming out of the hose?

Remember, homeless shelters have to have rules, and some people simply will not follow them. That attitude keeps them from holding a job too.

Just curious, what are the rules like at most homeless shelters? Is it basic health-and-safety stuff like “don’t shit on the floor” and “don’t stab your neighbor” or is it highly restrictive, to the point of being unreasonable?

highly restrictive

No unreasonable, but you did have to respect the rules and the rights of the other people. Check in time was 8 p.m. unless you had a late pass. No drinking or drugs; breaking this rules would get you expelled immediately, as would any act of violence towards anyone, and no stealing. You had to keep yourself and your personal items neat.

Basically, the rules were the same ones as those for having most jobs. Respect other people.

I live in rural Ohio and work near Dayton.

I haven’t seen a homeless “street” person in many years.

I am sure they exist. I guess I just haven’t been in the right place/time to see one.

Do you have some specifics? The ones Annie-Xmas gave did not seem particularly restrictive to me.

Check in may be at 8 pm, but when are the doors opened, and how much earlier do you have to get in line to be guaranteed some shelter space? This matters because it is hard to scramble to get food and/or look for a job if you have to take your place in line outside of the shelter hours before the door opens. What time of the morning do they have to leave?

When I went to the shelter in downtown Seattle, you got in line by 3pm if you wanted to be guaranteed a spot when the doors opened at 6pm. A small meal was to be had at 7pm(soup or sandwich), and the last call to come in was at 8pm…but this was usually a joke, because the shelter was usually full by 6:30-7pm. At about 8:30 they started giving out floor mats(about the length of a single bed, maybe slightly shorter) that were just slightly thicker than an exercise mat. Once you got your mat down you could put your stuff on it but, if you did this, you stayed on the mat to safeguard your stuff. lights out were at 10pm, and then you tried to sleep, with about 6 inches of space between mats, someone at your feet, someone at your head, and someone on each side of you. Do you want to smell feet inches from your face, or do you like to drop off to to the lovely tones of heavy snorers? Roust at 5:30, out by 6am, head over to the Mission shelter ASAP to get a spot to heat up a bit and grab a stale croissant donated by a local bakery, use up my one hour stay limit, then head out and hope the weather holds.

Czarcasm, how did you go from a situation where you were living in a shelter to wherever you’re at today?

It was a miracle involving a crazy lady. Every year in the fall/winter back then the Seattle Center had a free Science Fiction Expo-halls full of sci-fi history, studios premiering upcoming shows and movies, and a stage play(usually with Jimmy Doohan as a guest actor). I started chatting with a young lady about fanstuff, and she asked if I would like to go out to an SCA fighter practice. Instead of saying “No-I’ve got to go stand in line for a couple of hours”, I took her up on her offer and she drove us to some college building where people were dressed funny and hitting each other with sword-shaped things. Someone handed me a tall mug of mulled wine, I watched and chatted a bit, then at 11pm or so someone shouted “Who is going to do Rocky with us?” Crazy Lady Marla told me to finish the wine and head to the car, and she drove us to a movie theatre, where I saw “Rocky Horror Picture Show” for the first time. After the movie I asked her to drop me off downtown, but she insisted that I could crash in one of her downstairs bedrooms.
Instead of heading back to the streets, she gave me a job as her housekeeper, and because I now had a permanent address and access to a personal phone I was able to get a job at a security firm.
My path out was a freakin’ miracle involving a crazy lady-not a path available to most…unless any of you out there is willing to be crazy, too.

Best kind of crazy lady story in a homelessness thread :slight_smile:

As for round here, I moved a year ago from Bristol, a city with a population of over 670,000 to a little town of 12,000. There were a fair few homeless people in the city- noticeably increasing over the later years.

Bristol’s one of those places that gets a lot of voluntary homeless, who live in vans or caravans on the street and spend the summer going festival to festival. I’m not being glib about it being voluntary- I had friends who did just that for a few years. We had a rotating selection of them on our street for a few months each, though we did complain about a few who were constantly drunk, smashing things and dumping their rubbish in our yard, generally they weren’t a problem. It does mess with the stats though- the guy parked outside his mate’s house, chipping in a bit for bill money and using the shower until summer starts again, who goes and stays with his parents or grandma (who are all worried about him) when it gets really cold, but finds their place boooring, can get count as homeless just the same as someone with no other options.

The real increase had been in the non-voluntary homeless, the guys who couldn’t just pack it in and move back home. I went up there a few weeks ago and was genuinely shocked by the number of tents on city centre roundabouts and people asleep in doorways. There used to be a couple of guys (a few of whom actually did have a room somewhere but had mental issues and didn’t always sleep there- I got to know some), but now there are far more than the city shelters can cope with, and there’s far more couples and women, it’s not just single guys like it used to be.

Personally, I’m glad they are allowed to hang round the centre where they’re more visible, and other people can’t simply pretend the issue isn’t real, even if it does mean getting asked for change every few minutes.

What’s really shocked me though is the number of homeless people living in my new little town. It has a shelter, which is routinely full. Those tents you see in the woods by the hiking trail? Not kids messing about or cheeky holidaymakers. Homeless folks.

At least we don’t get kids on the street here; they might be put up in less than ideal temporary accommodation, but the local council is required to provide immediate housing for families with children, (and that is families with children, not just the children) even if it’s in a hotel.