Obviously being homeless anywhere is not a desirable state for any individual, but there must be some areas better than others.
Say you’re driving along one day and swerve to avoid an adorable puppy. Unfortunately you crash right into a powerful mob boss’ Ferrari on the day of his daughter’s wedding. He’s naturally livid at this disrespect and would ordinarily have you whacked, but as it is the day of his daughter’s wedding he will spare your life.
The bad news is your life as you knew it is over - his mob bankers will take all of your money on pain of death for you and your family and you are forbidden from seeing any friends or family, on pain of death. Go to the police, it’ll be a particularly painful end for you and your loved ones. You will have nothing or he’ll order you iced. But it’s not all bad news! He’ll arrange for you to be dropped off anywhere in the world, with just the clothes on your back. Where do you pick?
There’s a number of factors that will decide one place over another;
Climate. You don’t want somewhere freezing cold or scorching hot, nor do you want somewhere prone to storms or other natural disasters.
The availability of public amenities. Somewhere to clean yourself up and free clean water is preferable.
The local character. How generous are the locals? Could you make money begging? Is a charity likely to help you out?
Stability of society - you don’t want a crime-ridden hellhole where you’re likely to be stabbed-up for your bindle.
There’s a lot more factors that will no doubt spring to your mind. Which place best fits them?
Eh, just drop me back in my neighborhood here in Minnesota. I know all the good hiding spots and shortcuts, which neighbors leave their houses open and who hangs out laundry, and there’s plenty of food growing out in the fields ATM. Plenty of time yet to set up some sort of shelter for the winter, and many of my neighbors have wood furnaces, so getting firewood wouldn’t be a problem. There’s even a spring-fed trough in a pasture just down the road so I could have good water.
I’m shocked nobody has said San Francisco yet.
For a while the city was giving out pretty generous payments to homeless people so they ended up with a ton of them. I understand this has been cut back now.
However, even now, it’s probably the best place to be homeless that you could hope for.
The locals are fairly tolerant of homeless people there, the climate is decent, and the tourists kind of expect you to hit them up for money.
Santa Monica, California…although even the denizens of the so-called Peoples Republic of Santa Monica are cracking down on them. Still…some of the worlds best weather, worlds best scenery and lots of services.
New Orleans is nice if you’re an alcoholic. You can pretty much get drunk for free in the Quarter, just from asking people if you can finish their drinks. Usually they’ll just buy you one. Same with asking for food leftovers- we called this “whiteboxing.” If you’re a street musician, you can make a lot of money, but there is very, very stiff competition for the good spots. There’s also a ton of abandoned houses, so if you’re not worried about the legality of it, you never have to sleep outside. It kind of sucks as far as services and everything, especially if you are trying to get your shit together and get off the streets.
I’ve been homeless in various places and circumstances over the years. Chicago is not bad as far as food pantries and whatnot, but spending a month in winter sleeping in my car almost killed me. When I was rubbertramping out west, I didn’t particularly like the LA area. There are a ton of other bums there, especially in beach towns. Non-NOLA southern areas are nice weatherwise, and you will meet many very generous people. I had a lady chase me down the street in Memphis to get me to come to her church’s free meal, and it was the best fried chicken I ever had.
One important consideration is how the welfare office works. If you are healthy and childless, probably the only thing you can get is food stamps. Some places have pretty long waiting periods and it’s extremely hard to get them without an address or reliable phone. Other states, you walk into the office and they hand you your card and activate it that day. In California, you can also use them for hot food at some fast food places, which is nice.
While Santa Monica woud be attractive as a homeless person because you have lots of people to beg money from and the police are seemingly not allowed to harass you, I think it’s actually overpopulated with homeless folks as a result.
San Diego arguably has an even better climate and fewer homeless, so there’s less competition for your begging dollar. They seem to live in communities and look out for one another to a degree from what I’ve seen, and there are certainly lots of resources. I see the Homeless Outreach Team (HOT) vans all over the place in the area where my office is: http://www.sandiego.gov/homeless-services/programs/hot.shtml
The street behind my office consists of large numbers of homeless people who live in their cars, and I never see them getting harassed by the police as long as they aren’t camping on the street itself and stay in their cars. The law says you have to move your car every few days, but these cars (typically vans) are broken down wrecks and never move. And as far as I know, the Comprehensive Health Centers (CHC) of San Diego also still offers decent free healthcare to the homeless too.
I keep reading that San Francisco spends $200,000,000 a year on the homeless. However I also read they only have 10,000 homeless. That works out to 200k per homeless person per year. That makes no sense, even the most expensive homeless people (according to studies I’ve read) use about 80-100k a year in public services (medical services, police services, etc).
That 200 million figure could include not only the long term homeless but also all those in between jobs. Evenso, that would still likely work out to tens of thousands of dollars each. I have no idea where all the money goes.
I bought my puka shell necklace from Jacob, a homeless guy at a dive spot we call electric beach. Those guys have a nice little gig selling small crafts and offering to carry your air tanks to the water for a tip.
If I was going to end up homeless, I would scrounge the money for a one way ticket to Hawaii and live on the beaches and parks there.