What It’s Really Like to Be Homeless

AlterNet, June 28, 2016

1)  Homeless people are Human

Time and again, people who are homeless in San Francisco said they think people look at them and act as if being homeless makes them less than human.


2) Some Homeless People Have Real Jobs

Half a dozen of those interviewed are full-time workers who simply could not afford another apartment or room after they were forced from their residence. Patricia Gonzalez, 45, works two part-time minimum wage jobs, one in home care, the other at Sky Chef, which assembles food at the San Francisco Airport. When she left her abusive boyfriend a year ago in May, she found she could not afford to pay the new rents in the neighborhood she has lived in all her life, especially since landlords wanted three months’ rent upfront, a credit check and renter’s insurance in order to qualify. She lives in her car .

Others spend their days trolling trash cans for recyclables, which is harder than a desk job.


3) Not All Homeless People Are Drug Addicts or Alcoholics

A city study conducted by the Department of Public Health in the last fiscal year found that about 60 percent of the homeless surveyed had abused drugs or alcohol at some point. But seven people interviewed said that they began drinking or doing drugs (methamphetamine being the most common mentioned) only after they became homeless.


4) Homeless People are More Scared of You Than You of Them

Joe, a 40-year-old dark-skinned African-American who fixes bikes for money, said people act as if he is going to rob them, when he has been the victim of robberies. Indeed, nearly everyone interviewed said they have felt unsafe on the streets, targets for harassment and assault.


5) Homeless People are Often Hungry and Cold

Gregory, a 46-year-old homeless man who sleeps at the side of an elementary school, said that while churches offer free food, it is often hard for him to get around to take advantage of it because he is worried about his shopping cart getting stolen—it has happened several times. While he often depends on the kindness of strangers—he has become a known quantity on the quiet, tree-lined street where he sleeps—he also often cries himself to sleep from the hunger pains. Virtually every single homeless person interviewed said that despite their blanket cocoons and layers of clothing, they feel the weather acutely, especially in the middle of the night when it is coldest.

6) Being a Homeless Woman is Terrifying

Women often team up with a man they are not interested in for protection from predators, housed or not, who prey on them. A 65-year-old homeless woman rides buses at night to keep from harm.


7) Homeless People Need Dogs for Protection and Love

While housed people find homeless people with dogs even more of a nuisance than those without a dog, homeless people say that not only have their dogs protected them from harm, but also from depression and even suicide.


8) Not All Homeless People Look “Homeless”

Many homeless people try very hard not to look homeless, seeking out showers, availing themselves of clothes’ giveaways, and for women, wearing makeup and styling their hair.


9) Most Homeless People Do Not Want to Be Homeless

Brooke became homeless after driving down to San Francisco from Humboldt County to sell ganja, only to have his car towed. With no money, he decided he would try to live without it for a while.

Everyone else said they wanted out of being outside and were either actively trying to had it on the top of their lists. The problem, for many, is that survival is exhausting.


10) Being Homeless is A Full-Time Job

It takes three to four hours a day to collect enough cans to make $30 or $40 in recycling, several people said. It takes two to four hours of time—waiting on line, traveling to and fro, to take a shower at one of the free shower providers. Getting lunch is another half a day’s preoccupation. Worrying where to stay for those without a spot can take several hours as well. Trying to navigate the city’s bureaucracy is onerous, several people said, especially when they have no means of transport, or have other problems—their possessions stolen or confiscated by the police or city Department of Public Works crews. It takes days of waiting and paperwork to reclaim their identities when their wallets or bags are stolen, and for almost everyone interviewed, that has happened multiple times.



Правительство США жестко нарушало мои права человека при проведении кампании террора, которая заставила меня покинуть свою родину и получить политическое убежище в СССР. См. книгу «Безмолвный террор — История политических гонений на семью в США» — «Silent Terror: One family’s history of political persecution in the United States» — http://arnoldlockshin.wordpress.com

Правительство США еще нарушает мои права, в течении более 12 лет отказывается от выплаты причитающейся мне пенсии по старости. Властители США воруют мою пенсию!! Всё это — ещё доказательство, что настоящий действующий закон в США — Закон джунглей.

ФСБ — Федеральная служба «безопасности» России — вслед за позорным, предавшим страну предшественником КГБ, выполняет приказы секретного, кровавого хозяина (boss) — американского ЦРУ (CIA). Среди таких «задач» — запретить меня выступать в СМИ и не пропускать отправленных мне комментариев. А это далеко не всё…



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