Homelessness and homeless people | INFJ Forum

Homelessness and homeless people


On Holiday
Sep 30, 2009
Avalon Archipelago
I'm interested in different ideas people have about homelessness and homeless people.

Are many people who visit the forums experienced in working with homeless people?

There are so many homeless people in my city now. They are human beings enduring living conditions that are appropriate to rats and cockroaches. I recognise some of them as having been on the street for decades. I find it heartbreaking.
Statistically, they are mostly mentally handicap or have an official diagnoses of some mental disorder something. They also say that those without diagnoses would meet criteria if they did see a Dr. I wonder how much of that is caused by life experience. One can not be expected to be happy when faced with homelessness. Isolation and lack of human contact makes one depressed. I know from my experience with being agoraphobic. And the homeless when asked say that the hardest part is that no one will look you in the eye anymore. I have this crazy idea that we need to stop wasting $ stupidly, and apply it towards rehabilitation programs for both criminals and homeless individuals. Just like the fact that 80% of convicts will end up back in prison after release (because prison only teaches them to continue to be criminals caught in gangs,) I think that the homeless might be trapped in a cycle that they'll never escape from without proper care, rehab, skill training..
But what do I know? Maybe we should let Congress sit on it for 18 months, then take a week off because they can't agree, closing all the Nat parks. I live in the "good 'ol" USA btw Where $$$$$$$$.....
I agree with you both.
It is heartbreaking and a terrible situation…at least here in the US..I cannot speak for homelessness around the world.
There is a high percentage who do have a mental illness…and in case you haven’t noticed, access to mental health services in the US is severely lacking.
Not only are mental health services underfunded, but there is a taboo in the US against seeking help for one’s self. There is a lot of wasted money being thrown at programs like these, and a lot of them have some good successes, while many do not….why? Because you cannot partially fund a program and expect it to work like it is supposed to. It’s much easier to throw a little money to test it out and then withdrawal the rest after the numbers don’t add up. This has been the downfall of many mental health programs.
There are some really great ideas to fix some of the basic issues that are causing people to be homeless. Another aspect of why there are so many homeless people, is the amount of money that people earn at work - or, the lack of a living wage, both in the working person’s life and the lives of those who are retired on pension plans that were supposed to do things like earn a cost of living difference, but have been changed to save the company money making it the sole responsibility of those who are too elderly to work to come up with the difference. (which is just fucking wrong, but happens every day here in the US).
There is a group up in Portland that bought a huge empty lot to build a whole bunch of tiny 200 square foot houses on it…and charge a rent of somewhere around $300-400 a month…specifically for folks like these, who have a fixed income, are too elderly or disabled to work, and cannot come up with and average rent amount of around $1000 a month. Part of the money earned through the rent, will go toward funding more such houses for more people.

There are those who would say that there will always be homelessness…and for those people who think they are so down to earth and have it all figured out I have to say that it is that attitude of giving up before you try because you think it cannot be done…either because of your own pessimism or cynical nature.
It will not be easy…and perhaps it WILL never be accomplished…but I think it should be a little higher on our societal list of priorities.
Did you know that 70% of corporations in the US pay no taxes either through subsides or other tax breaks/loopholes? Isn’t that insane?
These are the tax dollars that we (the working and poor class) pay to fund roads, teachers, food-stamps, bridges, police, etc. etc. etc….
So basically they have told us, through their unwillingness to also fund our society, that they don’t give a flying fuck about people and society in general…this is 70%!
The only way to make sure that the programs that we people find worthwhile is to make sure that we do our best to set up a fair system. Fair taxes, fair laws, fair pay, fair benefits, fair voting.
We are all just a hop, skip and a jump away from being homeless ourselves…some more than others.
We need some social security (not the program) in the US….we need to know, that if we get laid off tomorrow…or that if we or someone we love is ill or in an accident…or any other sets of circumstances out there - that we have systems and programs available to us to keep us from becoming homeless ourselves.
We have to demand these rights. We need to support the unions, because collectively we can effect great change. We need a living minimum wage. We need universal healthcare including mental health services. We need the money taken out of politics - specifically “Citizen’s United”, go here to sign the petition to repeal it - http://www.democracyisforpeople.org
While the giant corporations have such a powerful position within our congress and government, we will never see our tax dollars spent on programs, such as funding mental health, because it isn’t a priority to them, regardless of what the majority of of actual taxpaying human beings wants.
This is why our social safety net programs are continuously gutted and cut and trimmed. The programs like SNAP (food stamps) and welfare, don’t benefit the rich…they benefit the poor…and so why should they give a flying fuck? They don’t.
And so we must eventually stand up and fight for what 'we the people’ actually want to fund and support with our taxes…because right now, those deciding where are taxes are spent and made by those groups who don’t pay them at all.
This is an injustice.
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Yes, we are all just a hop,skip and a jump away from homelessness. So true. And the problem you mention about the attitude towards it, good Lord. I doubt those people all just gave up on life and move under that bridge because they didn't want to try. How ridiculous. Worse are those who think the homeless who do have addictions deserve it. God forbid their own offspring ever aquire a drinking problem. Then what will they do?
For the record, it is on topic, I give them food and beverages. I don't do $ I taught my son by example to give food instead. And don't ever believe someone in the grocery store parking lot asking for gas money. Please. Gas? Really? Where is your car then? So be carefull.
I think it's sad that people don't see faces when they hear or think of homelessness. Every person on that street has a mother and a father, they had - and maybe still do - family that care about them...they are a person, and are often the victims.
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In Obamas world more and more Americans are finding themselves homeless through no fault of their own. There should be programs put in place helping those people who are able to work find jobs but...of course this is few and far between. As for those that find themselves homeless either because of mental issues or addiction, the answer unfortunately is not as simple. Such is the world we live in.
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Hayek used to say that the rich man and the poor man were equally free to sleep beneath the bridge.
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In Obamas world more and more Americans are finding themselves homeless through no fault of their own. There should be programs put in place helping those people who are able to work find jobs but...of course this is few and far between. As for those that find themselves homeless either because of mental issues or addiction, the answer unfortunately is not as simple. Such is the world we live in.

I find the number of ex-soldiers who are homeless to be so sad. To protect a country and then be considered a degenerate to the states- it's awful.
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My first post!

I've worked with the homeless community in volunteer situations. Both programs I worked for connected homeless folks with resources and helped them get stable housing and jobs. Most of the homeless in these programs are just like you and I and have suffered unfortunate circumstances. Homeless street beggars and drug addicts are the most visible, but make up only a small portion of the homeless population (not that these people don't deserve help, too). Fortunately where I live there are a lot of nonprofits aiding the homeless, but it's not at ALL enough. We need social safety net programs to be improved so people aren't so extremely fucked when they lose a job. Programs like SNAP are very effective & helpful (despite popular belief) and should be expanded, not cut.

It always frustrates me when I hear people complain about or overgeneralize the homeless. Homelessness is a problem, of course, but more often than not it's not the homeless people's problem. There's a serious lack of empathy in this country when it comes to the homeless because we still believe the myth that they're all lazy drug addicts who don't want to work. And people patronize them too - that's almost worse. Think they're lesser people and feel good about themselves when they give a beggar a dollar. Ha, I remember how on my first date at age 16, my date gave a homeless guy $5 and then blabbed on and on about how righteous and good he felt about himself, then proceeded to rattle off a list of hurtful myths about "hobos."
[MENTION=9809]La Sagna[/MENTION] - that city in Canada isn't the only place trying that method. I've heard of a couple cities in the U.S. trying something similar. I wish my city would do the same. What an idea! In my experience working with the homeless, there are so many SIMPLE things that could be done to eliminate homelessness, if only people cared enough to funnel in a little more funding for tried-and-true programs.
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It is heartbreaking, absolutely. My dogs are treated with more kindness and dignity than are most homeless people I see around. That says something.

I have never worked with homeless people, but I have known 3 personally, all biologically related. Two cases were schizophrenics. The third, an alcoholic. One individual who I will call B. (one of the schizophrenics) was militant about his desire to be homeless. He did not like living indoors and he had specific beliefs about materialism and greed that pertained to his desire to live outdoors and eat out of trashcans. There were multiple people willing to let him live with them. He just didn't want to. This in spite of the fact that he was assaulted by other homeless people and bullied by the police on multiple occasions. Previously, B. had been an art student at a well regarded university. He had almost graduated when he had the schizophrenic break. He was bright, social and deeply involved in the arts, but after the break he lost all interest in societal norms. His hygiene went to hell, his social skills declined drastically, and he seemed mentally slower. I am not sure, but I believe B. is still homeless, though he is very handy and is often invited to house-sit and stay at people's homes. His personality remains bizarre, but very gentle. He still says he prefers to be homeless. The second homeless person I know is B.'s aunt. I'll call her V. V was schizophrenic and alcoholic. She used alcohol to to self-medicate and was a very raucous drunk. When V. received appropriate social services to help her get on and stay on medications that helped her, she stopped drinking and availed herself of public housing. She is much happier now that she is not homeless and lives a quiet life with her boyfriend. The third person, whom I'll call M. is B's mother and V.'s sister. She worked for 30 years in social services and then became a falling down drunk. Except for her propensity to get married and divorced repeatedly (she has been married 5 times I think), there was nothing too unusual about her. Oh, but she was always manipulative and would do things like look for fake reasons to sue people for personal injury. When she became an alcoholic she used and abused many people's trust, lying and borrowing money. She did not like being homeless, though she admitted to finding sex and relationships with other homeless addicts to be "exciting." M. eventually got old enough to collect social security. She now drinks alone in a small apartment. I think most people who are homeless in the US have problems with mental illness and/or addiction. My evidence is obviously anecdotal.
The simple idea of not having a house is not always so bad. Sometimes those with lives that look the most perfect on the outside are those who have actually gotten shafted in returns from what they've put in to life. It is everything else about homelessness and the nature of the life circumstances of those that tend to be homeless that is usually the part that is bad. There is a lot of ignorance surrounding it, as well as around other more "'outer rim' of society" lifestyles and life experiences. Part of it is because people aren't always open minded, but mainly people just don't know. They haven't seen it, they haven't had to deal with it... it just isn't important to them, and they don't actively seek for more when they have enough to care about and deal with in their own lives--from every individual's own perspective, usually, they are already sharing more than enough of their time and resources with others. Life experiences that show people the value in continuing to give and share time and resources beyond what they initially feel comfortable with giving are few and far between.
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My own personal experience with homelessness is that a couple of friends in my life have been chronically homeless, living on people's couches, having an apartment then being unable to pay for it, and the reason is always mental illness.

One of the friends refuses to take medication and the other takes medication but often combines it with other drugs that tend to make him unstable. It's very difficult to be friends with people who do struggle with homelessness because naturally as you friend they will want to crash at your place but it can easily become enabling them.

One of the friends recently was court mandated to take medication and I was really happy about that. She's very angry, which is understandable, but it's evident that she is a danger to herself and her child when she is unmedicated.

My other friend really just needs to live in an assisted living facility or even be hospitalized permanently. He doesn't have the capacity to stop taking drugs to self medicate and though he wants to be stable he needs help. He needs somebody to help him make appointments and stay on schedule and basically function in the world. He wants to do it but is not capable of doing it on his own and realizes that but also can't seem to do anything to solve his predicament.

I'm sure in this economy lots of people are homeless for economic reasons, even I was, but the difference between that and homelessness caused by mental illness is that people can earn more money or find a roommate or even rent a room. For people with mental illness that's severe they can't hold down a job and some of them actively avoid trying to work and this will always result in being homeless unless they find somebody willing to take care of them.
"Being homeless is expensive"
I volunteered for several years at a homeless mission in a major US metropolitan city. Part of my motivation for volunteering was that I wanted to understand the causes of homelessness, to see whether the stereotypes really held up, and to learn which kinds of interventions would actually be the most helpful. But after two or three years of talking to homeless people every Sunday, I felt that I understood the issue even less than I did going in. There were some people who were mentally ill and simply had no place to go. Others were addicts. And others were people who had just been dealt two or three strokes of terribly bad luck at the same time.

In retrospect, the only definitive statement I can make is that homelessness, as an issue, is a failure on the part of all of society. It's not a problem that can be solved by just patching bugs in the housing market or fixing drug laws, but one that's going to require systematic and simultaneous changes to all of these things—and I just don't see the cultural will for that kind of transition on the horizon in the near future.

Since moving to Korea, I have always been struck by how few homeless people there are here. There are a few, in particular neighborhoods, but you basically have to know where to look. Korea has a stronger welfare state, and it is probably easier for destitute people to find emergency housing here if they need it. The family is also a very powerful institution on its own, and there is a strong social stigma against leaving your loved one on the street, so we can speculate that many people who would have become homeless in the US are instead living with begrudging family members in Korea instead—hardly a win.

So, I just—don't know. Maybe it's that kind of night for me? Society seems too rigid to make the kinds of changes that need to be made. The reason there continues to be a vast population of homeless people is, fundamentally, that we just don't care enough about them.
I have quite a bit of experience with homeless people and homelessness.

Am I going to talk about it extensively? Probably not.
I'm interested in different ideas people have about homelessness and homeless people.

Are many people who visit the forums experienced in working with homeless people?

There are so many homeless people in my city now. They are human beings enduring living conditions that are appropriate to rats and cockroaches. I recognise some of them as having been on the street for decades. I find it heartbreaking.
I've spent time among homeless men. With only few exceptions, I think homelessness in Australia is a result of a variety of disabilities; social, intellectual, emotional, physical, etc. as well as drug addiction, age related diseases, and personality disorders.

As much as it may sound like despairing of people, I don't think many of the disabilities found among the homeless can be "fixed", nor especially complex combinations of multiple disabilities.

The complex disabilities of many homeless leave them vulnerable to other members of the public, and to other homeless people. Moreover, occasionally, members of the public can be vulnerable to some low functioning homeless individuals.

Ultimately, I think people who cannot care for themselves should ideally become wards of carers or the state. Much like the elderly with age dementia, care may at times have to be against their expressed wishes. Of course, care should be as minimally restrictive, as is necessary to ensure the patient/client's safety and well-being. At times, preventative or punitive law enforcement aspects may be considerations as well.

Neglect and enabling approaches, while comforting or easy for the rest of us in the community are as inappropriate in respect of the homeless, as they would be for the elderly, or for children.