Monthly Archives: April 2013

6 Myths about homelessness dispelled

Eliminating Homelessness: The Blog of the Capital Area Coalition on Homelessness

1. Most homeless people are middle-aged men.

While last year’s Point in Time survey of Dauphin County’s homeless population did not take into account exact ages, females made up the majority of the population. In 2012, 58.9% (159) of Dauphin County’s homeless population were females, and 41.1% (111) were males. Also, there were 127 homeless children counted in the 2012 Point in Time census.

2. Homeless people need to “just get a job.”

According to our Point in Time survey last year, 19.6% (55) of the area’s homeless population were employed. There are many resources available to help these individuals find jobs, but finding a job with limited resources, such as lack of home or transportation, makes the process more difficult.

3. People are homeless by choice.

No one chooses to be homeless – many factors can make any individual suddenly homeless. During our 2012 census, it was discovered that…

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Out of Sight – Out of Mind

Welcome To Street Sheet

Homeless Community Swept away again to clear the way for a $300K fence – Your Tax Dollars at Work (AGAIN)

At the crack of dawn, trucks equipped with machinery and loaded with workers rolled beside the small enclave of homeless residents tucked underneath the 280 freeway, King St. entrance ramp. Driving the trucks were workers from Caltrans and the San Francisco Department of Public Works (DPW) with one goal in mind: expel the people living there, trash any refuse that may remain behind, and erect a sturdy $300,000 fence to prevent anyone else from gaining shelter there. The encampment had existed for years but on this morning the residents were forced to gather what they could and say goodbye to what they had called home for quite some time.

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The Homeless Outreach Team (HOT) had been notifying the residents of the impending raid and fence construction for nearly a month…

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Confessions of a Reblogger

As much as I would like to share my opinions about homeless topics and issues, I have to confess that I am not the best at dredging up raw emotions and putting them on the page. I add humor to take the edge off as a self-defense mechanism. (That’s way I wrote the book: Brain Sections) And since I know my lack in that area, but want to give the readers of this blog the fullest spectrum of the homeless experience, I reblog some really well written posts that catch me by the throat and that I know are 100% dead-on accurate.

On basic injustice

Great read. — T.J.

Hopeworks Community

Many years ago thousands of people lived in the most horrifying of conditions in state hospitals throughout this country.  Many, many people literally lost their lives to a system that justified oppression as being “for their own good.”  Our response to this horror was 30 years ago to start the process of de-institutionalization.  We were going to provide community based treatment and set people free to get a chance at the life they deserved.  But we forgot about the treatment, we set very few really free and gave a whole generation of people a life that we would have never chosen for ourselves.

We discarded a whole population of people.  We left them to live in the alleys and streets, to fill our jails, and to die with lives wasted and hopes never really given a chance.  Simply they cost too much.  And when they fell through the cracks, indeed…

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The three main Mental Illnesses in the Homeless population

I would add Borderline Personality Disorder to the list. It’s not really a mental illness though. — T.J.

Homelessness and Mental Illness

The three most common mental illnesses in the homeless population are depression, bipolar disorder, and schizophrenia Depression is a mood disorder that interferes with a person’s daily life where a person can feel sadness, anger, loss, or frustration for weeks or longer . Depression can be caused by big situations in life like losing a job, losing a family member, and other events that can cause severe emotional distress. Bipolar disorder is characterized repeated emotions of mania and depression. This can range from weeks to months and effects energy and thought process. This disorder is caused by a chemical imbalance in the brain. Schizophrenia is a mental disorder that makes it hard for a person to tell reality from imaginations, to have normal emotional response, or to act normally in society. People with Schizophrenia also have trouble sleeping, and feeling emotion. This disorder is caused by chemicals in the brain…

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John Joyce, RI’s Pioneering Homeless Advocate

This excerpt has my gold seal of approval:

Q: What got you into becoming a homeless advocate?
Being homeless myself. Some of the service providers that I went to, I felt like I was second-class. I felt like no one cared. I’ve seen atrocities in shelters, people being belittled, degraded and it basically pissed me off. What can I do to change that attitude? So I started going to meetings. I heard about state meetings and then the Coalition for the Homeless, I’d go there and I’d bring my backpack with my life on my back and I’d go to these meetings and it gave me a chance to vent. But what I was saying was what I was experiencing and then at the end of the meeting they would say, “O.K. Now, shoo, shoo, be a nice boy and go back to whatever dumpster you came from,” and that’s the attitude I got from people. But I didn’t let that deter me, either. Because I’d show up at the next meeting and I’m still going to the meetings. A lot of people out there, they think they don’t have a voice. I’m just a messenger sometimes. I’ll ask people, “What you just told me— are you willing to come to a meeting and say that?” and they’ll say, “Oh, no! I can’t do that because I’m afraid that I’ll get retaliated against.” So I just carry that message.


Interview by Patricia Raub

John Joyce (1962-2013) became an advocate for others after being homeless for a while. One of his accomplishments was to make Rhode Island the first state to enact a Homeless Bill of Rights. This interview took place last fall, when he was busily working while ill with cancer.

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Q: During the past session, the General Assembly passed a Homeless Bill of Rights into law. Could you explain what a “Homeless Bill of Rights” is, exactly?
It’s not special rights, it’s just equal rights. It was our feeling when we were going up there that legislators would think the bill was going to be special rights for a certain class.  But that wasn’t  the case. What we were hearing from people without homes in Rhode Island was some of the discriminatory tactics that people were using against them. The rights were always in place. The Homeless Bill…

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What I learned After One Year of Research on Homelessness

Check the Recent Posts section. Lots of good reading. — T.J.

The Homeless in Wake County, North Carolina: The Listening Project


In February 2012, I started down this road to understand homelessness.  I learned a lot of things:

Social Networks Matter a Whole Lot. I learned that most people end up homeless because their social networks have fallen apart due to a crisis or series of life events — or they never had solid family or friend structures to begin with.  A good example is foster kids who age out of the system.

Housing Goes to Those Who ‘Qualify’: I saw first hand how rental subsidies to the ‘cream of the crop’ because you need an income to pay rent, and most of the chronically homeless don’t have an income – or at least a steady income.  So, agencies have budgets they can’t touch, and homeless clients they can’t help.  The system is so convoluted.

A Homeless Client Navigating the Maze of the ‘System’  If you are homeless, there’s no one…

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“Two America’s Truer Now Than Ever”: Perishing On A Lonely Island Of Poverty In The Midst Of A Vast Ocean Of Material Prosperity

You may think you know about Martin Luther King, Jr., but there is much about the man and his message we have conveniently forgotten. He was a prophet, like Amos, Isaiah and Jeremiah of old, calling kings and plutocrats to account — speaking truth to power.

King was only 39 when he was murdered in Memphis 45 years ago, on April 4th, 1968. The 1963 March on Washington and the 1965 March from Selma to Montgomery were behind him. So was the successful passage of the Civil Rights Act and the Voting Rights Act. In the last year of his life, as he moved toward Memphis and his death, he announced what he called the Poor People’s Campaign, a “multi-racial army” that would come to Washington, build an encampment and demand from Congress an “Economic Bill of Rights” for all Americans — black, white, or brown. He had long known…

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True Kindness


Today I got to witness a true act of kindness. And I mean the real, unadulterated act of kindness that warms the heart. And I can only be proud to say that I know the man who had the heart to do it.

There are more homeless on our streets than most people are willing to say. Hell, I’m sure there are more homeless everywhere than anyone is willing to admit. And while I know not all homeless or disadvantaged were forced into it, there are definitely those who did not have a single choice in the matter.

Today, as a friend and I were walking around the city we passed a man begging for money. My friend, without even hesitating, moved to give the man some money despite having very little change on his person.

Then the homeless man said something that showed just how desperate he truly was…

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Homelessness Images

Medical science states that homelessness takes 20 years off a persons life. These pictures give you some idea that the statement is true. — T.J.

Online Documentary 2013

I thought I would put together a slideshow of images of homelessness. Pictures are like film, they truly capture the reality of the situation, more than any serious documentary game or stunning graphics can.

*Images are not my own, found and sourced from Google*

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