Monthly Archives: September 2014

Lessons Learned in a Homeless Shelter

Good read. Although I have personally come in contact with people who lived off the system, their children and grandchildren have paid the price of their elders deceit. As a child who grew up in the worst slum in my state, I know.

TheoCult Collective

Lessons Learned in a Homeless Shelter:
Middle Class Misunderstandings of Welfare, Poverty, and People

I grew up in the suburbs.  So suburban that I didn’t even know there was a difference between rural, urban, suburban.  I grew up in Orange County California (Lots of mullah).  Now I live in Lebanon, PA.  (How do you describe Lebanon, really?  It’s small urban city.  Surrounded by farmlands. Racially, it’s predominately White and Puerto Rican.  High unemployment rates and addiction (heroine and alcohol are the biggies in our town) are obvious – even just driving through the city.  Many here would be considered low income households that live on the margins.)

Before moving to Lebanon, I had never met anyone on food stamps.  And honestly I didn’t really think anything about “welfare,” per se.  But I got a lot of messages growing up about what that is…We don’t talk about that.  Some people…

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Toronto homeless feel discriminated against by healthcare workers

A recent conversation with a radio personality that wanted to start up mental asylums again… I asked him if he thought we could run them better today than in the past. If we can’t, it would be a mistake. Just as this article states, some healthcare workers discriminate. It is not illegal to be homeless or mentally ill. These people should not be treated worse than criminals. T.J.

Is Bribing People to Donate Food Wrong?

I read it, but I can’t believe it…

” … the Department of Housing and Urban Development does not recognize families as homeless unless they reside in a shelter.”

Who wrote that stupid rule? They tried to pull that one on me too. I filled out an application for housing and after FOUR YEARS my name came up and I was scheduled for a orientation class. But the letter told me that I would not be eligible for housing as a homeless person unless I was currently in a shelter. Here is what happened next:

1. I went to the class anyway. Met with a worker. Told her my situation. I had proof of being homeless… a fist full of receipts from renting at the Y (over a 2 year period) in the times when I had a job and could afford a place to stay.

2. I was refused a spot on the waiting list and then I asked for a hearing with the director.

3. After mulling it over they offered me a unit.  The director of the housing agency made it seem like she was doing me a special favor and told me not to tell anyone. Opps… cats out of the bag now.

It was like pulling teeth. The bottom line is my original application was in a way a contract, and that application had no mention about me being currently in a shelter to be eligible for housing. They had not mailed me any information updating that stipulation, therefore, the original contract (the application) was not changed. Plus I had all that evidence of renting at the Y. Sometimes, the people who are supposed to be helping you off the streets are the biggest barriers to getting off the streets.

If you get that stupid rule thrown at you, don’t roll over, fight back!

Why is there not a poverty matchmaker show?

I know of more than a few elderly people living in 3 to 6 bedroom houses all by themselves, and are lonely; families don’t want anyone to move in with them (either from inside or outside of the family) because they are waiting for the old person’s demise to sell the house. Talk about greedy.


My wife likes to watch the millionaire matchmaker show from time to time. This show has a strong-willed female matchmaker working with some strong-willed male millionaires to find them a significant other. More often than not, the clients hold high opinions of themselves and feel anyone should be lucky to have them. For many that is fine, but the show tends to have more than its fair share of arrogant men.

Yet, as I thought of this show, I asked my wife why is there not a show to make matches for people in need. In other words, why is there not a poverty matchmaker show? I am being facetious, as people like to watch people with money whether it is houses of the rich and famous or wives of some rich suburb. So, very few people would want to watch what too many Americans look like these days, people in need.

So, rather…

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Things that annoy me regularly

The Restless Millennial

If I had wasted $50k on a degree in something utterly fucking useless like “communications” or “marketing” I would be earning twice the salary I earn now.

LOL – salary. My new job pays by the hour. I have to fill out a time sheet like a child.

I don’t have a degree. I was made homeless when I was 16 and I was too busy trying to not die to worry about academia.

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Far from home?


Free e-book: Far From Home: Stories of the homeless and the search for the heart’s true home – download here: Far From Home cover

I was up in central London one day, a number of years ago now, when a girl came up and asked me to give her some money because she was hungry. She looked no more than 15, slightly built, grubby and very tired.

I asked her where she lived and she said, ‘Here.’

It shocked me so I started thinking about what I could do. I didn’t want to be part of a society that let its children grow up on the streets, but I was.

I phoned a couple of homeless organizations and they all said the same thing: too many homeless people, too few facilities. Volunteers for the soup runs were expected to stay out all night, which was beyond my capacity, and the professionals didn’t encourage…

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So, What is the Solution?

In my opinion, the solution to homelessness is not to get stuck on finding only one solution. Answers to the problem of homelessness will have to be diverse as the population of homeless is diverse. There is no one cause. There can be more then one solution, if we use our brains.

First, let’s get on with the simple solutions: Is your state like mine where the cost of living has skyrocketed in the last 40 years and left so many people struggling? Is the taxation system fair? In my state, the lowest income population get taxed at a very high rate compared to other states. Anyone doing anything about that? No. That’s got to change.

Second, people who start businesses should get the strong message from our country that DISCRIMINATION BASED ON RACE (or any other kind of discrimination against the equal opportunity employment act) IS NOT ALLOWED . Too many business owners in the city where I live hire only “their own kind” and don’t see this as discrimination. “We are more comfortable working with our own kind” is a bullshit cover for blatant racism. Follow the laws of this country, damn it, and don’t complain about the homeless man laying on the sidewalk of your business if they are another race and you never hire “their kind”.

Third… why people got to be so greedy? They want everyone to pay through the nose for food, rent, and services while the owners of these businesses that provide the goods and services live like kings. A damn shame. This is a big contributor to homelessness in my state. Law makers, get a clue. We in the general public need protection from these wolves. Pass some laws already!!

Forth, when you have evened out the playing field by doing the steps above, take each case of homelessness as an individual case and spend funds for drug counseling, shelters, mini housing, mental health services, etc. as needed. Guaranteed the bill will be less for the tax payer if things are done in this order.

Remember to Vote

As a homeless person, you are able to vote. Check your state info about this and research candidates… and don’t vote for anyone who abuses the homeless!

Sleep deprivation ‘unrecognized among the homeless’

Sleep deprivation can age you and undermine your health. After 4 years on the street, I looked 10 or more years older. I do miss the senior discounts I used to get since I am rested and don’t look as broken down. Haha

Murray's Review of Medical Journalism

Credit: Isabelle Esselin Credit: Isabelle Esselin

It may seem the least of their worries, but not being able to get a decent night’s sleep is “without a doubt … the biggest issue for homeless people.”

That’s according to Kevin Barbieux, who calls himself a “chronically homeless” man who blogs as The Homeless Guy.

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