Homeless people (1 Viewer)

stunpals

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How does one become homeless? I'm not pursuing that avenue just curious how you think the average homeless person ends up on the street with a shopping cart and cardboard box?

Do you look at homeless people or quickly walk by and avoid eye contact?

Do you give money (even change) to homeless people?

I've heard many homeless people have mental problems. True?

I just can't imagine knowing a homeless person. Don't these people know at least one person in the world to lend a hand? Are there more male homeless people than females or does it just seem that way?
 

MSUSousaphone

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Yes, an extremely large portion of the homeless have mental problems....its unclear of whether the mental problems hinder them from making good decisions, leading to the homelessness or if its the homeless conditions that lead to the mental problems, though.
 

hammernnails

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Yes, an extremely large portion of the homeless have mental problems....its unclear of whether the mental problems hinder them from making good decisions, leading to the homelessness or if its the homeless conditions that lead to the mental problems, though.
That is true that most homeless people have mental problems and the remaining have drug problems and their family/friends have given up on them... I work in NYC and see homeless people all the time begging on subways and street corners.. I dont give because thats helping them live on the street.... there are tons of places for these people to go to be safe.. but if they can get money and survive on the street ...then why go to a shelter....
 

FWtex

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Some just hit some bad luck and have problems getting back on track. But most I think have always been living the streets. It was their choice and its all they can do now.

My idea for the street beggers is for the shelters to sell aid certificates. People who run into the homeless on the streets can donate money to the shelters and in return receive certificates you can hand out to the homeless instead of giving them money they will use to buy liquor and drugs. The certificate may be for food, shelter, clothes. Everything they can get for free anyway but having something of monetary value may change their attitude toward it.


If the homeless want to trade those certificates among themselves for cash or whatever its up to them. At least it makes them think more instead of just being street beggers.
 

primadox

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When I was recruiting for Prudential up in NJ, a recruiter friend of mine from the Passaic office and I would go to lunch a lot during recruiting fairs, etc. He would either box up his leftover food or buy a separate meal, and would bring it to the same homeless guy he'd pass every day on his way home. He said he'd do this a couple times a week, every week. That was his way of helping this one guy. My MIL's church puts together these paper bags with bottled water, a granola bar, some vienna sausage or similar item, some applesauce, plastic utensils, etc. They also included the addresses and phone numbers of the local assistance ministries as well as the address/phone # for their church. IMO, in addition to giving to the shelters/assistance ministries directly, this is a good way to make sure that the homeless person is getting something he or she truly might need.

Yes, it's hard to believe that when someone gets that down and out, there's NO one, no family and friends, who can help them out. I have to think that they don't want the help, or are too embarrassed to ask for help from those they know and would rather be homeless and/or ask strangers for help. It's sad, any way you look at it.
 

MSUSousaphone

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Good post, Prima

...and I woud add that donating stuff to Goodwill and such really helps out, too. They still have to buy that stuff, but its cheap enough for homeless people to afford it. A good coat may go to waste in your closet, but a homeless person can pay $5 a stay warm in it all winter.
 

primadox

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Good post, Prima

...and I woud add that donating stuff to Goodwill and such really helps out, too. They still have to buy that stuff, but its cheap enough for homeless people to afford it. A good coat may go to waste in your closet, but a homeless person can pay $5 a stay warm in it all winter.

:plus-un2: Goodwill and Salvation Army do so many good things for the homeless.

This isn't really specific towards homeless people, but there's a group called Dress for Success, and they take donations of professional women's clothing for people who are trying to get a job but can't afford the proper work/interview attire. Ladies, if you have business attire in your closets that you don't wear anymore, Dress for Success is the organization to go to. http://www.dressforsuccess.org/ IMO for specific items like this, it's better than at Goodwill because it goes directly to women who need clothing for that specific need. I donate a lot of children's clothing, shoes, etc., to Goodwill, but when I was in NJ and wasn't working in a corporate office anymore, I donated many of my business suits to DFS.
 

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98% of the problem is mental illness and alcoholism/drug addiciton. I work in an ER an let me tell you, I meet these people up close and personal everyday. I had a homless guy tell me he got drunk the previous night by standing outside of a reception hall after a big party. he and a friend would wait for the sterno cans (you know the things that burn to keep food warm at receptions) to be thrown away at the end of the night. He said he'd take the gel from the sterno, place it in a hankercheif and squeeze the alcohol from it into a glass and drink it.
 

Sabine

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My sister is somewhat of an expert in this field and works with homelessness and other social problems.

Contrary to popular belief, most of the homeless at any given time are not the chronically homeless. Those are just the ones we see on a regular basis and forms our impression of the overall problem.

The biggest contributor to homelessness is the high cost of housing. Over the past 10 years, the average home price has about doubled while wages have not. The fastest growing portion of the homeless population are families and make up almost half of the homeless. Counting them is difficult because many jump from home to home of friends and relatives when it's available or live in cars.

About a 1/4 of the homeless have mental health issues that impair their ability to earn a living and work towards a stable existence. A lot of problems contributing to homelessness overlap. For example, about 2-3% of our overall population has some impairing mental illness, but 25% of the prison population does. Ex-cons have a difficult time reestablishing stability once released because it's difficult to find employment. There is also the overlapping of self-medicators in the mentally ill population. However, substance abuse contributes to homelessness even without the mental illness factor.

Chronic health conditions (and the lack of health services) contribute to the inability to earn a sustainable wage. About 2 years ago, a young man (27ish) from Lake Charles was sleeping in the doorway of our office building. He had lost one leg to cancer and wore a prosthetic. Even with the prosthetic he had significant mobility problems, and his education level further limited him to low paying jobs. In a city where the average home price is about $300,000 with an annual property tax bill over $6,000, that's a problem.

Together, the mentally ill, substance abusers and health impaired make up the largest part of our chronically homeless population.

Abuse is often a factor for females and mothers who are homeless. Richard can probably offer some good insight into that segment, since he's worked with abuse shelters.

Another contributing problem is the failures or shortcomings of the foster care system. Most children have loving parents to help them transition over time (often several years) into self-sustainability. That is not the case for the vast majority of those in foster care. Many 17 and 18 year olds are just not able to make that giant leap on their own when they "age out" of the system, and they end up on the street.

Another problem is that once someone falls that far, it's difficult to pull themselves up. How do they wash their clothes to get and maintain a job? How do they feed themselves before the checks start coming in? How do they get to and from work without a vehicle, or up to date tags, insurance, gas money, etc.? How do they hold down a job, when their medical needs/treatment cut into the usual workday? Who takes care of their children while they work and try to save enough for the required security deposit on an apartment?

There are so many factors that contribute to homelessness, and most of our attempts to address poverty and its fallout are done through patchwork-type programs. There are too few organizations and programs that approach the problem comprehensively.
 
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hammernnails

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<object width="425" height="355"><param name="movie" value="http://www.youtube.com/v/F3ctJ0Ok0yY&rel=1"></param><param name="wmode" value="transparent"></param><embed src="http://www.youtube.com/v/F3ctJ0Ok0yY&rel=1" type="application/x-shockwave-flash" wmode="transparent" width="425" height="355"></embed></object>

throw this dude a few bucks...
 

Poppy

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My sister is somewhat of an expert in this field and works with homelessness and other social problems.

Contrary to popular belief, most of the homeless at any given time are not the chronically homeless. Those are just the ones we see on a regular basis and forms our impression of the overall problem.

The biggest contributor to homelessness is the high cost of housing. Over the past 10 years, the average home price has about doubled while wages have not. The fastest growing portion of the homeless population are families and make up almost half of the homeless. Counting them is difficult because many jump from home to home of friends and relatives when it's available or live in cars.

About a 1/4 of the homeless have mental health issues that impair their ability to earn a living and work towards a stable existence. A lot of problems contributing to homelessness overlap. For example, about 2-3% of our overall population has some impairing mental illness, but 25% of the prison population does. Ex-cons have a difficult time reestablishing stability once released because it's difficult to find employment. There is also the overlapping of self-medicators in the mentally ill population. However, substance abuse contributes to homelessness even without the mental illness factor.

Chronic health conditions (and the lack of health services) contribute to the inability to earn a sustainable wage. About 2 years ago, a young man (27ish) from Lake Charles was sleeping in the doorway of our office building. He had lost one leg to cancer and wore a prosthetic. Even with the prosthetic he had significant mobility problems, and his education level further limited him to low paying jobs. In a city where the average home price is about $300,000 with an annual property tax bill over $6,000, that's a problem.

Together, the mentally ill, substance abusers and health impaired make up the largest part of our chronically homeless population.

Abuse is often a factor for females and mothers who are homeless. Richard can probably offer some good insight into that segment, since he's worked with abuse shelters.

Another contributing problem is the failures or shortcomings of the foster care system. Most children have loving parents to help them transition over time (often several years) into self-sustainability. That is not the case for the vast majority of those in foster care. Many 17 and 18 year olds are just not able to make that giant leap on their own when they "age out" of the system, and they end up on the street.

Another problem is that once someone falls that far, it's difficult to pull themselves up. How do they wash their clothes to get and maintain a job? How do they feed themselves before the checks start coming in? How do they get to and from work without a vehicle, or up to date tags, insurance, gas money, etc.? How do they hold down a job, when their medical needs/treatment cut into the usual workday? Who takes care of their children while they work and try to save enough for the required security deposit on an apartment?

There are so many factors that contribute to homelessness, and most of our attempts to address poverty and its fallout are done through patchwork-type programs. There are too few organizations and programs that approach the problem comprehensively.

There is no way to address Poverty. Until Poverty stricken people start raising their children with a different mindset other that dependency on government programs, forget it. The viscious cycle will continue. I trully think that an able minded homeless person if he or she truly wanted out, they could get out. A small amount of help and will is all they would need.
 

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>>98% of the problem is mental illness and alcoholism/drug addiciton.

Apparently a substantial fraction of our homeless are veterans as well. :shrug:

TPS
 

SaintMeaux

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98% of the problem is mental illness and alcoholism/drug addiciton. I work in an ER an let me tell you, I meet these people up close and personal everyday.

It is amazing the strain that the homeless in my city puts on emergency services. I would estimate that 80-85% of all of the calls my fellow Firefighters/Medics go on are "Man down" calls in the downtown area. Both vehicles have to respond, and more likely than not, the victim wakes up out of a stupor and menaders on their way until later that night.

A couple things that increase the frequency of these calls is the fact that we are very close to an Indian Reservation with a staggering alcoholism/addiction rate, and there are a few towns regionally that bus their homeless into Billings due to a larger amount of services available here.

Of course this may eventually (and probably already has) cost someone their life due to EMS not arriving to them as quickly because of being on another call to wake up a drunk.

What causes the homeless issue? That is a large can of worms that will be better addressed by others on this forum. I can only give you my story of how it affects me on a daily basis.
 

Sabine

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>>98% of the problem is mental illness and alcoholism/drug addiciton.

Apparently a substantial fraction of our homeless are veterans as well. :shrug:

TPS

I don't think veterans are as overrepresented in the homeless population as Americans think. They do get more of the national media's attention and there are programs available to them that are not available to other segments of the homeless population, so that adds to our perception that veterans are substantially more likely to be homeless than they actually are.
 
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peytonknows

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I really don't like seeing homeless people, or people struggling in general. I've tried to help a few by giving them odd jobs at our business where they aren't in the public eye but can earn a few bucks to try and get on their feet. Most don't make it all the way through and don't come back after the first paycheck. Another thing that is done at out local Salvation Army is they give them a breathalyzer before they can enter the building. I think that's a great idea, if they fail they are kicked out.

I do have one success story though. This guy D***** is just a regular looking guy and he was in bad shape when I first met him. He was hired in 06 and quickly became one of my best employees. He'd work as many hours as possible, he didn't need days off and never complained and outworked many people that had been there for years. When he first came to me he only had a few trash bags of clothes. I let him live in a room for 6 months and make a small payment so he could get his money right.

As of today D has a very nice apartment, is paying bills and has a brand new 2007 Ford F-150.:shrug: He works about 75-80 hours a week so I guess he deserves it.



I think one of the factors that led to a large population of homelessness was the crack boom of the 80's and it went on through the 90's. Meth is the new crack so in a few years we will see more people on the streets although they may look a bit different.
 

primadox

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I really don't like seeing homeless people, or people struggling in general. I've tried to help a few by giving them odd jobs at our business where they aren't in the public eye but can earn a few bucks to try and get on their feet. Most don't make it all the way through and don't come back after the first paycheck. Another thing that is done at out local Salvation Army is they give them a breathalyzer before they can enter the building. I think that's a great idea, if they fail they are kicked out.

I do have one success story though. This guy D***** is just a regular looking guy and he was in bad shape when I first met him. He was hired in 06 and quickly became one of my best employees. He'd work as many hours as possible, he didn't need days off and never complained and outworked many people that had been there for years. When he first came to me he only had a few trash bags of clothes. I let him live in a room for 6 months and make a small payment so he could get his money right.

As of today D has a very nice apartment, is paying bills and has a brand new 2007 Ford F-150.:shrug: He works about 75-80 hours a week so I guess he deserves it.



I think one of the factors that led to a large population of homelessness was the crack boom of the 80's and it went on through the 90's. Meth is the new crack so in a few years we will see more people on the streets although they may look a bit different.

peytonknows, :worthy: :worthy: :worthy: to you for changing this man's life. Sometimes it takes just one lifeline thrown out to someone like that which gives them the opportunity to start getting it together. Too bad that drugs/addictions get in the way of so many, and prevent them from taking similar lifelines that come their way. :(
 

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