I am thinking of different topics to address, as opposed to poor, pitiful me, and since this is a topic I am currently a statistic of, why not?
Homelessness nationwide is an issue, but the West Coast has been particularly hard hit. An estimated 500,000, or 1/2 Million, individuals nationwide are in uninhabitable housing, the pleasantly cleansed word for delicate souls. Or is it non-racist? Politically correct? Respectful? Fuck No! I am in uninhabitable housing! I am homeless. And whatever non-offensive phrasing you, Mr. Government Amoeba Paperpusher/Dr. Sleepy Pants HUD Secretary, use it will be no different. Unless I am like too many, sleeping in a tent in a creek bed, wrapped up in a sleeping bag under a tree or wrapped in a cardboard box, or in a dumpster, I am still homeless in my car. A car is uninhabitable housing!
Your survey is wasted tax dollars as it is highly inaccurate, as usual. How do I know? I was asked to be involved in the Homeless Count this year and the parameters are a joke.
A few weeks before the “Night” they decide to do the count (a night? Really!?), a group of volunteers per a district get together to discuss “What to look for”. It was laughable, insulting and disgraceful. I will give you an idea what was suggested to look for:
- People with shopping carts and too many shopping bags
- Disheveled people, visibly unbathed, carrying odd things
- Mismatched or ill-fitting clothing
- Puddles next to parked cars, i.e. human waste (Loved that one. NOT!)
- Large amount of personal litter, next to a car
Let me say, the majority of the questions were answered by homeowners that fall into the category of “Not-in-My-Backyard”. Nimby’s. The Homeless know them too well. Sadly, many Homeless are also drug addicts, alcoholics, mentally ill, off-their-meds, DGAF, etc. Thieves have a home, or a hole, or a safe place to hide. Homeless don’t. Do some break into homes? Yes. But, the chronically homeless still have enough self respect to respect other people’s property, unless they are family. That’s a completely different dynamic that I won’t address, because I have no personal knowledge with a normal family. Dysfunctional, you betcha!
The majority of homeless people are very self-conscious about their appearance. Bathing regularly is a must. Keeping properly groomed is a must, especially men! There are those who are so physiologically gone, that grooming isn’t something they are aware of. And there are those that are so far gone in their addiction, or allusion, that it doesn’t matter. They are the ones that in the “community” *we* stay away from.
I will give you an example. I’ll call him Ned. I have no personal association with a Ned, other than Ned Flanders, so I can’t offend anyone.
Ned is a couple of years younger than me. Ned is homeless, has a grown daughter and living parents. Ned smokes pot and does meth and God knows what all. He is also a part-time hoarder. He hoards stuff until it disappears, or is stolen, or he believes it is stolen, or he gives it away. He desperately wants a woman in his life. I know this first hand, and had to deal with some shit he said about Will. Will has known him longer, better than 2 years? I think. Ned has had medical issues, had a heart attack, severe water retention issues, edema. He’s kinda fucked up y’all. Now, he had built a fire at his campsite with treated pallet boards and it impacted his eyes. He told me yesterday that he needs an optical surgery and they may have to take his eyes. He could see me, and this has been an issue for a couple of months. I don’t doubt Ned has a severe issue, but being homeless and needing medical care is a huge one! And he will routinely make a mountain out of molehill. Many know his parents and have met them or his sister, so the homeless grapevine is healthy and thriving and keep the fables at bay. I do care for Ned, but my partial brain can’t handle his little boy crying wolf routine. Others, including Will and I, have real health issues that will eventually kill us, not self-inflicted bull-pucky exaggerations. Being Stoned or High is self-inflicted and I just don’t care. Haven’t since I was 17 and some things just don’t change. You’re an addict and want to live that life? Have at! Just don’t think I want a special invitation to join you.
Just so you are aware, most homeless don’t defecate next to their vehicle. Some might, if they can’t find a bush and I know a few whacks that defecate in the public square intentionally, but they have problems that were dealt with at those “Hospitals” back in the day. The practice of dogs not shitting where they sleep is also human trait. We use public restrooms at Safeway, Starbucks, Panama Bay, Ross, TJ Maxx, Carl’s Jr., McDonald’s. We like to wipe our bottoms and wash our hands, thank you! And we do not leave it a mess. If you think we loose all sense of human decency, you are wrong. My God, Will is so fastidious he drives me nuts! He has to shave regularly and complains when he sees himself as unkempt! Clean clothes without stains are a big deal. And a pleasant color palette. He is Gay after all. Some behaviors will not change. That’s why he makes me chuckle. I love him to death, even when he is Gayer than Christmas Bloomies.
I guess, I could say it simply, perception and reality don’t talk, meet, or have anything to do with each other. And a few small-minded people can dream up whatever they wish, but it won’t make it so.