After working with what society calls homeless individuals for nine years, my eyes were opened to their culture.
|Homeless or Houseless|
I spent 9 years working with what society would call the "homeless".
In that time I was able to develop a relationship with many of the so called homeless in our area, as close as a releationship as they will allow. They also have a code of ethics and conduct, although to many of us we wouldn't recognize this, due to the non communication, most see them as beggers. Many are, but there is more to this picture than meets your naked eye.
When I asked them why they were homeless, it was quickly pointed out, that they weren't homeless, they were just houseless. There home was where every they wanted to lay their heads at that point in time. They could move around when they wanted, follow the seasons or choose to stay. They carried their belonging in a back pack, including their tents and sleeping bags. Most would prefer to earn their day's keep. They would do laundry, sweep, clean the showers and bathrooms to earn the use of the laundry facility, the showers and a hot meal.
Many chose to drop out of society, because they didn't feel the need to keep up with the Jones, they wanted a simpler life. The true hobo, not the begger, earns what he needs for the week, for food and necessities, works enough to keep them in the creature comforts they feel they need. In many ways they are like the mountain men of old. If allowed to wonder and take care of themselves in a solitary environment, they would be content to do so.
Some are forced out into the outer limits of society due to addictions, others are due to mental issues. Our society has shut down the facilities that were created to take care of the mental patients, opened their doors and turned them out on streets. They don't have a way to pay for their medications, so they go without, falling deeper and deeper into their own worlds. They become less functional, but they do look out for each other, in their own ways.
Most of the ones we see on the corners holding out signs with various pleas are con artists. They can rake in a lot of money doing this, and it's not usually used for food or shelter, it supports their addictions. Giving cash to them just encourages this. If you really want to help them, give them a hot lunch, a cup of coffee, a blanket etc. If they are really in need of a hot meal they will be thankful. If they are just looking for a free ride, they will still ask for money. If you know of a soup kitchen or shelter in your town, give them directions to it.
At most shelters, they are provided a clean change of clothes, use of the laundry and shower facility, a hot meal and a bed for the night. Some shelters will provide a weeks worth of help. The best support for the homeless is to donate your funds to a shelter or soup kitchen, in that manner you are helping many instead of just one individual, and it's tax deductable....
During the holidays, you can donate turkeys to provide a holiday meal, you can adopt a low income family that can't afford a meal or gifts, there are many ways of helping.
Consider giving a hand up instead of a hand out!!!