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    Homelessness

    Vicky, that older lady I met at the bank, and I have been hanging out a lot lately. She used to work with homeless people and she's been giving me advice.

    She keeps telling me I'm too judgemental. I told her about the subway situation and that's what she said. I told her that I changed my opinion about Led Zeppelin when I found out about what happened back in the day and she said it again. Has me thinking. I told her I'm totally switching gears in life, that I don't think social work is for me. She said it's a good decision. I realized that I was very confused. My vision for homelessness is like how they do it in Finland. Completely eradicate it. But we don't do that here. The homeless people I talk to, it's not like they particularly like being homeless but they obviously couldn't hack it at "normal" life.

    It really hurt when Vicky said I was judgemental. I like to think I'm one of the least judgemental people I know. That's why I like hanging out with street people. They don't judge you. Not outwardly anyways. And you can be honest with them. And they're mostly honest too. But the drugs and alcohol can definitely alter their perception of the "truth". So yeah. Basically what I wanted to be was homeless adjacent as a job. The people who work with homeless people, they're messed up too. And I think it would be really heartbreaking to watch people cycle through the system and not progress. I remember being so frustrated with the social worker I got assigned from children's aid. My mom was really good at pretending to be normal so they decided that I was a liar and everything was fine. I remember begging this one dude to take me out of my house. Why couldn't he just do it? Why can't he do this or that? "The law," he would always reply. Sigh. I'm hoping one day I'll be rich and successful and sit on a committee or something and then people will listen to me because I have money. Working from the ground up sounds horrifying now that I've mulled it all over. What a freaking year this has been.

    #2
    i think you're like me perhaps, you're a big picture thinker... you can see a reality that's so much better than the current one but all the tiny steps that need to be taken to get there, that detail, it's just frustrating to you because you never actually create the vision you can see. other people find it hard to imagine a completely different way of doing things, but they think in the same direction and can fixate on a detail.. because they do get to create their vision.. of creating something immediate, in the right direction. both ways of thinking are important. like my way of creating it is to write it. i'd guess a lot of "big picture thinkers" turn to art. creating clothes is art. there's always scope in art to change the world by changing people's perceptions.

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      #3
      Originally posted by Poeticdevices View Post
      Vicky, that older lady I met at the bank, and I have been hanging out a lot lately. She used to work with homeless people and she's been giving me advice.

      She keeps telling me I'm too judgemental. I told her about the subway situation and that's what she said. I told her that I changed my opinion about Led Zeppelin when I found out about what happened back in the day and she said it again. Has me thinking. I told her I'm totally switching gears in life, that I don't think social work is for me. She said it's a good decision. I realized that I was very confused. My vision for homelessness is like how they do it in Finland. Completely eradicate it. But we don't do that here. The homeless people I talk to, it's not like they particularly like being homeless but they obviously couldn't hack it at "normal" life.

      It really hurt when Vicky said I was judgemental. I like to think I'm one of the least judgemental people I know. That's why I like hanging out with street people. They don't judge you. Not outwardly anyways. And you can be honest with them. And they're mostly honest too. But the drugs and alcohol can definitely alter their perception of the "truth". So yeah. Basically what I wanted to be was homeless adjacent as a job. The people who work with homeless people, they're messed up too. And I think it would be really heartbreaking to watch people cycle through the system and not progress. I remember being so frustrated with the social worker I got assigned from children's aid. My mom was really good at pretending to be normal so they decided that I was a liar and everything was fine. I remember begging this one dude to take me out of my house. Why couldn't he just do it? Why can't he do this or that? "The law," he would always reply. Sigh. I'm hoping one day I'll be rich and successful and sit on a committee or something and then people will listen to me because I have money. Working from the ground up sounds horrifying now that I've mulled it all over. What a freaking year this has been.
      A few years ago I went on a couple dates with a girl that used to be a social worker. She seemed to me like she went into it idealistically, then hit that brick wall of reality. Sounds like to me you would wind up dealing with the bureaucracy more than any actual homeless people. I can't remember any details of the incident that finally did it for her, but on older guy she was trying to help committed suicide. I think she said he had Crohn's disease and couldn't work and somehow slipped between the cracks of the social safety net. Anyway, she was devastated and quit soon thereafter.

      Wish I had something positive to say, but homelessness in America is a big clusterfuck of entangled problems with no easy solution.

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        #4
        Wow J Ruth that was amazingly and succinctly put, thank you. I find people don't tend to try to find a different way of doing things. A lot of people seem to say things like "I do this because I've always done it" or "it's what everyone else does". It's kind of terrifying.

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          #5
          Pretty much. That sounds awful. I'm pretty sure that's exactly what would happen to me. Vicky is just a little off enough that I don't think it bothered her that much

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            #6
            Poeticdevices Are you judging Vicky??

            JK :P

            Comment


              #7
              Originally posted by tumbling.dice View Post

              Wish I had something positive to say, but homelessness in America is a big clusterfuck of entangled problems with no easy solution.
              We lived next door to an off-the-books "solution" for a while. It was a 4BR house that had been divided up as a rooming house. Naturally we're zoned as single-family, so it was completely illegal. But we're out in the sticks at the end of a dead end street, so it wasn't noticed at first.

              I thought they were dealing dope actually. Cars in and out. Several on the lawn and in the back yard. However, the guy who was on the lease ran a towing business. Since others on the street conduct business, it seemed natural. For almost a year it was a place where lots of people went in and out. All of it was basically quiet and unassuming.

              Then the cops came. Because one of the dozen or so homeless living there was a woman who had been assaulted. It turns out the renter was a gypsy (generic, I don't know what kind he specifically was) who had been stealing cars. But he ran the house like a kingdom. He even had cots in the shed for people who acted up in the house. In his own weird way he was trying to redeem his auto theft habit by reforming the homeless. And he did a fairly good job of it. The only thing that was stolen was one of my ladders. And it was returned 6 weeks later?!?!?

              We have a lot of homeless camps in the woods of west Georgia. Most of them are near truck stops and freeway ramps. There's one behind a shopping center a few miles from here. I see familiar faces with cardboard signs at selected intersections (the ones with convenience or liquor stores). Some of them are really depressing. Some of them have pink and green hair. Most have backpacks.

              But this pales in comparison to the ones who work the ramps in Atlanta. Especially the ones who brave the winter. Atlanta defunded the large homeless shelter downtown and there is no plan for a new one. It was actually a great place, they even had a really big garden on the roof. But, the homeless flocked to it from all over the country and ended up in front of the hospital panhandling.

              The best act I ever saw was in Atlanta. This guy was walking toward me in an obvious rush and was saying something like "oh man, I got to get enough to pay my parking fines or they're going to yank my license". I gave him a buck (I always have loose $1 bills for downtown) and then watched him for a while as he hit up others. Since he was wearing decent clothes it all seemed normal and he was basically heading in the direction of the courthouse. It was the perfect plan since he was only asking people facing him, so they'd be heading the other way as he progressed. But he was also moving, not just sitting there with a "John 3:16" cardboard sign.

              Back when I was inclined to pick up hitchhikers I only stopped for the ones who were walking. Never the ones sitting on their asses. And yes, I realized that people sit after walking so many miles. Still, I'd rather have to deal with an exhausted freak if things go awry.


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                #8
                right! they don't realise we can rewrite the rules whenever we need to

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                  #9
                  My brother did social work for years and eventually had to move on. He worked with foster kids. Some of them had been through pretty horrific events. He was telling me the other day about how one of the kids had been sexually abused and then later burned down his family's home, which is when he ended up being placed in foster care. Like fuck, how do you reach a kid like that

                  he was really good at social work but burned out on it within a few years and changed careers.


                  I wonder if it would be harder to work with foster kids or homeless people. With foster kids you have a chance of reaching them and being a positive influence on them. With homeless people...people who are temporarily homeless because of circumstances generally get back on their feet within a couple of years but the long term homeless are usually homeless for a reason, because of mental illness and drug use and they just have a hard time functioning in society. It would be hard trying to help people who can't really be helped in any truly consequential way


                  How did this topic end up in this thread haha
                  Last edited by Meliai; 08-07-2020, 12:38 PM.

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                    #10
                    Originally posted by Meliai View Post


                    How did this topic end up in this thread haha
                    Ha I've had that thought a few times on here. Those silly forums who don't like off topic posting don't know what they're missing!

                    As for what you actually said. Yeah. I couldn't do it. I can only think as far as how to change society so that these situations don't happen. And even that task is monumental and requires revolutionary action. Cheesy as it sounds, the most important thing anyone can do is just act out of love for other people, all day every day. Like you said you don't mind giving money to homeless or care what they spend it on. If everyone thought like that. I don't know where we'd be but I feel in my heart it would be better.

                    Changing perceptions and thoughts is as important as more tangible changes.




                    ​​​

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                      #11
                      I'm all for spending money on behalf of the homeless, but I would be wary of giving them money directly. They will likely use it to continue the behavior that got them homeless to begin with.

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                        #12
                        But... sometimes 'the road to hell is paved with good intentions'

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                          #13
                          Originally posted by tumbling.dice View Post
                          I'm all for spending money on behalf of the homeless, but I would be wary of giving them money directly. They will likely use it to continue the behavior that got them homeless to begin with.
                          i agree with this to an extent. but on the other hand, being homeless has to be pretty awful, and even if you do everything right the odds are entirely stacked against you ever getting out of that situation. so if doing a little heroin is what's going to make life bearable for a few minutes, it's hard to argue too strongly against it.

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                            #14
                            I thought this discussion deserved its own topic, so I created one for it.

                            Continue.

                            Comment


                              #15
                              Originally posted by Undies View Post

                              i agree with this to an extent. but on the other hand, being homeless has to be pretty awful, and even if you do everything right the odds are entirely stacked against you ever getting out of that situation. so if doing a little heroin is what's going to make life bearable for a few minutes, it's hard to argue too strongly against it.
                              I was never homeless, nor have I ever tried heroin, so I can't say from experience whether that's a good argument. I am, however, an alcoholic. If I were to find myself in a homeless situation I would hope that someone would give me an opportunity that would lead to recovery, rather than money for a cheap bottle of alcohol.

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