Several years ago, in my early twenties, I was literally within weeks of being homeless. My car was dead, I was unemployed and almost out of benefits, had been eating rice and ramen for almost 6 months, and I was being evicted from my apartment because they were raising the rent by over $100 a month (30% more). I was literally less than a month from losing everything I had. The "public assistance" stuff at that time was only available to women with kids, not able-bodied students.

I got lucky - I found a (temp) job I could get to by transit, and another apartment that I could (just barely) afford. I moved on the last weekend before the end of my notice. All during this time I had no medical insurance, of course, so even when I trashed my ankle a few months later, I just ace bandaged it, stayed home from work for two days (unpaid) and took lots of ibuprofen.

But I will never forget, staring into a dingy bathroom mirror on a soon to be overpriced slum apartment (complete with roaches), telling myself I would never let myself get that desperate again. I already had too many men catcalling me on the streets, following me home from the bus, etc - how the fuck would I survive without even a car to lock myself into? How would I cook, what could I eat or drink?

Ever since then, I've always had a few months of food "in case". I've always tried to keep a car that I could sleep in, if I had to. I always had "camping gear" available, ready to hand. I've always had a plan B, plan C, and plan D, and fret if I don't.

I always will.

I wasn't raised a few weeks away from homelessness. I was middle class, professional parents, etc.

But that was before Ronald Reagan was president, and the shredding of the safety net.

So every time someone shits on the homeless, I take it personally. That could have been me, but for a lucky call from a temp agency. The only difference, in a lot of cases, is that they never got that lucky call.

Two of my roommates were homeless before they moved in with me. Both veterans.

I don't go on marches and all of that. But my friends know that if they're a bit short on food, if I've got something they can use to eat, it's theirs for the asking. If someone needs a couple months crash, if I've got room, they can have a roof for a while, but not necessarily forever.

I will not vote for a Republican who is heir to anything resembling Reagan's "legacy".

No matter how much I make, no matter how high I rise, a part of me will always be a terrified twenty-something looking at living on the street with nothing.

mdehners: (darwin)

From: [personal profile] mdehners

I truly Understand. In 84 my life "floated to the top of the tank". My relationship blew up violently. I was literally driven out of our home by my partner and his new boyfriend. The cops got involved and it was ME that the cops arrested(Domestic Violence wasn't a "big deal" back then for Hets, for Homos? Puleeez. I'm attacked physically AND driven out of my house and I'M the one they arrest. A couple of friends let me "couch surf" for a couple of weeks because he "outed" me at work in the couple hrs I was in jail and lost my job. A month later I have a new job and get a call from my Director of Nursing telling me I'm being fired because it's been reported that I'm a Felon(him again.). Luckily, it wasn't a felony but a Misdomeanor and they legally couldn't fire me.
There are two kinds of Homeless folks I have sympathy for: The Misfortunate and the Mentally Ill. NONE for the "Lifestyle" folks and some for Addicts.The latter probably because I'd had most of my "White Liberal Guilt" beaten and robbed out of me mult times in DC by Homeless folks who wanted more than I had available to give....
dubhain: (Default)

From: [personal profile] dubhain

Homeless as a lifestyle. Now there's a thought I never dreamed I'd encounter.

Why would anyone...but perhaps they have a home to go back to, when / if they want a break, or need something, albeit on the down-low?

Because, having been there, lemee tell you: That's right about on par with shooting yourself in the foot, frequently, as a hobby.
mdehners: (GFY)

From: [personal profile] mdehners

Humans are WEIRD. Some will do stuff the general population thinks is nutz for reasons they think make sense. And these folks aren't "Mentally Ill". Even talk to any "Freegans"? Godz!!!!!!!?!?!?!
dubhain: (Default)

From: [personal profile] dubhain

No, but wow, the Wikipedia article on Freeganism needs to be flagged as biased as all hell. It's practically a recruiting advertisement for the lifestyle. (If folks want to live the Freegan life, that's their lookout, but the article needs to be written from an objective viewpoint, not an evangelical one.)

I'm noticing more Freegan and Freegan-like folks (as opposed to homeless folk who're just trying to get by) in NorCal than I did back around Detroit. Most likely because it's doubtless far more difficult to adopt homelessness and dumpster-diving as a lifestyle and philosophy when it's twenty below in the winter with a foot or three of snow on the ground.
mdehners: (Default)

From: [personal profile] mdehners

Quite true, though they seem to do fair in NY as well. Even back in the 70's I never Understood that "So In Solidarity" BS. I do to live as Lightly in Midgard as possible. To basically Punish yourself for being born in a place with Opportunities not Universal on the planet? Beyond me.....
ysabetwordsmith: Cartoon of me in Wordsmith persona (Default)

From: [personal profile] ysabetwordsmith


We have repeatedly supplied emergency housing and food to friends and family.
dubhain: (Default)

From: [personal profile] dubhain

Yes. This.

I've lived on the streets, back in the day. Later, if it weren't for the welfare safety net which no longer exists, I'd've lived on them again. I wasn't on the dole long, the three times I was on it, but it saved my ass, and allowed me to stay alive and reasonably safe, while I worked like hell to get another job.

Since then, I've put back far more money into the system than I ever took out of it.

I'm not wealthy, by any means. But I've made sure I have emergency crash space for friends, if they need it, and do what I can to help folks who're in straits similar or worse to the ones I once was in.

And I'm always terrified of having to live on the streets again.

Now that I'm about 2.5-3 hours away, we'll have to manage to meet up, again. Either here, in Sacto, once I've the new apartment sorted, or there, whenever I can get over your way, on a non-business trip, eh?

Be well, Birdie. I miss you, actually, and I think of you often.


ravan: by Ravan (Default)

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