I am writing a novel about a homeless person and the terrible persecution and legal and social prejudice they face in the UK today. If you have been homeless ever at all please share your experiences with me or anything which you feel I ought to know about it. Anything you have to say will be useful and important.
I would love to read your novel, but you need a lot of research indeed. Poverty and homelessness are so hidden sometimes under beatiful facades of rich people lives, you have to bend really low to see it. I've never experienced it myself (homelessness) but my heart goes for people on the street especially young people. It's should not be like that. Just by giving somebody money you cannot help, people have to learn how to take care of themselves. We do not do enough at school.
I do not want to self promote but I have written some hubs concerning beggars vagrants and homeless that you may or may not enjoy.
Read it, if you would like.
Yes very much so - the law may be different in the US but the way people are treated and the way they feel when they are homless is undoubtedly the same or similar.
I was lucky because I had a mini van. I became an expert at finding safe places to park whenever I needed to sleep. I slept a lot during the day because it was the safest and I could park almost anywhere. But it was challenging during the night. Much of the 1 1/2 years I was homeless, was winter. I had a down coat and sleeping bag that I would cacoon into which kept me warm and also looked like no one was in the van. I did odd jobs for gas money when I was not employed. I was employed for about half the time. I found places I could shower, like truck stops and was very frugal about how I ate so I wouldn't run out of money. I ate at church free meals a few times a week and even volunteered after a few weeks at one of them. Laundry was a challenge, I would often use sinks in rest areas and let the clothes dry on a rope in the back of my van. I wrote a lot during this time to pass the time and stay sane regarding this very unreal position I had found myself in.
People treated me like dirt most of the time. The salvation army helped me out for a few weeks during the real cold and got me a motel room. It was heaven and they gave me a few weeks worth of food and lots of new clothes. I needed to be presentable most the time because I was trying to gain employment. I went on welfare for a while so I could go to the doctors. I was very sick. I was diagnosed with PTSD and saw a PhD therapist for a few months. It was wonderful to finally find out what was wrong with me and to be able to receive medical attention for various problems.
It is very difficult to be treated like a second class citizens after being a succesful person most of my life. It gave me a unique perspective on attitudes and problems with social and governmental programs. The greatest thing I learned is to never judge why a person may be homeless, just give with no strings attatched and help them that day... the future is not something homeless like to talk about, and the past is something even worse. Most of us just give up that we can even change, or that people are really sincere enough to help us for real... and for a while... and for us and not their egos, or social promotion or whatever...
enough for now... got any questions?
...i work around folks who are or about to become or have been homeless...there are many, many stories...concurrent disorders is one factor (mental illness and addictions)...if you want to gather insight - you probably won't find many current homeless via the internet...there is a big barrier for folks to access the internet - where/how?...I'd drop into a few shelters and get to know folks - volunteer some time..the stories will come and/or spend time at places where meals are served..but you must spend time with folks before they really get into why they are where they are. As well, you need to figure out how to filter information beyond the 'white noise' (life is pretty chaotic for some and changes from hour to hour) in order to get to the issues....
Thankyou both. I do already have several homeless friends who I have known for years and who have all helped me out with my 'research' and am a carer so familiar with being poor and looked down on by society if not actually homeless. But yes, volunteering at a shelter sounds like a great idea to me. Thanks for the idea.
There is an idea. Become a homeless for a month, live on a street with no money, no place to live, night at shelter or on the street. It's a little scary, but the experience will be 100% genuine. You can survive for a month even without food. Scary idea, I know...
Never been homeless but have worked with homeless people.
One thing I've noticed over and over again is that most homeless people don't want to entertain options that would cause them to be confined in ANY way.
They prefer to be free from responsibilities, schedules, duties, obligations.
I always think they are people who have won their personal battles every day of their lives and lost the big war.
They win against their parent's rules and go their own way.
They win against their teacher's rules and go their own way.
They win against their boss's rules and do it their own way.
It's always a win. "I really told him!" "I told her where to go!"
They keep on winning every argument until they run out of people who are willing to have them around.
I think their way is pretty miserable. They do not have enough money to have their own way. Better stick to the rules until you are a millionaire - tnen you can have everything your way. Till then - follow the rules, sucker! Independence is a good thing but not in a dumpster.
You're assuming that every homeless person is homeless by choice. Not so.
I have a couple of friends, siblings, their parents, nice respectable middle class people who thought that their responsibility to their children ended when they reached sixteen and threw them out on the streets.
At least they didn't sexually abuse them before they threw them out.
I too have met homeless people who give the same sort of "winning" reasons.
Dig a bit deeper though and you often find that these reasons are often just an excuse and sometimes cover up a much darker picture.
i think they just gave up. it's hard to keep up with society demands. I know, I think sometimes, what if I... but I know that for me there is no choice, I have to struggle any way I can. I cannot sink, no way. Whatever I can, I will do as long as I can, it's my life, I cannot throw away my selfesteem and pride and everything. Even when I am sick, I would crawl to work and pretend that I am okay as long as I can.
One Hub that I have read might fit into what you are needing:
http://hubpages.com/hub/How-i-survived- … st-nothing
I have read at different times that approximately 70% of homeless people suffer from a mental illness, and they also have had a horrific experience on medications, working with Drs, and being thrown out of hospitals. They find the streets safer than these options.
The other 30% is often comprised of hard luck cases, but also young adults who have been ousted from their families, churches, etc., for alternate life-style decisions, drug addiction, incest and molestation, etc. It's truly heartbreaking to hear many of the stories.
For some, homelessness is a choice because of the devastation they have been through in society, the medical system, and more. For others, it wasn't a choice based on being ostracized and financial woes, etc.
None of it is good news. And I believe that we are going to see much, much more of it.
Unfortunately with young people bad experience breaks down their selfesteem and they give up thinking that everything is crap and no one needs them. They lose trust into system. That's what happened to my oldest son. if not for me - he would be homeless right now or even worse - in prison.
In my teens and into my thirty's four walls and a roof meant nothing to me. My guess would be I spent more time without one than with one. I don't know though that I could have ever been considered homeless. About half my preteen years and one teen year was spent learning how to survive in the open. To this day I prefer to spend my time without walls. I have always preferred to be away from people so the few times I was without a roof to go home to I would head for the nearest desert, mountain, or isolated place. These are really the places I consider home. It's much harder now as I have been in a wheelchair since my late thirty's.
In my twenties, I became homeless by choice. I wanted to see how long it would take an intelligent college student to go from homeless to stable again. I was even on the Dean's list.
I did not tell my family that I had lost my job or that I had been evicted, so they were not aware that I was homeless.
I figured it would take an intelligent person with no mental or substance abuse issues no longer than a month to become housed and self-sufficient again.
I was wrong. It took me six months to get out of the hell I put myself in...and that was because the people who are suppose to help the homeless are the main stumbling blocks standing in the way.
Every homeless person was treated like a 'BUM' or a drug addict or an alcoholic. No one seemed to be interested in hearing my individual problem.
Just out of luck, one day, I went with another homeless person to his interview at a mission. The lady there took it upon herself to ask if I needed help. She found me a job the next day.
This could have been accomplished in the first week I was homeless if someone had just listen to ME, instead painting me as the stereotype...making me have to suffer for six months, needlessly.
there is unfortunately a stigma attached to homelessness that crosses country boundaries. i know from growing up in california it was all to common to see homeless people in LA... you got kind of insensitive to them and their begging. part of it is very sad, and the other part makes some people angry since some homeless people really aren't homeless but instead use it as a way to make a living.
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