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It's Cool to be Homeless

Updated on September 12, 2011

I have to pay for my meal!!

I'm sitting in a restaurant with my family, being kindly waited on by our waitress when I notice a young couple sitting on the sidewalk corner across from the restaurant. If going for the bohemian look, they were actually dressed trendier than me by far. They're sitting there, happy, with a cardboard sign that reads "Need $1 for Weed". I think, either they're funny or honest, or both (most likely).

Again, I focus back on my comfortable situation, being waited on, and eating a meal I didn't have to cook. It got me thinking about needs versus wants. Obviously weed isn't (well shouldn't) be a need for the majority of healthy people who don't need it for medical reasons. This couple claimed they "need" money for weed. Of course I realize the humor, but isn't that true of so many people out there who need expensive cars, bigger houses, name-brand everything?

I look out the window again because there seems to be a lot of action over by the homeless couple. One person gives them a full order of food from the restaurant, another gives them a couple jugs of Gatorade, some more people give them cigarettes, and then a guy comes over and talks to them for a minute, takes a small pouch from the homeless man, then leaves. He comes back and returns the pouch to him- obviously the homeless couple got their weed.

All this happens within a five minute or less time span. Hell, it took me 30 minutes to get waited on and receive my food- they're doing better than me. I begin to wonder what I would look like in dreads, beaded jewelery, and a cardboard sign perched on my lap.

At this point, honestly, I'm feeling a little cheated because I've got to pay the waitress and the restaurant for waiting on me and giving me food while this couple outside do absolutely nothing. In fact, I had to tell the waitress what I wanted in order to get it while this couple only asked for weed, in which they got that AND about five more bonus items.

The poor, poor : ((

We are bombarded with images of poor people that pull at our heartstrings yet I have met people, similar to the couple perched on the sidewalk outside the restaurant, that have chosen that lifestyle. Actually in my very liberal, artsy, "free-thinking", organic nearby city of Portland, Oregon, homeless people are everywhere. They are a clan...A MOVEMENT! There is no shame in it- it is simply regarded as "freedom"!

The changing landscape of homeless people has risen to the naked eye- we no longer have to use a metaphorical microscope to search for those people under bridges or cracked out in a shelter or abandoned home. Some are not even homeless, but only down and out like the rest of America. Some regard it as a long and fun camping trip. Many of these people work in shifts on the sidewalk corners, many even look like you and me.

I may not be able to say it's totally cool to be homeless, but it seems to be a growing fad and choice among youth in this area. At the very least, it can be considered acceptable.

Spoiled and poor

My mom is a natural genius for racking up interesting conversations with ANYBODY. The curse that goes along with a mom like that is I get to hear about these conversations from her. She likes to go to a local McDonald's every morning for her usual coffee and quality newspaper reading time- with her gift for gab I seriously doubt she's ever read the newspaper.

She has told me countless times about when she talks to the local homeless who are in there for the $1 menu. She states, the truly homeless people are humble and honestly trying to make it from one day to another- they live this life and don't see an end to their hopeless situation. Many have an incredible story of how they journeyed from one part of our country to the other, following love that failed or family that rejected them.

Truly heartbreaking- I've been there with my mom to listen to some of these stories. One thought that came to mind was how immigrants from other countries are seldom the people who are sitting on the street corners yet they journey all the way from another country and fare better than those traveling across mere states for a better life. It's another example of how we aren't taking care of our own in this country and the American dream is not for Americans. Eventually, and possibly already, we've lost self-respect and pride for our country and our people. Americans will soon be forgotten.

In contrast, there are what I would call spoiled poor- mostly young and still carrying the burden of entitlement that their parents would not provide for them anymore, and now society should. They really believe that going to the streets will give them a better life- at least no one is telling them what to do, right?

Some are wanna-be hippies with a rebellious streak trying to make a grand statement. They do not want the conventional life of working for something, and this represents many youth (homeless or not) of today. It's questionable whether they've experienced a day of work in their life. Some have no goals and like it that way, some want to be "discovered" and become a star. Perhaps they got what they wanted from their parents or they didn't, but either way, they feel entitled, and either way it seems somebody is supporting them. Many were supported by their parents, without a horrible upbringing at all. They come to the street corner in brand-name clothes and a smug smile seeing how much they can get for nothing.

The sad thing is these younger, spoiled homeless fare much better than the real homeless. They put out a sign and get the good life handed to them. I believe people would rather give to them simply because they look better. The couple in my example above were blatant about their marijuana use and still people gave to them, money that would likely be used for drugs. The old crusty homeless man sitting opposite on a street corner from this couple, couldn't get a dime.


If you think about it, there is much allure for young folks to be homeless...nobody telling you what to do, random strangers supporting your habits, your wants, your needs. Your body can withstand the rougher times. The travel, I hear is pretty good too, work on a tan while sitting on a curb.

With all the desirable aspects of homelessness, there are huge ramifications. Many are taken advantage of in brutal ways. I've realized this is why some of the younger, perhaps smarter ones, are banding together and at the very least girls are teaming up with their boyfriends on this venture. They've really thought this through as you can see...

I've seen the young ones new to this lifestyle with sheer joy on their faces, thinking this might really work out for them. I've also seen the tired and weary young ones who have lost the zest for this lifestyle and I can see in their eyes, how this did not turn out the way they thought, and now they are perhaps too deep to see another way. Many without education, job experience...stuck. Realizing, in the great words of Janice Joplin, "Freedom is just another word for nothing left to lose."

Homelessness in the USA is a political, medical, and criminal problem

I want to be serious here about the issue of homelessness in America. It has long been the American way to assist people in other countries and I wonder why we turn our heads the other way on those in our own country. Politicians never seem to follow through with the issue of our homeless- with so many tragedies and natural disasters occurring everywhere else in the world, who has time to notice what is right under our noses? Politically speaking, politicians have done more damage

Majority of the homeless need drug rehabilitation, job placement, medication and even insitutionalized psychological help. They overcrowd our prison systems, there isn't enough psychological resources for them, and with younger homeless people choosing this lifestyle, not out of need, this will only be a growing problem.


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    • izettl profile image

      Lizett 4 years ago from The Great Northwest

      MsLizzy~ Yes! They get more attention from helping other countries- not sure where that ideal came from. So many celebrities go over seas to donate their time and money. Seems so silly! But much more glamorous than they went to Michigan to help starving youth or helped a school in Tennessee. Just doesn't roll off the toungue.

    • DzyMsLizzy profile image

      Liz Elias 4 years ago from Oakley, CA

      " It has long been the American way to assist people in other countries and I wonder why we turn our heads the other way on those in our own country. "

      I couldn't have said it better myself! I get so ANGRY with all the help and donations of food to other countries, while there is such minimal help for our own indigent and disadvantaged, and to get that help, you have to jump through all kinds of bureaucratic hoops and enough paperwork to choke a goat!

      I was raised with the adage, "Charity begins at home."

      It further irks and outrages me when celebrities, such as Oprah, to name just one, who MADE ALL THEIR MONEY HERE, choose to go to Africa or some other country to help improve the education system....what about the poor school districts RIGHT HERE? Shouldn't you help those in the very country that allowed you to make all those riches??!! Teachers should not be having to buy supplies out of their own paychecks! (No, that's not a homelessness issue, but it is related.)

      Voted up, and interesting

    • izettl profile image

      Lizett 5 years ago from The Great Northwest

      Yes agreed Neil. Great point about the rich using the system too- so true. I don't think our country will ever have a system in which the truly deserving actually get the help in which it is intended for.

    • Neil Sperling profile image

      Neil Sperling 5 years ago from Port Dover Ontario Canada

      :-) The ones who are riding the system are not the homeless.... but rather those that exploit the system for the own business or personal gain. Many millionaires pay next to nothing on taxes always looking for ways to milk the system. The homeless contribute only to their little community - and that they do as they are very quick to offer what they can to those they are with on the street - so they pay no taxes, but then receive little from the system either.

    • izettl profile image

      Lizett 5 years ago from The Great Northwest

      msorenson~ I can't speak for all cities or all homeless but I know in Portland, OR it's a trend.

      Neil~ The way I think of choice is not because of their lack of opportunities or getting addicted, but actually making a choice and running away from responsibilities or conventional way of life (make a living, go to school), but many of these kids are from affluent families and they just don't want to follow any rules, even society's rules. Modern day hippie movement perhaps?

      I love what you've quoted from your true.

      Interesting opinion...but they are riding the system tax free- the actual retired people paid taxes.

    • Neil Sperling profile image

      Neil Sperling 5 years ago from Port Dover Ontario Canada

      izzeti - I LOVE the way you explored this topic from a couple of vantage points. Homeless people at times are there due to choice - others are there due to a lack of understanding on how to live any other way... some simply have so low social skills they can not lift themselves up. I'm convinced the latter is the largest majority.

      To me the answer lies in something I said in a hub some time back - "We (mankind) need to stop making such a huge deal about manufacturing "things" and we have to start making a big deal about building character. Build a new man from the inside out. No longer running from who we are inside."

      As for understanding those that "choose the life style" .... that is easy to understand. The majority of us toil for years to build a nest egg that will support them in retirement...... these people understand that... and they already live a retired lifestyle - but accept the limitations of being broke. It really is nothing more than that! they retired early by choice, and accept their limitations. Power to them in my opinion.

      Good hub - thanks!

    • msorensson profile image

      msorensson 5 years ago

      A few choose to be homeless..yes..but most of them do not..

      I enjoyed the honesty of your presentation..

      Thank you.

    • izettl profile image

      Lizett 5 years ago from The Great Northwest

      THanks Nicole- glad you could stop by to read. Yes, it seems to be trendy where I live. Very sad... nobody knows whose really in need.

    • Nicole S profile image

      Nicole S Hanson 5 years ago from Minnesota

      Interesting article here. I once saw a documentary where they secretly followed a girl who pretended to be homeless but actually had all she needed. Sad stuff. It's a shame some people choose to pose as needy and ruin the trust of people who could be helping those who are actually in need.

    • izettl profile image

      Lizett 5 years ago from The Great Northwest

      anaceleste~ I was only homeless with my mom for 1 week. My point with this articel is that there are groups of young people in the city I live in (portland, Oregon) that CHOOSE this lifestyle and it is disturbing to me. My title of this article is sarcasm. It is definitely not cool to be homeless and in my article I wonder why there are people choosing it and making it seem like a desirable lifestyle. I understand where you are coming from and have lived without food for certain times or lots of rice that our neighbor would give us. We took in a homeless child when I was in high school. THis is not a desirable lifestyle. THanks for the comment.

    • ananceleste profile image

      Anan Celeste 5 years ago from California

      I happen to come across your article and to be honest, it brought tears to my eyes. I thank God that you have never had to go trough this yourself. I did with my children. I am a hard ( profecional)working woman and still had to line up in a soup kitchen with my 3 children in order to eat an expired sandwich. And many times we went hungry. You know what is like to search a garbage can for food? Or wait until someone finishes their meal to eat the leftovers? I saw children sharing a slice of cold pizza and savor it slowly. Many things that are in this article are true but others are just plain devastating to those that really have no choice but to walk that path.

    • profile image

      ... 5 years ago

      and to think, I have to work for a living. Or, perhaps...

    • izettl profile image

      Lizett 5 years ago from The Great Northwest

      Josak~ I can be a bit sarcastic at times and I was in this hub but I got serious in at least the last couple of paragraphs- it is a serious issue and I wanted to bring attention to the fact that some people are choosing this lifestyle- I don't know exactly how you became homeless at one time, but I would hope it wasn't out of choice.

      The sad truth here in Portland is it's almost bragging rights to be homeless- the points I bring up about it being a "vacation", not having to work for anyone or obey parents and get a lot of stuff handed to you...that is what I hear from the homeless youth in this city. It is crazy an I know we're on the same page about not wanting that life for anyone. The initial glamour that these kids are experiencing will go away and it will get harder. I don't turn my heads to the homeless but I do give out way less because they work scams in this area- some are not actually homeless, etc. It's too bad because there are those that really need help, like you did, and those are the ones being ignored. I think choosing that lifestyle is a real problem here and I thank you for sharing your story- I should have put more of the realities in this hub, but I am really upset about those that don't need to be homeless but choose it because so many actually need the help.

      No need to apologize I totally know where you were coming from on this topic. I haven't been there except for one week living in a car with my mom and that was scary enough.

    • Josak profile image

      Josak 5 years ago from variable

      If thats your point then I agree with you and youre correct no one should choose to be homeless it can be dangerous, nor is living off handouts, if you dont have to, the right thing to do. I guess I misuderstood the article and interpreted it as someone who was trivialising being homeless, my apologies.

    • izettl profile image

      Lizett 5 years ago from The Great Northwest

      Josak~ I am glad you commented here because that's my point, the youth in this area (Portlan, OR) are kidding themselves and it's one big joke (and free ride) for them. I'm sure it is different in various areas of the country. I know there is a big downside to being homeless and I don't think some of the youth around here are taking it seriously and it can turn bad for them in a real hurry.

    • Josak profile image

      Josak 5 years ago from variable

      You live in Portland being homless in portland is a joke, i grew up as a street kid from when I was eight i begged to eat and often I got kicked or spat on for begging it is far and away the most degradin experience of my life, I slept cold every night and I slept fitfully because there is nowhere on the street where you can sleep and be safe from the creeps who hang around looking for kids (and if thou think this isnt common you havnt been there) the number of times I was asked if i turned tricks as child would blow your mind I was also often beaten by different groups or by shopowners who didnt want me around because they thought i might eb stealing, I have since got myself off the street as an adult but it was far from easy. Those who think life for the average homeless person is easy are either ignorant or are trying to alleviate the guilt they feel for not helping those who need their help.

    • izettl profile image

      Lizett 6 years ago from The Great Northwest

      moneycop~ for some the lifestyle is OK and it suits their personality, but the life gets tough and later in life it only gets tougher. I've had friends who started out on the high of being "free", then somehow their lives took bad turns the longer they lived from place to place or on the streets.

    • moneycop profile image

      moneycop 6 years ago from JABALPUR

      with being cool its also a freedom of all luggage..really i enjoy this . i have a home of my parents, but personally i dont have..some times it pains really but those are the days of my real the homeless feeling is really soothing

    • izettl profile image

      Lizett 6 years ago from The Great Northwest

      poetvix~ thank you for your comment.

    • poetvix profile image

      poetvix 6 years ago from Gone from Texas but still in the south. Surrounded by God's country.

      I really appreciate how you discuss each segment of the homeless. I fear your assessment of many youth as purposefully selecting this lifestyle is spot on. It's scary. Thank you for a most interesting, thought provoking hub.

    • izettl profile image

      Lizett 6 years ago from The Great Northwest

      Carlon~ thanks what a great compliment!

    • Carlon Michelle profile image

      Carlon Michelle 6 years ago from USA

      Well thought out and written article. You presented your points admirably. I’d have you on my debate team any day. Smile!

    • izettl profile image

      Lizett 6 years ago from The Great Northwest

      Young Poolman~ I'm an animal lover and I used to feel sorry for the dogs, but I do realize that by nature they are scavengers and roamers so that lifestyle suits them. I think that's a great point because some people are like that themselves, some people are natural roamers and the homelessness suits them too. INteresting stuff to ponder Mike- thanks.

    • izettl profile image

      Lizett 6 years ago from The Great Northwest

      Husky~ yes, it's true I believe we have a mentality as a country to figure out how we can help those in other countries when we are drowning here from negligence. Thanks for stopping by.

    • izettl profile image

      Lizett 6 years ago from The Great Northwest

      stayingalivemoma~ I've been close to homelessness myself and it makes me that much more determined to stay afloat. Thanks for stopping by.

      Tricajean~ what a great point you made about immigrants. With no safety net, you have to give it all you got and with many of them not wanting to return to their old life and country.

      Dallas~ you are so right baout shades of grey on this issue. I am most concerned about those that choose this lifestyle, especially when they are young and things could be different for them, and those that literally can't help themsleves because of illness or addictions. Everybody has their own view on this and it should be one of discernment, but it's beyond each of us as an individual to help, it's something of enough magnituse that needs to be addressed as a country.

    • izettl profile image

      Lizett 6 years ago from The Great Northwest

      Loraine~ You are right about your points you've made. The young can't possibly see the future of where homelessness is taking them. THe forecast of jobs may look bleak but the homelessness is not the answer.

      Homeless in California might be OK- great weather there almost year round. With all our worries today, having no cares seems ideal, but it's a rough world. The younger ones I see are smart and stick together. We rely on family sometimes when we're down and out- I know I've had to a couple of times, but some of these people don't have family left or are estranged and that's all it takes to be homeless, then once they are homeless some turn to worse things that keep them down, like drugs, selling sex ,etc.

      You know I'd vote the same way as you for sure- thanks for stopping by. Great comment!

    • izettl profile image

      Lizett 6 years ago from The Great Northwest

      AlienWednesday~ I see your points- and yes I was hoping to get across the various types of homeless through my hub. My concern arises for hte ones who are young and have chances of making a better life by not choosing homelessness because it goes with an artsy image or they're tired of people telling them what to do. Those are all the wrong reasons and yes that may sound judgemental, but we all know that's not right. I wish there was some way to help those.

      VENZKHVAM~ I will check out your hubs too. Thanks for stopping by here and it is interesting to see their point of view- we want to help, some want the help and others don't.

    • profile image

      Loraine 6 years ago


      I must congratulate you on this article. When people are homeless, it is actually a great tragedy – especially if they did not anticipate the possibility of becoming homeless. Some people actually fantasize about being in that predicament. Of course they don’t see it as a predicament but rather as an adventure. A former colleague once asked me – after someone had actually called on us asking for help – “how do people get in that sort of difficulty”? My answer to her was this: “it is easier to get to that point than most people realize. You actually just have to make a couple of mistakes in your life, get into bad debt (even easier than most people realize) and the rest of this miserable venture will just fall into place. I guess some homeless people are there by their own choice and not because of circumstances that got them there. I often thought in the past it could be nice to be homeless, have not a care in the world, do not owe the taxman anything (he is not going to know my whereabouts) etc. But, when winter comes, I think differently. In South Africa we are perhaps luckier than others with a more moderate climate than is the case in the US and the northern sphere in general. But it is still very cold in winter.

      One of the things I simply cannot understand is this: How come the governments don’t look after these people. Some of them did not ask to be there – they were merely victims of their circumstances and let’s face it, some circumstances are justified. Some of these people landed on the street because of just that. Instead of supporting these people many governments prefer to assist other countries rather than looking after their own. What a shame. Admitted, people in other countries are also in desperate need of help, but why not FIRST look after your own, than squander money on another cause. This may sound very callous and is not meant to, but some countries in need of help, got themselves there in the first place.

      If I were to vote for helping other countries versus helping our own, now you know what my vote is going to be.

    • izettl profile image

      Lizett 6 years ago from The Great Northwest

      cagsil~ I totally agree

      Harvey~ I've seen this myself. I even had friends when I was younger who panhandled just to see how much they could make and then go home to their big house with extra money in their pocket. The whole situation is very discouraging.

      Cagsil~ yes, yes, and yes! I totally agree with your comment. I don't think I even said it better myself. Politicians and corporations- huge aspect of this all. I never hear about homeless agendas from politicians- it always seems to be concentrated's all a damn shame

    • izettl profile image

      Lizett 6 years ago from The Great Northwest

      Lisa W~ you make excellent varities of poor and pride, etc. In today's economy most people don't want to think about how close it could come to being them. Many youth are hopeless about their future because of what's going on in their parents lives with financial trouble and jobs. I think you are very right about the new breed of young poor. thank you for your comment and insight.

    • izettl profile image

      Lizett 6 years ago from The Great Northwest

      raguett~ thank you for stopping by. I can't believe those that choose this lifestyle either. I had a friend do it a few years after high school and he was thrilled by the money he made, but I have no idea what has happened to him 15 years later.

      Breakfastpop~ I have done the same almost- I gave a bag of groceries to a homeless woman who said she needed money to feed her kids. I gave her the food and she asked if I had money. There is such a diverse group of homeless people in my area and whose to say who is deserving of what, but they all need help in some way- even those that choose that lifestyle.

    • izettl profile image

      Lizett 6 years ago from The Great Northwest

      Victor~ You have a great perspective and there really is no shame in it becaue it can happen to anyone. Some of the young ones i see taking this lifestyle are so right about them not learning, but just being rewarded for their choice. Thank you for the votes and compliment.

    • izettl profile image

      Lizett 6 years ago from The Great Northwest

      Thanks Jim for stopping by my loyal #1 fan- yes, hopefully we'll talk soon again.

      Femmeflashpoint~ thanks for the comment. I am glad I was able to get across the diversity of homelessness out there and I too have mized feelings on it.

      marwanaswar~ it's sad to see people choosing this lifestyle because there are many truly homeless people that need help and it's just an increasing problem.

    • profile image

      Old Poolman 6 years ago

      I read once where the happiest dogs in this world belong to homeless people. They spend 24/7 with their beloved master, and they are on the move all the time. I'm not sure what this has to do with your hub, but just thought I would throw that out there.

      This country has always had drifters who seem to stay on the move all the time. Years ago there were hobo's who were somewhat honorable people. They would offer to do some yard work in exchange for a good meal. Down by the freight yards was a hobo camp, where they would stay until they caught the next freight out of town. This was when I was quite young, and I even dreamed of being a hobo someday. Riding the rails and seeing the country. But instead I grew up to be a taxpayer with a mortgage, house payments, utility bills, car payments, and all the other perks of life. Some days, I wish I had followed my dream and become a hobo.

    • profile image

      Husky1970 6 years ago

      Izzeti, so many of your comments and thoughts are too true. The one that really hit me was "Americans will soon be forgotten." Scary. We need some real leadership in this country and to reverse that thought. Great hub.

    • dallas93444 profile image

      Dallas W Thompson 6 years ago from Bakersfield, CA

      As with any stereotyping, there are infinite shades of grey. An example, I met a coupe who would go to the Charles de Gaulle Airport in France once a month in their worst "street clothes" they would tell American Tourist their wallent and purse had been stolen and they did not have enough money to get home to America. Within hours they would have enough money for the entire month to live on...

      Homelessness is a state of mind. There are abuses. They are the mentally sick who are not equipped to relate, or participate in the "real world."

      Perhaps our intent is what is important when we greet an homeless person. What they do, or not do does negate my wanting to help...

    • triciajean profile image

      Patricia Lapidus 6 years ago from Bantam, CT

      Thoughtful hub, izzetl. One thing I've noticed is that immigrants often come with an experience of poverty behind them. They already know there is no safety net except their own effort.

    • stayingalivemoma profile image

      Valerie Washington 6 years ago from Tempe, Arizona

      following you for sure! I have been homeless before and I can tell you, it is not fun. No kidding, I have literally slept in my car. Great eye opener for a lot of people. Great writing!

    • VENZKHVAM profile image

      VENZKHVAM 6 years ago from Milk way galaxy, trying to find a more adventurous place in another galaxy with my great followers

      Homeless bring a feeling of insecurity and sympathy in our minds.

      But your HUB has made me think.

      those who are homeless except for having food he really doesn't have any tension of mortgages, credit card payments, Halloween costumes, gift for birthday parties, maintenance charges and what not.

      I THINK LIKE TOM HANKS IN CAST AWAY MOVIE where he was marooned after a plane crash he was finding happiness with whatever available football friend and the talking with him.

      Very nice innovative hub in today world.

      Voted interesting .

      Looking forward to hear from you in my three hubs and also

      I am also following you.

    • profile image

      AlienWednesday 6 years ago

      Interesting hub. I have done a homeless count in my city and yes some homeless just need help. Some choose drugs or drinking. Some choose because if they live in the belly of society they will go mad. I noticed that one man who chose homelessness because he could not handle as he put it "the machine" that is society. He did not want hand outs. He wanted to make it on his own even if it was picking up cans off the side of the street. I try not to judge the homeless to much, because I don't know where they have been.

    • Cagsil profile image

      Cagsil 6 years ago from USA or America

      An interesting hub for sure and I marked it as such. Many people are homeless for many different reasons. It is also understood that politicians continue to turn a blind eye to the problems in America and still continue to funnel money into other countries, which seems to be insane or make no sense. I've seen some interviews of homeless people and some choose to be homeless, because the political system is so corrupted and warped against the citizens. Some people are homeless due to drug addictions which are beyond their control and these people should be given the help they need to overcome the problem. Some people are homeless because of mental disorders and these people also should be helped. To make it simple- there's too much distortion and misinformation running rampant in America, and 90% of it is coming from politicians and corporations. Those who see it for what it is, are the ones who choose to be homeless. The more people that become homeless, will eventually become a detriment to America's ability to remain a stable nation. It's a down right shame more people are not informed. Thank you for sharing. :)

    • Harvey Stelman profile image

      Harvey Stelman 6 years ago from Illinois

      IZ, Most of these people are full of it, news cameras have follow them to their nice home. I learned this from my dad, in the late 60'.

      He was in downtown Manhattan, in a suit ang going into a builing. A guy that looked like a bum asked him for a dime, for a cup of coffee. Dad gave him the dime, and watched as he placed it into a parking meter. The car it was for, a brand new Cadillac. We never had a car. H

    • Lisa HW profile image

      Lisa HW 6 years ago from Massachusetts

      There always been, and always will be, "lifestyle-choice" poor people of one variety or another. They may be the artists who prefer "the image", or they may be the people who have "inherited" a welfare-minded lifestyle because they don't know any better and/or have been raised to think there's no other possibilities for them. In the US, there are a lot of otherwise middle-class people who become poor through not fault of their own and who don't qualify for some assistance (such as some career-related/small-business-related programs) because they are American and don't have the "disadvantage" of minority status or of having been in a physically abuse situation (or something similar). Not to many people will vote for a program that helps a 30-year-old divorced father who's been kicked out of his home and can't find a job immediately.

      With an increasing "new breed" of poor, some of those will try to use a sense-of-humor in their attempt to preserve dignity. If they don't fit in with the "derelict variety" of poor they ARE inclined to find people more like them out there. (They already know they're often looked down on by people who don't understand their situation, so they can find support for others in similar situations.)

      Sometimes, one thing about pride can be trying to come across as if one hasn't been beaten down by others, or by life, and trying to come across as if one has at least some control over his own life/situation. The "otherwise/previously middle-class" poor can appear and act very different from the "chronic derelict" poor.

      In the case of either "type" of poor, there always has been, and always will be (maybe) something in human nature that makes people lean in the direction of lack of compassion, sympathy, and/or understanding. I don't think it's usually a wish/need to feel superior to someone poor - just that need to believe that some of us are able to make ourselves completely immune to such a fate and/or people or circumstances that would/could bring such poverty.

      There is, and always will be, something in human nature that can make people very reluctant to want to believe that being "down and out". Starving-and-committed-artist types and kids who've fought their parents because their parents don't want them using drugs aside, I think the "new breed" of homeless people are very likely to use "principle" and "preference" as a way to maintain what they have left of the dignity they once they fight to maintain.

    • breakfastpop profile image

      breakfastpop 6 years ago

      This hub reminded me of a guy who used to stand at the bottom of the steps leading to the subway in New York with a sign that asked for money so he could buy a condo in Florida! People gave him money and smiled. I remember being in a restaurant eating an outrageous sandwich and watching a guy outside who looked homeless and hungry. I was with my family. We packed up the rest of our sandwiches and gave them to him. Honestly, I felt he was disappointed....

    • raguett profile image

      raguett 6 years ago

      I really enjoied reading your hub, homelessness has it's ups and downs, those who choose to live this way is wrong, those who are forced to live this way just need a little help, weather a buck from your pocket or some friendly conversation...thanks for this great read.

    • victor.hatley profile image

      victor.hatley 6 years ago from Oklahoma City, Ok. 73118

      At 48 I am a little ashamed to say that I have been on both sides of this fence...but NEVER out of want, or laziness. This kind of thing should serve to teach a person, not reward them. In each instance I had these issues, I was helped by someone that is still in my life...well, the ones still alive, and I still thank and love every one of them. Hopefully, this Hub will go far. It has with me, and I shared, liked, voted, all the best.

    • marwan asmar profile image

      Marwan Asmar 6 years ago from Amman, Jordan

      I agree with what you say. There are many as you mean that jump on the homeless bandwagon, but it no denying that the issue of homelessness is a big thing and should be dealt with seriously

    • profile image

      femmeflashpoint 6 years ago

      I just ran across this hub in the new releases, and, in short, great job.

      It's a subject that I have mixed feelings about, mixed depending on the situation.

      I loved the scope of your presentation here, being that it was all inclusive.

    • TheManWithNoPants profile image

      TheManWithNoPants 6 years ago from Tucson, Az.

      Good one sis. I've got some pretty heavy feelings about the homeless thing. I won't get into it here. My feelings on this have changed since it has hit close to home. I'll tell you the next time we talk. Voted this up, useful, and awesome!