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Understanding the Homeless, Did you know that throughout history there have been more homeless than folks with homes.

Updated on September 14, 2013

Minstrels, these guys played old McDonald and a "spoon full of sugar" for my boy.

2 bucks was a fair price. Priceless for my son.
2 bucks was a fair price. Priceless for my son. | Source

Feudal. The concept of the rich lord owning the property and letting you live and work on it was around a lot longer than our modern notions have been.

In modern socialist countries the land was just transferred from the royalty to the government.

I say all the above to get you, the reader into the mindset necessary to grasp the notion of homelessness. It has been the norm more than property ownership forever. It is a concept that is international, interracial and interesting.

Here are some notable homeless people: Cochise, Actually the Dali Lama as he is in exile, Jesus, Buddha, Davy Crockett, Snowden, Michelangelo, Nomads, Old range Cowboys. Oh sure they at sometime had a home but they spent much time homeless and at best couch surfing. I understand Descartes was a kept man with no home of his own. Alexander the Great spent more of his life away from his home than in it, Audubon was the same. I do not believe Columbus had a home.

Some recently have suggested that adequate housing is a human right. If you think of that, it is absurd. We simply are not innately entitled to ownership of things. Human welfare and dignity is not tied to possessions or property rights.

What many do not get is that the homeless have a place, just not a home.

Do not disregard or disrespect that shopping cart and those bags. They are truly owned.

Certain cardboard box huts, donated tents, overhangs, bridges, overpasses, abandoned buildings are all homestead ready by the laws of the street. Squatters rights are real and you should respect them. Yes you have a mansion, but they have their space, we should respect that. Now ask the often used argument --- I have a gun to protect my home and family. Well should the homeless be denied such a right? Of course it is an absurdity but it highlights rights.Because you live in a house you have more rights than the guy who lives in the canyon. Because when it rains and freezes you are comfy, they should have less rights?

Home is where the heart is? This is our family home of around 60 years

A Basque family built it for the summer in the high country.
A Basque family built it for the summer in the high country. | Source
This is an outpost for homeless gathering and trading. No one gets to squat here.
This is an outpost for homeless gathering and trading. No one gets to squat here. | Source

Meal time. Eating out or staying in?

In every culture that I know of, there is a social factor in our meals, same for homeless.

It might sound strange to most of you, but here in the USA there is no shortage of food for people. For a well organized homeless person they will have their week schedule almost like a social schedule, well in fact it is.

Monday –County Soup Kitchen

Tuesday – Catholic Church

Wednesday – food bank

Thursday – Methodist church

Friday – fast food

Saturday --- out back at the big seafood restaurant

Sunday --- Open for what sounds good.

Each of these will have reasons. Sometimes the special dishes, sometimes, who else goes there. Sometimes location, and sometimes extras like, to go food. Often times just warm and safe and dry. Within these schedules there are individuals that one gets to know. It is like Cheers in a way. If you watch a charity hand out food bags, you can find the corresponding camp, where folks gather, swap and share food together. Life is ok for many of these folks. It is just different than you and me.

Have you ever met a straight up normal homeless person.

Do you think there must be something wrong with people if they are homeless

See results

I slip this in because in fact Khris spent some time homeless. And it expresses thanks that even homeless have.

Panhandlers are cool. They are a blue collar of the society of homeless.

Some time find a busy street corner or what have you and discretely watch a “beggar” work.

Some of these folks work a ten hour day. Other spots are basically incorporated by several and the share the day and night and are organized. Some are outright actors and play a roll, like Veteran or Cowboy or Student or cripple. Some are evangelists and some entertain. Many get dirty for work and many get cleaned up. Some use signs and advertisement and some stay almost mime like with hand held out. Every body has a shtick.

I hear this "homestead" sold for 200 dollars

The previous "owner" got it in a knife fight.
The previous "owner" got it in a knife fight. | Source

Allowing others to give is a gift they give.

I think we all feel just a little better when we give to others. I think it builds character in all of us. Next time say, “no sir, thank you”

Let me close with a few questions

Do you own your house or does it own you?

Have you ever slept out under the stars at night?

Do thing different is automatically bad?

Do you think showering every day is really environmentally sound?

How many trees did they whack down to build your house?

Producing power pollutes how much power does your house use?

Just some thoughts.


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    • Ericdierker profile imageAUTHOR

      Eric Dierker 

      5 years ago from Spring Valley, CA. U.S.A.

      C_MarieWeber, I would venture you are right for about 75%. Thank you for making sure that is understood.

      The disorganization caused by various mental and emotional disorders, can make it just too difficult to get from the Social Security office or VA center back to a landlord to pay the rent.

      Catastrophic financial ruin, and a home that is not safe are other typical causes.

      Here is an interesting concept, smaller children would normally rather be with their parent on the street, than sheltered independently.

      I hope as we learn about these folks we can understand them better and thereby help them better.

    • C_MarieWeber profile image


      5 years ago from Wichita

      Yes, homelessness is a state of being without a traditional roof over your head. But there are still those less sane than the one's you mention --in accordance with how human's perceive sanity, that is- and others who would prefer a roof. Still many may not. I'm not arguing; I'm just saying not everyone wants to live on the street.

    • Ericdierker profile imageAUTHOR

      Eric Dierker 

      5 years ago from Spring Valley, CA. U.S.A.

      Two of my siblings were born in a state mental hospital -- quite sane, Just that my Dad was director. In my teens I would drive my mom to the Jail and clinics at night where she administered stuff like Thorazine and morphine.

      Homeless is a state of being without a traditional roof over your head.

      Our most famous ones were Cochise, Christ and Buddha and in a sense Marco Polo.

    • C_MarieWeber profile image


      5 years ago from Wichita

      You have an interesting perspective. Some choose a nomadic life, but sadly, some suffer addiction and mental illness. Others still, have not chosen homelessness. I will agree that panhandling is a job. And to be quite honest, when I was young I envisioned myself as a bag lady because it represented freedom of known social norms. It was a liberating dream --one I have not fulfilled, and at this point wouldn't want to. It is, however, still there. A friend and I are writing a book about something similar together. Good read. I shall follow.

    • Ericdierker profile imageAUTHOR

      Eric Dierker 

      5 years ago from Spring Valley, CA. U.S.A.

      It is my job to remove some stigmas by education. It starts with me. Thank you for your support.

    • lrc7815 profile image

      Linda Crist 

      5 years ago from Central Virginia

      Yes sir, I got it. Because you spoke the truth.

    • Ericdierker profile imageAUTHOR

      Eric Dierker 

      5 years ago from Spring Valley, CA. U.S.A.

      My darling you get it. Four of my favorites were consumed and rightly so of their audience and what could be accepted. Ghandijji, Christ, Dalai Lama and Paul.

      As writers and motivators and friends we must know to whom we write.

    • lrc7815 profile image

      Linda Crist 

      5 years ago from Central Virginia

      Eric, this is an excellent piece from a very different perspective. I completely agree that some that we deem "homeless" are where they are by choice. You are absolutely right that we must respect that choice. Like most things, we tend to generalize things too easily. There are indeed some who are truly homeless due to loss of jobs or other financial issues. We must become educated and alert; knowing when to help and when to mind our own business. Voted up and awesome!

    • Ericdierker profile imageAUTHOR

      Eric Dierker 

      5 years ago from Spring Valley, CA. U.S.A.

      Walking in another's shoes is awesome. Thanks Bill for the comment.

      We have got to stay informed, hold open perspectives and refrain from judgment. A good life is a cabaret, old friend.

    • billybuc profile image

      Bill Holland 

      5 years ago from Olympia, WA

      I think the people who mock panhandlers should stand on a street corner for ten hours and try doing it some day. Might just give a better perspective. :)


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