Combating Homelessness

Discussion in 'Real Life Discussion' started by Koalas, May 9, 2018.

  1. Koalas

    Koalas First Year Prestige DLP Supporter

    Joined:
    Sep 3, 2007
    Messages:
    24
    Location:
    Halifax
    High Score:
    2024
    I was driving home on my afternoon commute and saw a younger guy pan handling for change from the cars stopped at the light. I went to look for something to give him and realized I didn't have a physical cent in my car and this got me really thinking. What IS homelessness going to look like in the next 10-20 years as we move further and further into a cashless society. What effect is the coming automation revolution going to have here? For the older members, has the drastically decreasing social stigma around mental illness had any effect you can see?

    I'm really curious about any success stories from your local areas or elsewhere that you've read about because I honestly can't see an easy fix to the situation, even if the political will was 100% there.
     
  2. Zombie

    Zombie John Waynes Teeth Prestige DLP Supporter

    Joined:
    Apr 28, 2007
    Messages:
    1,551
    Location:
    Within the Garden of Nurgle.
    High Score:
    2,094
    Every beggar in the future will accept android or apple pay. There is no easy fix. They ship homeless from city to city so it doesn't have to be their problem. Shelters are over ran and essentially being homeless is more expensive than having a home in some cases.

    No food storage, eating overpriced fast food with the money you get and just out right waste.

    The other thing is that you can't tell who is homeless and who is looking to make some quick money before they get into their beamer and drive back home to their wife and kids.
     
  3. EsperJones

    EsperJones Death Eater

    Joined:
    Mar 3, 2006
    Messages:
    986
    Location:
    Seattle, WA
    I'm actually quite wondering about the political aspect of that side again.

    I currently live in a city (Seattle) where it is a significant problem into which the city council is plunging money with very little (noticeable) impact - to the point where their camping is generally accepted on public land. I'm not sure what the general population thinks but the places I lurk online are generally showing strong disdain for the council in this issue. And for an incredibly liberal city like Seattle I wonder how much longer that will last.

    Shuffling the homeless around between cities isn't a workable solution, as Zombie mentioned. But neither is local areas plunging significant amounts of money to try to fix it, as a) other cities will ship their homeless to the places paying, like some cities in CA did, and b) people will voluntarily migrate to the places that don't try to kick them out.
     
  4. Arthellion

    Arthellion Ban(ned) Arthellion

    Joined:
    Apr 14, 2017
    Messages:
    992
    Gender:
    Male
    Location:
    Georgia, USA
    High Score:
    0
    My father was director of a Men's homeless shelter for ten years before returning to pastor a church.

    Its a hard life. Many homeless men have resigned themselves to their fate and honestly just accept it as it is. Many don't want to change or make a better life for themselves.

    Which makes it harder on those who do. Because of the former who take advantage of the help given to them, people are less likely to help anyone. Coupled with the stigma that its "their fault in the first place" being homeless is an incredibly difficult situation to be in.

    Its next to impossible for homeless people to get jobs because of all the paperwork required.

    How many times do you have to put down a "home address" on a job application? Quite often.


    Honestly, I believe the biggest fix to combating homelessness (at least on nonhomeless end), is not to expect the government to do it but to freely give ourselves. It's to find people to give to. Its to spend time actually developing relationships with the homeless. And we have to accept that, quite often, we will be taken advantage of. There will be people who take our assistance and misuse it...but that shouldn't stop us. That's their moral failing, not ours.

    Not helping the homeless because they might misuse what you give them isn't wisdom or be aware, its based on fear. Wisdom is knowing that if they do misuse it that it is on them...and that you should still help anyway. If you're able to help, you have moral imperative to help.

    I typically try to give food or, if I have someone with me, offer a ride. If all I have is cash then I might give some, but typically I try to just take the time and talk with them.
     
  5. Zerg_Lurker

    Zerg_Lurker Order Member DLP Supporter

    Joined:
    Apr 1, 2010
    Messages:
    804
    Location:
    DLPonyville
    One patently inhumane "fix" I've seen is criminalizing homelessness; passing laws that forbid camping or sleeping on public grounds and such. Levy some unpayable fines, cart them off to private prisons and exploit them in a manner resembling slavery but with extra steps.

    Let me be clear: homeless does not necessarily mean beggar, though it is very easy to see all long-term homeless people as such.

    I don't think there's a real solution for ending homelessness aside from the vacuously obvious route of devoting several billion dollars to build and maintain millions of units of cheap or free federal public housing, to the point at which Habitat for Humanity ends the housing market.

    How does one become homeless? If you own your property outright, you can lose it to eminent domain or natural disaster, maybe some freaky shenanigans with the deeds and titles. If it's a mortgage, default and foreclosure. If it's rent, eviction due to missed rent or violation of tenant rules. Of course there are the cases of people getting kicked out by their families, but by far the causes are economic.

    I'd say it's pretty straightforward that wage stagnation relative to the uncontrolled rise in housing prices and other costs of living drive homelessness. Automation accelerates the process, increasing net productivity and concentrating wealth while limiting labor force participation. Something like a universal income would only work if you peg it to the cost of living or artificially deflate housing costs. Even then you get plenty of free riders. I'm still holding out for some Star Trek level post-scarcity society.

    Moving towards a cashless economy is a different question. Going completely cashless as an individual has several barriers to entry, the least of which is a permanent address for a bank account. Then there's the question of documentation and maintaining the required balance, which isn't a problem just for the homeless but for a wide swath of people: impoverished, undocumented, people who don't trust the government with their information, what have you. Also, merchants can have minimum purchases for credit/debit because of the transaction fees from card companies, so cash is still necessary for small purchases until that goes away.

    In any case, I don't see cash going away unless you can remove all the barriers to digital currency and coerce everyone into participating. If that does happen, people will still lose their homes. Maybe panhandlers will beg for food and goods instead of currency.

    As for the stigma around mental illness, I don't really think it's relevant. Sure, there's a high correlation between mental illness and homelessness, but homeless people are ostracized as an underclass regardless. Furthermore, social stigma of mental illness presents less of a barrier to receiving treatment than other tangible factors such as: lack of an address for medical records, lack of access to health resources, or lack of awareness of one's mental illness. If a man's homeless with undiagnosed schizophrenia, bipolar disorder and whatever else you can pick out from the DSM-V, he's got priorities higher than taking antipsychotics and attending therapy.

    Zombie's right in that being homeless is costly, on both the personal scale and the society-wide scale, with the drastically increased health risks and decreased life expectancy. It'd be way cheaper, long-term, to permanently house all the homeless people in America than to maintain the status quo and bear the economic stresses of widespread homelessness in our judicial and medical systems. That becomes its own bureaucratic nightmare, and the question becomes how willing we are to accept free riders.
     
  6. Johnnyseattle

    Johnnyseattle Unspeakable DLP Supporter

    Joined:
    Oct 25, 2011
    Messages:
    746
    Location:
    Cascadia
    I've kind of wondered if there isn't some value in asking the ones that don't have crippling mental issues (which are probably a majority of them, really) if they'd be farmers. There is enough room in Eastern Washington (to say nothing of, like, Kansas) to build endless acres of farmland if one was so inclined, and it's not like these people are exactly busy otherwise. We give them places to live, and a steady job. They help us feed the state and themselves. There are a few cities I've read where they've tried driving around and asking able-bodied homeless people if they'd like a job for the day, and it's worked out pretty well for them - this might just be a better, and longer-term idea.

    As for the other side - the crazy ones - I have no idea how we're going to take care of this. We're way too far away from universal healthcare, and we will never get to the point where we'll just forcefully take people and fix them, so right now there just isn't an answer.
     
  7. CareOtters

    CareOtters Minister of Magic DLP Supporter

    Joined:
    Jun 8, 2010
    Messages:
    1,392
    The best way to combat the homeless is with a baseball bat wrapped in barbed wire.

    In a pinch, a two-by-four with a nail in it will do.
     
  8. Arthellion

    Arthellion Ban(ned) Arthellion

    Joined:
    Apr 14, 2017
    Messages:
    992
    Gender:
    Male
    Location:
    Georgia, USA
    High Score:
    0
    Dark...but made me laugh lol
     
  9. Zombie

    Zombie John Waynes Teeth Prestige DLP Supporter

    Joined:
    Apr 28, 2007
    Messages:
    1,551
    Location:
    Within the Garden of Nurgle.
    High Score:
    2,094
    Because your father ran a homeless shelter that makes you an authority on the inner thoughts and motivations of a homeless person? You're basically saying they see no reason to fight, to improve themselves or to better themselves because why? They're homeless, lack motivation, or... oh wait, they're just going to accept it.

    Homelessness is not easily defined. A homeless person is someone that's fallen through the cracks and no one gives a fuck about. A homeless person is someone that you see on the street corner and you avoid because they stink, they look dirty, they look like they're going to use your money for the wrong thing -- because that's how media has portrayed them.

    There are entire homeless communities that migrate from city to city on their own as they change and make new laws that says its illegal to be homeless, because its easier to say gtfo than it is to invest into community outreach programs to feed, house, and clothe them.

    Someone else said in here that why can't they be farmers, etc. The reason someone can't just make a homeless person a farmer is because you have to factor their mouth into your our food allotment and your money. If you take them on as a field hand they become your responsibility and you're liable to their actions. And because of the actions of a few people, there is a stigma that affects all people.

    I'm not going to get into some philanthropic argument with you. You know fucking nothing about being homeless. Just because you've "observed them in their natural habitat" doesn't give you the right to say that you know wtf their motivations are.

    Its not even paper work that holds them back. I currently employ 200 people throughout the community. Over half of them were homeless before I found them. It takes on average 3 thousand dollars per person to get them ready for a job and to interview them. Another 2 thousand dollars to get them through drug testing and the hiring process, and 1 thousand or more in continual observation and on the job training and all of this before they start becoming profitable.

    The unemployment office exist, but depending on your infrastructure, where you're at and other help programs you have available to you, finding a job is a non-issue. The biggest issue is that people don't want to spend that kind of money, nearly 6 thousand a head to get them into the work force when they can get someone fresh out of school and have them ready and willing to do the job.

    On top of that, there is wage and skill disparity. How long has this homeless person been out of school. Can they work a trade? Can they push a broom. 20 percent of my employees do lawncare, landscaping, and upkeep on the properties that they live in. They get paid to take care of their homes and thats it. I also am required by NC law to provide them with health care, or at least have it offered. Out of the 200 people I have, I have about 50 of them on an insurance plan, which totals nearly 1.2 million in healthcare premiums that I eat so these people can afford to be covered and have constant health care.

    And then there are logistics. How many of those homeless have DUIs, how many can drive? What skills do they have to offer. What it really boils down to is are they worth adding to your workforce, and a lot of employers decide they're not. There are firms that fill out paper work for people that cannot. There are programs in place to get people IDs, state issue or otherwise and all they have to do is show up and have their pictures taken. Its not paper work that stops a homeless person from getting a job, its money.

    A homeless person doesn't choose to be homeless. They're forced their because of their circumstances. I was homeless for nearly a year after my father died. My grandmother was out of the country and I had no one to rely on. There are no programs in Western NC to give you a house, give you a job, give you food, give you money of any kind without going through a process. The best that these programs could offer me when I asked for them for in find a house? Finding a job? You're a single, male. You can get a job. Well what about a house? You're a ward of the state, surely some family can take you in? What about healthcare? Oh, all we can offer to do is sterialize you under the guise of "family planning." We can't help you with anything else.

    I think you should go speak to more homeless people.

    I think you're very altruistic and don't know what real life is like. At all. Its one thing to say these things and its entirely another thing to do. I've worked on doing these things and spent millions of dollars without the governments help and it doesn't seem to get any better long term. People, homeless or not, expect hand outs.

    There is no fear of a homeless person. Its an unfortunate sideeffect of the system we exist in that many of the mentally ill end up on the streets because they don't have the money for their institutions to take care of them. These places only get so much grant money so when they're released its a calculated risk that these people are going to be able to even survive on their own, much less go out and commit a crime. You can help the homeless all you want, I'm not saying what you're doing is bad. I'd rather see someone give someone a meal than just hand them straight cash. At least this way you can see where your money is going to.

    Its your money and you have a right to think they're going to abuse it. Especially if you talk to the person. But I've never had a problem with buying someone a drink -- as long as they're honest with me. I will ignore you if you try and put on some front with me. I'm human and I know what its like to want and dream and be incapable of changing things.

    Talking to them isn't going to fix anything however. How does asking them how they got into this situation do anything for them? It doesn't.
     
  10. Arthellion

    Arthellion Ban(ned) Arthellion

    Joined:
    Apr 14, 2017
    Messages:
    992
    Gender:
    Male
    Location:
    Georgia, USA
    High Score:
    0
    I know the motivations because I have spoken with them. Its not just "observation." And I would argue I know more than the average person. Am I an authority? No. I've never been homeless, but many I've spoken with are depressed and see little hope for change so they just accept it as it is. Is this anecdotal? Yes. Does it apply to every homeless person? No. Nor was I saying it does.

    Its possible to be altruistic and still recognize that life is hard. It's precisely because life is hard that I am altruistic.

    *shrugs* Life sucks. Life is hard. Life can be miserable. Doesn't mean we shouldn't still offer assistance.
    Fundamentally disagree.

    Many homeless I know are isolated and alone. They are homeless precisely because they have no one to rely upon.

    Developing a relationship with a homeless person can provide happiness and joy. Does it provide a home or what not? Of course not, but it assist the mental health of the homeless.
     
  11. Shouldabeenadog

    Shouldabeenadog Auror

    Joined:
    Sep 3, 2010
    Messages:
    607
    Location:
    Cleveland