Question about the homeless..

Discussion in 'After Hours Lounge (Off Topic)' started by DeathStar1, Nov 11, 2004.

  1. DeathStar1

    DeathStar1 Producer

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    Hey all,

    I know nothing about this subject, so I hope someone can enlighten me a bit on it.

    We just came back from Los Angeles last month or so. It was my first week long visit to a big city. We've been to NY before, but only for a day or so at a time and never really noticed this problem.

    LA would be a nice city, if it wasn't for all the poor homeless people lying around. I always felt nervous walking around one of them, as you almost never know what type of mental state they'd be in. One poor guy was standing around in a street corner muttering gibberish to himself while holding a sign up. I also didn't feel comfortable when trying to eat in a mall, and having a homeless person begging for money right outside to everyone who left. He was eventually shooed away by security...

    While it definetly made me feel even more gratefull for what I do have, it also made me feel sad knowing that I was in a nice comfortable hotel, and some other people whern't so lucky. Put a bit of a damper on the vacation.

    Don't most big city's have homeless shelters for these people to go to? Or, for the more mentally unstable people, psych wards for them to be put in? Or would it be illegal to just round 'em up like that? It's rather sad to think that every big city has this problem and nothing can be done about it...

    Just curious...
     
  2. Ricardo C

    Ricardo C Producer

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    Some people don't want help, and I assume others cannot be taken in for some reason. I'm not sure about the state of shelters in the US, or Cali. specifically, but around here, although there's certainly not enough shelters/missions/halfway houses for our all homeless, there's always someone who refuses the aid offered.
     
  3. Zen Butler

    Zen Butler Producer

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    Los Angeles is a nice city, a great city. Its' problems though, as with other cities, extend far beyond the homeless issue. Yes, we have many shelters and "start fresh" programs for which I've worked closely with.

    Volunteer just one day, and it will open your eyes man. Not only will you find a cure for that "always nervous" feeling you felt around the homeless but may come to realize that many Americans are about 2 or 3 paychecks away from a similar situation.
     
  4. Kenneth

    Kenneth Supporting Actor

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    As others have mentioned there are generally more people than space. I suspect some of the hardcore homeless people (the ones talking to themselves and such) came from the mental health restructuring where many folks were expelled from the mental instutions. With no family or friends (and what were considered "minor" mental health problems) they ended up on the street. It is sad to think of whole families living out of a box in the world's largest economy. [​IMG] Although, to be fair I saw some homeless even in Japan.

    It gets really scary when you see the homeless in the third world. I have seen shanty towns built under highway overpasses in Manila and women with starving babies begging in Thailand. It is very sobbering.

    Kenneth
     
  5. Kim D

    Kim D Stunt Coordinator

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    I live in Chicago and there are many people on the street begging for money. I have a few regulars who I give money to and they sell the paper "Streetwise". They are trying to make their lives better and I like helping. I rarely buy the paper but I give cash. Never a lot but I'm consistent. I know that they have to pay a quarter for each paper, have to wear a badge and have to be sober. They are not allowed to beg.

    I'm currently in London and I give money to people who sell "The Big Issue". I believe it's the same deal. The paper is lot more expensive here but what isn't?

    I don't mind giving money to people who are trying to improve their lives. I won't give to someone who is just begging. Although I might and do sometimes give food.

    I also give to the Chicago Food Pantry.

    I will help those who are trying to help themselves.

    - kim
     
  6. DeathStar1

    DeathStar1 Producer

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    We did see a few perfectly normal loking people. For instance, there looked to be a husband and wife couple with a dog pushing a big shopping carrage filled with stuff.

    Too bad someone dosn't setup education centers for people like this to help them learn some new skills and create more opportunities for themselves. It could either create more jobs for people, or you'd have to look for vollunteers wich could be a bit tougher to setup..
     
  7. Chris

    Chris Lead Actor

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    I work with the state board of Missouri to help with homeless. They have shelters all over the city, and drug & rehabilitation facilities, etc.

    That having been said, the shelters are not prisons, and when someone wants to leave, you can't force them to stay [​IMG] Unless they are court ordered to rehab, you can't hold them there either.

    While there are a lot of people who come into the system and make use of the treatment, and a lot of homeless who find their way back. Through things like Section8 housing and halfway houses, many homeless families can help find their way back into the system.

    That having been said, there are several people I see, under the bridges, etc. even here in KC who have been in shelters and drug rehab facilities I work with. They come in long enough to get food, meal and cleaned up, and then leave when they want to go back on the bottle or to get drugs, both of which are not allowed in shelters.

    Some people need committed to mental health facilities, but refuse and the process of committing them is difficult and not always a solution.

    Here in KC, and everywhere within Missouri, computers are setup at the shelters to offer people a chance to work on their credit with a counselor, to look for a job, and the state will help find them work. Most of the shelters offer mentorship programs and job education, thanks to new federal rules.

    But you can't force people to partake in the system.

    When I visit the shelters I work with, I am always happy to see those who have righted the ship, but I'm always aware that they are the lucky ones, the exception to the rule, not the standard.
     
  8. DaveGTP

    DaveGTP Cinematographer

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    I know how you feel, Neil. We live in Mid-michigan, in a fairly rural area.

    City of Midland is 40k, the county is 80k, and very low crime rate. Sometimes I have to slam on the brakes to avoid hitting a deer, and that's in the city (spread out, lots of trees, etc)...just a picture of the area I'm used to living in...

    Anyway, homeless people are a rarity here. I think we had one for a while but he died or the official folks drove him out or something...


    When we are on one of our frequent visits to Chicago or Toronto, I am very nervous of homeless people but sympathetic at the same time. It was even scarier the time we were in NY, ditto in LA. Even a visit to fairly local places (Detroit, Flint) leaves me uncomfortable.


    I think out in the country the homeless people somehow get their hands on a really cheap, run down trailer (like I lived in as a kid, but much worse) and collect their junk there instead of a shopping cart. Perhaps it's the high cost of living in the cities that helps drive it, or perhaps it is just the higher population density. If I was in a major metropolitan area perhaps I could end up homeless, too.


    The comment about many people being just a few paychecks away seems too true.

    If you are interested, I recommend watching the documentary Dark Days, about homeless people living underground in a train tunnel in Manhattan.
     
  9. Zen Butler

    Zen Butler Producer

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    Dave, very funny you mention Dark Days. I thought of including it in my first post. It is an extremely intriguing documentary.
     
  10. Chris Lockwood

    Chris Lockwood Producer

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    > many Americans are about 2 or 3 paychecks away from a similar situation.

    I've heard this before, & it's nonsense. To wind up homeless starting from a situation of having a job that covers your bills, you'd have to:

    1. Lose your job.
    2. Not find another job, even a lower-paying one, even working 80 hours at fast food or something.
    3. Not have any savings.
    4. Not have any credit.
    5. Not have a car or other possessions you could sell to raise cash.
    6. Not be willing to able to start your own business, even something simple like cutting lawns.
    7. Not have friends or family you could live with or borrow money from.
    8. Not be able to get a loan or grant to get more training to do other work.
    9. Not take advantage of unemployment compensation, food stamps, or other programs or charity.

    And so on. How many people would all those apply to? You'd have to be pretty non-creative to wind up that way starting from being self-supporting.
     
  11. Holadem

    Holadem Lead Actor

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    10. Accident, sickness, disability.

    But those never happen...
     
  12. DaveGTP

    DaveGTP Cinematographer

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    Well, on this point...

    No one paying minimum wage pays overtime. I got written up for even 15 minutes of unauthorized overtime (never authorized) when I worked at Meijer.

    You can't pay bills on McJob wage. No way.

    Yes, there is public assistance. That's a valid point. Not sure how quickly you can get it, though.
     
  13. Philip_G

    Philip_G Producer

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    Saw a lot of homeless in London.
    I remember one had his dog watching over his change cup.

    I don't really go into downtown often, but I'd imaging we have just as many around denver. You see panhandlers on a lot of the freeway offramps, tough to say if they're homeless or not.

    and I agree with the 2-3 paychecks away thing. Lose your job unexpectedly and you realize how close you really are.
     
  14. Jay H

    Jay H Producer

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    Besides the overcrowding perhaps on homeless shelters, I have heard of the homeless complaining about some crimes going on, like what to do with all your stuff. I pass a homeless guy on the way to work and he has a pile of clothes, blankets and other odds and ends around. Do homeless shelters let you take them with you? And then there's the point of petty theft, other homeless may steal your stuff.

    If I ever was homeless, I would just make some kind of shelter in the woods, away from folks but close enough to walk out.

    Jay
     
  15. Dave_Brown

    Dave_Brown Supporting Actor

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    I think that is one of my biggest fears, waking up one day to find I have lost everything and wind up on the street. Not that I think it will happen, but for some reason it is the one thing in life I am truly afraid of. It would be the ultimate sign of losing control over your life. I even told my family about it and luckily my sister was the first to say "no matter what, you will always have a place to stay if something bad happens to you. we won't pay your bills or give you money, but you'll have a roof and food until you're back on your feet." Hopefully I'll never have to take her up on the offer.

    On a lighter note, I lived in Hawaii for three years and was amazed at the number of homeless people I saw there. I started to wonder how they got there? Raise just enough money for a ticket then call it good? I guess if I were to become homeless, Hawaii wouldn't be too bad a place to have to spend my days.
     
  16. Chris

    Chris Lead Actor

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    ALL shelters are required by law to help protect your property (that are state run) and offer lockers, etc. to help you store that. HOWEVER, none will protect your property if it is illegal goods or "contraband" (no liquor allowed).

    However, attempts at crime within shelters are bad; physical abuse, etc. Most shelters keep staffers to monitor that 24/7. (In fact, none of the shelters I work with do any different.. all are staffed around the clock) And yes, routine offenders are either reported to the police or thrown out of the buildings.. which still leaves them homeless.

    To reference the above, rarely is someone actually 2 paychecks away from homelessness.. in large part because eviction from a property takes longer then a month, and in some states takes as long as a year (most places it's 3 months to 6 months).. dependant on where you are at. Foreclosure on a house takes a while as well. The most common homelessness of those who can return to good status are women with children who have been abandoned by their spouse and left with nothing. They turn to homeless shelters, etc. and leave homes just as much out of disgrace as anything else. But those are easier to turn around and get help.

    Whereas, homeless who become that way due to addiction or mental problems are very difficult to rehabilitate. But thus is life.
     
  17. Andy_G

    Andy_G Stunt Coordinator

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    I think that this is just a question of your socialization. People who spend any amount of time in major cities tend to pity the homeless more than fear them.

    I will stop here though; further comment might bring me past the
    "politics" line.
     
  18. John Alvarez

    John Alvarez Screenwriter

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    Or they come in when it's freezing ass cold outside. Here most homeless want to live on the beach like the rich folks but the shelters as you know are not in the nicest parts of town..
     
  19. Holadem

    Holadem Lead Actor

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    For me, it (fear) is a further sign of the glaring disconnect that a large part of the country has with what I like to call reality.

    --
    H
     
  20. Philip_G

    Philip_G Producer

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    It's not so petty theft when it's your only shirt/blanket/shoes/whatever you own [​IMG]

    I always see homeless people with dogs. This conflicts me. I'm glad the homless guy has a companion, but kind of sad for the dog. Who knows, maybe he's happier rooting through trash than my dog is locked inside...
     

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