I recently came across this randomly in a thread discussing living on minimum wage in Los Angeles and whether it’s possible. The discussion wanders onto the topic of high taxation for California’s social services:
Please don’t be fooled by California’s glorious social service programs – THE GOVERNOR CUT THE FUNDS WHEN HE TOOK OFFICE. How do I know? The homeless cripples and drug addicts living in the streets, that’s how. Also from people that do volunteer work with them.
Okay, word choices aside, we’re off to a good start. She gets that the social services aren’t cutting it, and seems sympathetic to the problems these people face.
I honestly don’t know why the homeless just don’t go back to where they came from?? Many of them are not born and bred Californians. They must have family somewhere.
Whoa, what? They must have families? This is followed by:
thats what i think of all those homeless kids al over the place. they gotta have somewhere to go. or why dont they just get a job. many complain about prejudice. well of course!!! who wants to hire a grimmy person who knots their hair into dreads and wears dingy clothes and sports dirty finger nails. granted some might have psych problems. but really, if you are of sound mind and body, then work and stop begging for money.
It’s hard to know where to start on this second quote (and I’ll get to the first in a bit). Homeless people are grimy and clad in dingy clothes not because it’s a groovy lifestyle choice, but because – hello! – they lack access to, like, showers and laundry. Second, more than “some” have mental health issues – try 40-50% of them, because people with mental illnesses are at greater risk than the general population of becoming homeless (though a Duke study found that 49% of presidents were mentally ill, so clearly this is not the only factor required to put one at risk of becoming homeless). Third, legitimate employers may be picky about a potential employee’s grimy appearance, but they’re even more picky about there being an actual address and phone number on that application for employment. Fourth, a lot of “homeless kids” have “jobs” with employers who aren’t so picky about all that stuff – namely, pimps. Fifth, no one should ever use the phrase “Why don’t they just go get a job?” unless they’re wondering about laid off middle classers hoping Donald Trump will offer them something cushy before the unemployment runs out.
Finally, a dose of reality makes it into the thread:
A lot of these people come from terrible families in the first place. And even if they don’t, a lot of them have burned their bridges with family through drug addiction, alcholism, and general bad decisions they’ve made.
The first sentence is right. Not everyone has a family to go home to, as the first commenter insisted. Many kids are born into or end up in the foster system – at eighteen, they’re out on their ass, with no one to fall back on. Many who have families would have to tolerate more abuse in exchange for that roof over their heads than they’re facing on the streets. 95% of teenage prostitutes were sexually abused, if that gives you any idea where many of these people are coming from.
The second sentence is a little more problematic. First, drug abuse issues among the homeless should generally be taken as an indication of pre-existing, sometimes undiagnosed, mental health issues. Generally speaking, nobody’s going to “let” a fun hobby turn their life into a nightmare of homelessness. It happens because they lack the mental stability to prevent the substances from getting the upper hand, so to speak.
And everybody makes bad choices. But it’s entirely possible to end up homeless without making any deeply stupid choices. A lot of homeless people are also physically disabled, which makes it harder for them to do things like find a cheap place to live or get a job. The biggest reason why some people end up homeless is that they had a lot of choices taken away from them at the outset. Any bad choices they made beyond that are not the bulk of the problem. Some people snort coke like it’s going out of style and wind up in the White House, after all.
The main reason why people are homeless is because societies designate certain types of people as disposable. It’s a privilege not to be one of them.