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Kevin108 01-30-2014 06:22

What causes people to become homeless?
 
I'm having a discussion of issues with some other locals. Many want to take the overly compassionate route but I tend to be more realistic.

The people I've known who found themselves on the street did so because of bad choices and irresponsibility. Specifically, substance abuse was the primary cause.

I would imagine the second leading cause is mental illness, based on the interactions I've had with then through work.

The lesser causes are the heartbreaking ones: the women escaping abusive men, the children escaping addict mothers, etc.

Google has lots of links on this but the first few pages all belonged to some agenda-based .org, so I thought I'd ask here.

stevemc 01-30-2014 06:32

I've heard statistics that indicate a good percentage are the Veterans that we cherish so much. They cannot re-integrate into society and a normal life after what they have seen and been through, so they are abandoned and punished. Substance issues are a major reason also.

AZson 01-30-2014 06:49

Drugs. Family kicks them out because they cannot take it anymore.

GSD17 01-30-2014 06:58

I think the main reason people become homeless is probably when they cease having a home.

































I kid I kid!

BradD 01-30-2014 07:01

Every homeless person I've known has either had substance abuse problems or was mentally ill. I've talked to a few homeless people that I didn't know, and the same seemed true of them.

snerd 01-30-2014 07:04

Bush.

Kentucky Shooter 01-30-2014 07:06

Anyone ever seen the federal governments definition of what is considered to be a "homeless" youth? A kid can be living in a mansion with a non-custodial caretaker and that kid is "homeless" according to the federal guidelines.

Jaykwish 01-30-2014 07:31

I was homeless for about two weeks before deploying to Iraq in 2008. My deployment date was set and my plane tickets were acquired but something happened and the date got pushed back the day of my flight to Mississippi which is where I was deploying from. I had already closed out my apartment and had everything in storage and had left my job( I was in the reserves). I had little money and I ended up having to sleep in my car for two weeks before I deployed. I probably could have found someone who would have put me up but I was too proud and stubborn to ask. Two weeks was not fun , but deployment was worse.

Santa CruZin 01-30-2014 07:38

The only instances I've seen where destitution was the result (and in two cases, subsequent suicide) involved narcotics. Specifically, heroin and cocaine.

mgs 01-30-2014 07:38

Quote:

Originally Posted by Kentucky Shooter (Post 20969165)
Anyone ever seen the federal governments definition of what is considered to be a "homeless" youth? A kid can be living in a mansion with a non-custodial caretaker and that kid is "homeless" according to the federal guidelines.

That is correct and ridiculous! I know because I work for a school district and see it.

Here's another one....if the father of a child is 60 or older, the child gets a SSI check, until 18 years of age, no matter what the family income is.

Jake514 01-30-2014 07:47

I also think many do not want to be found, as they may have warrants, owe significant child support, abandoned their wife/kids, owe debts and walked off, etc. They do not take traditional jobs where they would need to show a SS number, have taxes withheld, etc. and instead they just fall further off the grid by their own choosing.

Road Man 01-30-2014 07:55

I can speak to this issue with personal experience. I am 53 years old now, but at age 21 I was homeless for several months.

I was going to college in Southern California and did a summer intern program in New Mexico. When the summer program ended I found myself with little money and no place to stay. This was in 1981, and for those of you old enough to remember times were pretty tough. I was also pretty lucky that I owned a pickup truck with a camper shell on the back.

I drove back to Southern California to return to school. I had been told that I would have some financial support from my parents, but when I got home there was none, nor was there a place to stay.

When I arrived I had 27 cents in my pocket, a loaf of bread, a jar of peanut butter, some honey, a sleeping bag, and a full tank of gas. I did not have a job. I did not have any substance abuse issues, no drugs, no alcohol, no mental issues. I was just out of money but wanting to continue my education.

I got a part time job very quickly, it paid poorly, but it paid quickly. I was very lucky that I was able to find any job, and I found this one in two days. I parked the truck near my place of employ and hunkered down until I got paid, it took two weeks to get the first check. I made the sandwiches last that entire time. A couple of weeks later college started and fortunately my parents had paid the fees earlier. It was a state school and the cost per semester was very low.

I never, not even once, took any form of assistance beyond the occasional friend letting me use their shower or sleep on the living room floor, and I only did this for a total of 4 nights in the entire time. I did not get food stamps. I did not get welfare. I did not get church or non-government assistance like food or clothing. I initially bathed in gas station restrooms using a wash cloth. Once school started I was able to find a restroom on campus that had a shower and I used that during the week.

Once the money started coming in I was able to get by, working part time and going to school. It took several months before I was able to save up enough to deal with the necessary deposits to get a room in a house filled with other college students.

It was touch and go for a while paying the rent for the room, but I made it.

Now at age 53 I am married and we own our home free and clear. We own our cars free and clear. We have no credit card or other debt. We have money in the bank for retirement, and for emergencies.

It was very difficult over the years to get to the position we are in now. There was considerable discipline, and plenty of times where we did without in order to save our money with the long term goal of financial independence in mind.

I mention my history because it is very simple to point to mental, or chemical issues as the only cause for homelessness. True, those are important, but they are not the only cause. Mine was purely financial. I did not have enough money, plain and simple. The college education, and that specific summer program were indispensable in allowing me to work in my chosen profession and make top wages. To this day I am able to draw on those experiences and turn them in my favor.

Do I think that there should be programs like food stamps, and welfare. Yes I do. I think those should be programs of last resort. I was lucky that I was able not to take assistance, it is something I am still proud of to this day. If I had not been lucky enough to get that part time job then I would have been forced to take assistance, and I would have.

Unless you have been homeless yourself it is very difficult to understand just what it does to your head. I came out of it a stronger person. I can easily see that it could break the will of another person.

Rabbi 01-30-2014 10:24

The chronically homeless are mostly substance abusers or mentally ill regardless of background. The situation is a result of choices and behavior. You cant fix most of them, just show your fellow man a moment of kindness.

There are people who find themselves temporarily homeless for all kinds of reasons. Many of them are very understandable such as job loss, sudden death of bread winner, sickness.... This is the group of people that can be helped and often are. These people dont want to be homeless and will generally make the choices to remedy that situation.

Resqu2 01-30-2014 11:12

A few years before the company I was working for closed we had bought a house, we bought well below our means at the time. The banks and realitors pushed us to looking at 400k homes because the math said we could afford it. I found a nice place for 125k with no realtor involved. Had we listened to them I'd lost the 400k house when I lost the great paying job and I knew I couldn't replace that job with the same money in my area.

May not of been homeless but it could of got scary. I do agree most homeless people are into drugs and that causes most of the problems.

Obi-Wan Kenobi 01-30-2014 11:15

Termites

Travelin' Jack 01-30-2014 11:55

Quote:

Originally Posted by Rabbi (Post 20969614)
The chronically homeless are mostly substance abusers or mentally ill regardless of background. The situation is a result of choices and behavior. You cant fix most of them, just show your fellow man a moment of kindness.

There are people who find themselves temporarily homeless for all kinds of reasons. Many of them are very understandable such as job loss, sudden death of bread winner, sickness.... This is the group of people that can be helped and often are. These people dont want to be homeless and will generally make the choices to remedy that situation.

This is spot on. I've spent a lot of time traveling like a vagabond, and I've met and got to know a lot of homeless folk. There was not one person without mental health or addiction issues. Those people were already in assistance programs, not on the streets.

I wasn't down on my luck, I just liked to walk the world a bit. Just being associated with that community I had all sorts of offers for meals, jobs and housing programs... it was kind of embarrassing to explain that if I wanted an apartment I'd just go rent one.

PBCounty 01-30-2014 11:59

The three homeless people I've known (an uncle, a friend of the family and a former co-worker) just decided to become homeless; they enjoyed it. They would be homeless for a couple years and then eventually get a job and an apartment for a while...then go be homeless again. It was a lifestyle of not working, doing drugs, having sex with each other and generally just being a scumbag - and they liked it.

Road Dog 01-30-2014 12:08

I worked in an office that was right beside a homeless shelter. I found there were usually three types, A) mental issues, B) drug/addiction issues, and C) people that actually like the lifestyle. One older man's wife had died, and he gave everything to his kids and went to living homeless. The guy told me he loved it because he considered it absolute freedom.

Dennis in MA 01-30-2014 12:18

Quote:

Originally Posted by GSD17 (Post 20969151)
I think the main reason people become homeless is probably when they cease having a home.

Makes sense to me.

"Dennis: What's the capital of Arkansas?"

"Well Wink, that would be the letter A. The Letter A is capital in Arkansas." :rofl:


On average, bad choices. In rare times, victim of circumstances. But, shockingly, the # of homes the banks still have on the books as current, but aren't, is truly shocking. How anyone LEFT their home after they stopped paying on their mortgage is lost on me.

Dennis in MA 01-30-2014 12:19

Quote:

Originally Posted by PBCounty (Post 20969926)
The three homeless people I've known (an uncle, a friend of the family and a former co-worker) just decided to become homeless; they enjoyed it. They would be homeless for a couple years and then eventually get a job and an apartment for a while...then go be homeless again. It was a lifestyle of not working, doing drugs, having sex with each other and generally just being a scumbag - and they liked it.

Sex, drugs and scumbag. Sign me up! :rofl:


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