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Why Don't Homeless People Just Get Jobs?

Updated on October 20, 2016
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Kylyssa Shay was homeless for over a year in her youth; it lead to her activism involving homelessness. She thinks, feels, and has opinions.

Find out why ending homelessness isn't as simple as just getting a job.
Find out why ending homelessness isn't as simple as just getting a job. | Source

It seems like any homeless person could easily get a job and get a home, right? So why don't they just get jobs and get apartments?

There are many assumptions about homeless people. Perhaps the most common is that all of them are too lazy to work. Having been there myself and having worked with many others in the same situation, I have to say that for the vast majority of homeless people, the assumption that they are lazy is dead wrong.

Many homed people look at the horrible lives of people living on the streets and ask why on earth a person wouldn't do something to help themselves in that situation. They ask the question, "Why don't homeless people just get jobs?" Oddly enough, they don't usually seem to also wonder if jobs are available and if there are any barriers to getting a job without having a home or an address.

I built this page to answer that question, to dispel a few more myths, and to drive home the reality that it is something that happens which no one deserves or asks for.

Men at work
Men at work | Source

Many Homeless People Have Jobs Already

Despite having a job, people still can still lose their homes or be unable to afford housing.

One reason someone without housing may not be looking for a job is that he or she may already have one or more already. Normally, from one third to one half of the homeless population is employed. During the current economic situation (and due most likely to many recently un-housed due to mortgage foreclosures), in some cities well over half of their homeless population has jobs. Nationwide, employment rate is about 44% for people without homes. Keeping in mind how many are elderly, children, disabled, or mentally ill that's a pretty high percentage.

This might lead you to ask why these people are without housing if they have jobs. Many are working at minimum wage jobs, jobs which don't provide enough to pay for basic living expenses in many parts of the country. Also, many of them are underemployed; they don't get enough hours of work to pay the bills. In fact, some people who work for low wages lose their homes when company cutbacks cut their hours. There are working people all around you who are living in cars, in shelters, or in no housing at all. In some cities, like New York City, even having full time work is not a guarantee that one can afford housing.

So why don't they just get more work, work two or three jobs at a time? Many of them do. But a cluster of minimum wage jobs at a few hours a week doesn't generally get them very far. Getting enough hours with multiple jobs can be very difficult as well. To make multiple jobs work, employers have to be willing to work with a schedule which accommodates their employee's other jobs. Finding two (much less more) employers willing to work around other work schedules is difficult enough, but each added job makes finding and keeping a balance even more difficult. It is an extremely rare employer who is willing to schedule an employee around that employee's schedule at another job.

I've worked as many as five part time jobs at a time, which averaged me around a 65-70 hour work week. I had a home and a phone and it was still difficult to keep up the schedule juggling. Eventually, I was forced to cut back to three jobs because of employers unwilling to work around other work schedules. I only worked one full time position plus odd jobs when I was without housing, though not from lack of looking for additional work, which brings me to my next point. It's hard for homeless people to get hired, for multiple reasons.

photo by Horton Group
photo by Horton Group

Homeless People Don't Have Regular Addresses

This is pretty much the definition of being homeless.

A large number of things make homeless people less likely to get hired. Lack of an address can be a huge factor. Many do not have a mailing address they can use on job applications or have the address to a PO Box, Church, or mission to use. Employers are put off by irregular addresses on job applications. Don't kid yourself; many employers would never consider a homeless person for a job opening. They have the same misconceptions about them that everyone else does.

To get past this problem, some people lie on applications or find a homed friend to provide an address for them. But this presents its own problems. Once caught in this lie, some employers are less than understanding.

Some Employers Will Not Consider Unemployed Job Applicants - ...not even those with homes

If your company downsizes and you become unemployed, you may be unable to find a job that accepts applications from people not currently working. Obviously, don't assume this is the case.

photo by Eric Ortner,
photo by Eric Ortner,

Many Don't Have Reliable Phones

It's hard to even have a charged mobile phone without somewhere to plug it in

When choosing between applicants that can be contacted by phone and those who can't, most employers won't even bother to contact those who can't for an interview. This makes having a $25 pay-as-you-go phone a life saver for many.

I've seen a number of people on the Internet "loudly" complaining about homeless people with cell phones. Perhaps if they knew that a cell phone is often a their only way to get a job, they might stop the complaining. Then again, maybe not.

A phone service subsidy of around $9.95 per month for qualifying individuals is available. The program, started in 1996, is paid for by telecommunication service providers.

photo by Ilker
photo by Ilker

The Poor Economy Affects Everyone

And creates tougher competition for jobs

With America's unemployment rate still pretty high while coming out of a recession, this should come as no surprise.

With job openings being rare (and often requiring advanced degrees for even general labor jobs) and many people being available to fill them, employers will understandably be choosier than during better times. Applications from homeless people will go to the bottom of the application pile for numerous reasons.

Not only that, but many businesses have become less flexible in scheduling because they know they can get away with it when people are desperate for employment. A business can require employees to have unlimited availability even if those employees are not full time when jobs are scarce. That means employees of such businesses cannot get another job to work in addition to the one they already have.

No One Can Get What Doesn't Exist

There are more people than jobs. Where are all these jobs for homeless people supposed to come from?

photo by Shan Dun,
photo by Shan Dun,

It's Hard to Stay Clean and Neat

The standard of cleanliness required of job applicants can be unattainable for some

I can almost hear the objections now. I've seen the suggestion that people just don't try hard enough to stay clean and well groomed. But ponder this - do you honestly think that you could show up to a job interview with a tidy haircut, a pressed suit and tie, shined shoes, a shower fresh smell and a clean shave without a barber, a bathroom, an iron and a closet? For women it's also complicated by social requirements to wear make-up to an interview.

image by Billy Alexander
image by Billy Alexander

Many Homeless People Have Gaps in Their Employment History

This is pretty unsurprising considering that such gaps in employment are often the cause of their situation.

Many applications require an explanation for all gaps in employment. So the homeless person can either lie or tell the truth. If he or she tells the truth, the cat is out of the bag and the prospective employer will know the applicant is homeless with all of the baggage and potential for discrimination that entails. If the job applicant lies, he will eventually get caught in the lie and have to face the consequences.

Even if the period of unemployment was caused by corporate downsizing, very few employers care to hear explanations.

Jobs Provide Money but Money Alone Isn't Enough to Rent an Apartment

What?!? That's right, money alone is not enough to rent most apartments. To get into most apartment complexes in the United States, applicants must have a good credit history and have a job at which they earn at least three times as much as the monthly rent.

So while a person might be able to afford to rent an apartment working a minimum wage job by sticking to a very strict budget, most apartment complexes will not rent to him. A very modest one bedroom apartment might only cost $650 a month in budget housing but those who rent it must earn at least $1950 a month in most cases. Here in Michigan, a person earning the new, higher minimum wage of $8.50 an hour would fall short of earning enough per month by $590.

I recently helped friends fill out paperwork to move into a budget apartment complex and the requirement on their paperwork read that the rent must not exceed 30% of the applicants' combined income. So their $700 a month apartment requires them to earn at least $2,333 per month to be allowed to rent it.

Co-signers could be of help, unfortunately, the combined income of the renter and the cosigner usually have to equal at least five times the monthly rent and the co-signer must not have a high debt-to-income ratio.

Yep, You Read That Last Bit Correctly.

That's right, money alone is not enough to rent most apartments.

photo by Sanja Gjenero, SXC
photo by Sanja Gjenero, SXC

Homeless People Have Lousy Credit Ratings

Maintaining a great debt to income ratio is not easy when you live in a tent or other unconventional places.

In many states, it's perfectly legal for employers to run a credit check on job applicants and disqualify those with poor credit ratings. As you can imagine, not having an address nor recent income, and probably past evictions and medical bankruptcies or past due bills on your record destroys your credit rating.

I doubt there are many, if any, homeless people with sterling credit ratings.

photo by Agata Urbaniak
photo by Agata Urbaniak

Many Homeless People Don't Have Cars

For some, it's a home on wheels but many don't have even that

Many job applications state up front that applicants must have their own, dependable transportation. Sometimes this can be the bus but if work hours are irregular and begin before buses start running or after they have stopped, it means owning your own vehicle.

And even for those public transportation such as the bus would work for, they may not have the money to pay for the fare.

Are All Homeless People Just Lazy?

Do you believe that homeless people choose to be without housing by not being employed and that they could all have homes if they just got jobs?

Please remain civil and avoid swearing in your comments.



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    • Ana 27 hours ago

      It is very simple. I am a graduate from Social Sciences and Urban Planning, with experience on administrative work, defense and tourism. However i am portuguese young adult. In my country i dont have a job, almost never. I am working abroad now. If it wasn´t my family and friendshelping me i would be homeless. It is very easy to become homeless.

    • noda 10 days ago

      its like this its hard for some people to get a job .. i was homeless an still cant get a job .. people jus dont care an dont wont any body to have a life .. .. have a heart help when u can belive in god . he will lead u .. help out the homeless .. u may not have a chance to do a good dead in gods favor in da futer .. stop putting the homeless down like they dont try bc alote of them do .. SO STOP JUDGING AN START HELPING

    • Kylyssa Shay 2 weeks ago from Overlooking a meadow near Grand Rapids, Michigan, USA

      If you come back, please explain what you are talking about regarding homeless pimps and fake homeless. It's interesting because it's usually the other way around; homed pimps usually victimize homeless women, girls, and boys. Pimping requires the pimp to have power (usually the power of life and death, assorted threats of violence, and/or drug addictions) over his victims; what power does a homeless pimp have over the fake homeless people? If you live in Louisiana and witness anyone pimping anyone else out report it to the police. The word of a single homed person would put them in jail fast. Keep in mind that if you are mistaken, you could get someone killed.

    • Aj 3 weeks ago

      What about the fake homeless that get shuttled around by homeless pimps for drug money seems like a problem in Louisiana? I just wish everyone had a job and at least a roof over their heads thanks for your article

    • The Nut Buster 4 weeks ago

      No homeless people arent lazy. Few maybe are lazy or Arnt trying hard enough but most are really trying but they're unable to fix their situation

    • Kylyssa Shay 7 weeks ago from Overlooking a meadow near Grand Rapids, Michigan, USA

      Scroll down the page to where the box was where you left the other comment and you'll see that I approved both of your comments. I have no control over which box you left a comment in so you have to look where you left the comment to see it.

    • Rick 7 weeks ago

      Yet you fail to post my comment calling him out as an entitled coward?

    • N Kiddie 8 weeks ago

      No, they are not just lazy. Thank you for shedding light on some serious issues that impede many homeless people from getting jobs and adequate, permanent housing. Some of these things, I knew, but some of them I had not considered. It's great that you're taking your experiences and making a difference.

    • Kylyssa Shay 3 months ago from Overlooking a meadow near Grand Rapids, Michigan, USA

      @Jacob Goldstein

      I never thought I'd see a Jew arguing for American concentration camps! You practically paraphrased Hitler in what he said about Gypsies.

      So, did you use profanity in your subsequent comments knowing I don't allow it on this page just so you could complain that your comments weren't posted or because you knew you could privately abuse the author that way? It doesn't matter that you logged out to post them anonymously, your IP address still shows on the comments.

      Anyway, if you'd read the page, your comment might be worth giving a serious response, but you clearly haven't. I'm really only posting your comment so regular people can see what extremists there are out there willing to kidnap and imprison people for having the problems mentioned on this page. Seriously, imprisoning and enslaving people after ten days of extreme financial difficulty is insane and regular people need to know that people like you exist.

    • Jacob Goldstein 3 months ago

      Lets look at this as a possible solution, I would like to know what you think..

      I live in a city with abundant homelessness..i get asked for money repeatedly. I notice the disgusting smell that many of them have. I see them defecate and urinate on the sidewalk. Now, they are pitching tents and just staying on sidewalks and leaving toxic junk good for vermin, and spreading disease.

      This is not appropriate or fair for them, or me.

      Lets be real, i work hard and pay taxes..i deserve better.

      I would like to see homeless people removed from our streets.

      I propose that if someone is seen being homeless for 10 nights in a row, they should be forcibly removed from society and places in a work- camp, lime a farm, like a kibbutz system in Israel.

      Benefits of a Farm-camp for homeless:

      They will find a way to contribute, even if they just keep the chickens company.

      The profits, will go back to maintaining the community, with mental health doctors on payroll.

      They will be able to leave after completing a month on the farm, and being evaluated.

      When they leave, they will be set up to succeed with temporary housing and a job..

      But we need a buffer between them and society and when they can join society, we are here waiting for them..but no more disgusting behavior on the more starbucks bathrooms that need a hazmat more begging..

      Just balance, a farm-camp, that helps those who didn't help themselves.

    • Jp 3 months ago

      Extremely Bad Bad government and very evil greedy rich people keep things this way.

    • Shelley 4 months ago

      There are as many reasons for being homeless are there are people. Some try, some don't...people are complicated and so its the issue.

    • Hub page net work account 5 months ago

      There are many reasons but ignorance is also another factor I've worked all my life I have four children 3 are adults now and have there own lives and children to support I'm fifty years of age and still have a child 10 years of age he has a disibility which has stopped me from working full time and I also have a disibility and I still face the fact of being homeless.its not easy being a single mother having a mental illness with a child also having a disability there are many reason why people end up homeless and believe me it's not cause I'm lazy or want to be on the streets .

    • Mark 5 months ago

      Not who are homeless are weak, or even want to be homeless. Some do choose that lifestyle though. Some veterans from my era Viet Nam and forward, suffer from PTSD or some other mental disorder. Not all vets though, some just can't or don't want to deal with all the bullshit that goes on in every day life. God knows there have been times when I have wanted to say screw it, just let me be alone. But as I am so physically messed up I can't. I have a wonderful wife and two great kids, my wife and I will celebrate 35 yrs of marriage in Oct. After a life time in public service, military, police office, asst. chief, corrections officer, which during a riot some 25+ years ago finished off what the military began. I am now 100% permanently and totally Think at times I don't wish I could say so long to everything I have and live in the woods some place. I need my meds that's why.

      Some homeless make more by pan handling than if they had a regular 9-5 job. Some are man and wife teams, others its entire families. I have seen them here in my little town on the south east coast of Florida. It is what it is, some are in fact lazy, figure the system owes them for some stupid reason. Others, a lot of others may not want to be homeless, however due to circumstances beyond their control....hey....stuff happens beyond our control all the time. Usually we can recover, other times not so much, then it becomes a situation where you may spend the rest of your life trying to get back what you lost.

    • Crystal 5 months ago

      Okay, no. I'm in a shelter right now and I know that it's just as easy to clean and groom yourself as it is in your own house. Even when I was street homeless, there are plenty of places for homeless people to shower, get haircuts, get clothing donations, etc. There's never any excuse to be filthy. We live in a world that simply won't tolerate letting you stay dirty and unkempt. Our society is extremely anal about hygiene, so if you're not taking advantage of that, then you're just...not taking advantage of it.

    • Kylyssa Shay 23 months ago from Overlooking a meadow near Grand Rapids, Michigan, USA

      I'm sorry you are right. Human attitudes are the single biggest barrier to homeless people getting homes. The sickening thing is that, in many areas, it costs MORE to keep a single cot in a homeless shelter going than it does to house two people in an actual apartment. The only reason the money isn't put into helping people get into housing is that the general public doesn't want people to get something they don't feel "those people" deserve.

      They are housing homeless people in rental housing in Utah, it's cheaper, and it's working. The people also stop needing support and help faster.

      Thank you for sharing your insight. It is my hope that the more voices people hear in support of treating homeless people like people the more likely it is that more people will start to see them that way and start acting accordingly.

    • 23 months ago

      Homeless people don't get jobs because that is the way the system works. No word of a lie. When you end up in a homeless shelter, the mentors treat you as if you are insane and physically incapable of finding work.

      From my own experience, when i was homeless, I had to keep a positive attitude as the mentors in the homeless shelter didn't want to believe that I was going to get a job. They even said to me.. 'Okay if you get a job, where are you going to live' which is a fair point, but ive always believed that where there is a will there is always a way. To this day, I am truly disgusted by the way homeless people are treated. There is a long standing stigma that you are a bad person, using drugs or a criminal, when in reality sometimes you can't control the circumstances.

      I even remember the mentor saying to me 'if you want somewhere to live, go to xfc' so I did and it was a chicken shop.

    • Debra Allen 24 months ago from West By God

      It is also a myth to many homeless have mental health issues. It is also a myth that most of the homeless are addicts of some kind.

    • EpicEra 3 years ago

      No. Homeless people have to work far harder than sheltered people just to survive.

    • fourwindsbar 3 years ago

      Also, I see a lot of arguments along the lines of "Well, I got back on my feet, so why can't they?!" Is it so impossible to understand that they're in a different situation from you...? Maybe they don't have the same resources you do, or the same personality as you. That doesn't mean it's inherently their fault that they're homeless.


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      • Kylyssa Shay 7 weeks ago from Overlooking a meadow near Grand Rapids, Michigan, USA

        I allowed the post for several reasons.

        One reason is that many average people don't even believe in the existence of people like the commenter identifying themselves as Jacob Goldstein unless they get to see things like that comment that prove their existence. Who can blame them, though? Who thinks like that and has detailed plans for how they'd run their Holocaust against the poor if only they could? The comment (it was actually a series of comments, each nastier and more vulgar than the last) illustrates a certain type of person rabidly opposed to recognizing the humanity of poor people perfectly.

        Another reason is that I tend to pick up irritating cyberstalkers at the drop of a hat and failing to publish a comment like that one is one seed from whence they seem to sprout. I'm suffering a number of health problems while caring for a dying loved one right now and I just don't have the energy for a cyberstalker. The words of and the existence of his subsequent comments radiated (at the very least) a stalker vibe for the few people who read them. Which brings me to another reason.

        Last, but not least, some person identifying himself as Jacob Goldstein said some things that any reasonable person would find creepy as heck, including casually talking about kidnapping and enslaving people if they have financial difficulties. If he ever harms a homeless person, it's all there for law enforcement along with his IP address.

      • Rick Humphrey 7 weeks ago

        @Jacob Goldstein @Author why did u allow this post. Why did you give him the satisfaction? It sounds like some sort of hate speech to me. .....I'm not homeless....yet hahaha btw

      • Kylyssa Shay 8 weeks ago from Overlooking a meadow near Grand Rapids, Michigan, USA

        I'm so sorry you went through all of that horrible crap. I built this page because I was homeless and still bear the scars. It's my way to explain to the ignorant and to yell back at the people in the world that think people like us are lazy or less than human. Heck, when taking group therapy counseling for being a workaholic I discovered two of the other six people in my group had been homeless before!

      • Beth 8 weeks ago

        After finding out I was pregnant I ran away from an abusive relationship with a man who threatened to cause me to have a miscarriage. I ended up in a homeless shelter. In the past, I never had a problem getting a job. But as soon as I was in that shelter with a gap in my employment history, no one would hire me. It was a small town with not a lot of jobs, so i was applying to the same places repeatedly. Eventually my pregnancy started showing and I could no longer hide it from employers. The stress of being on the verge of having a baby I couldn't support caused a mental breakdown and I ended up in a crisis unit in a different town which helped me get housing long enough to have the baby, find work, and finally have a chance. I'm not lazy. I met the wrong man and ended up in bad situations. I will never be the same again after the discrimination and mistreatment I suffered after choosing to leave a different kind of abusive situation. Judge me all you want without knowing any details.

      • Mogie 3 months ago

        I have a close relative that is a bum. He doesn't work because he doesn't like to do ANY kind of work.

        He has had people bend over backwards trying to help him and all he does is take advantage and use people.

        I have dealt with this firsthand for YEARS.

        It is laziness on his part pure and simply.

        I would like to hear from others with first hand and real life experience dealing with this issue.

      • Kylyssa Shay 4 months ago from Overlooking a meadow near Grand Rapids, Michigan, USA

        A note to readers: I usually do not allow comments with swearing in them but I wanted to respond to the commenter baiting me in the previous question and it makes no sense without the abusive comment that proves he only read the title. I also assume there's a chance he'd start sending me abusive emails if his comment didn't show up as others have sometimes done in the past and I just can't deal with that right now.

        @Obama Bush Sharlatans - I am the writer, a woman who was herself homeless and brutalized by individuals and by the system you also despise. I'm a middle-aged person with autism who barely survived homelessness and continues to struggle with the physical damage people caused me during that time over two decades later. Yet somehow you think a developmentally disabled person with lupus, PTSD, and assorted neurological damage following head injuries gained while getting ground up by the system you despise should have to fix the system that broke her. I'm too physically ill and damaged and time has made it all too severe to do anything more than to try to educate people with writing, to donate my writing skills to charities, to help people navigate job and apartment applications, and to try to avoid becoming homeless again myself.

        What are you doing to solve homelessness? Posting nasty comments on articles you didn't actually read doesn't count.

        If you'd actually read the page you commented on rather than just responding to the question that I used for the title, you'd see I'm pointing out how everything is set up against escaping homelessness, and how even having a job isn't enough to get out a significant percentage of the time. I've helped out homeless people who were working fifty or more hours per week. I've been a homeless person working fifty or more hours a week.

        My research included multiple rapes, getting stabbed, and getting beat into the hospital. It includes still living with the results decades later and remembering every time I see the scars on the outside of my body or I see a new gynecologist who asks about the scars she sees inside me. My research continues to include seeing the scars on my face and covering them with makeup while being thankful I survived the head injuries, knife wounds, and broken bones I got with them. My research continues to include having great difficulty feeling like I'm a real human being with a right to not be beaten, raped, killed, or even abused verbally, financially, or through discrimination even decades later.

        My research included taking over two dozen homeless people into my home over the years after I managed to find a home myself. My research included people yelling countless variations of "get a job" at me while I was homeless, including one horrible woman behind the counter of a 7-Eleven I asked for a job application. My research included working with homeless people to find them housing and better jobs, mostly independently because it's difficult to work for charities when one has autism and the charities are so often run on illogical bureaucracies and bored rich women's egos.

        My research taught me that everything I said on this page is a true reason why homelessness is not as simple to escape as just getting a job.

      • Obama Bush Sharlatans 4 months ago

        It appears that this idiot writer has done a thorough research and has figured out the cause and reason why homelessness in America the richest country on the planet is growing exponentially!

        He is treating this deadly issue as our criminal politicians and government is trying to portrait.

        Ask yourself if you would rather be on the street or work, if you rather be on the street is because you have a mental issue not because you are turning down a starvation pay slavery.

        If you really are trying to solve the problem? Then you should research our criminal system that is behind it.

        Do t research homeless people, research our criminal system that has turned Detroit into a third world society,

        We savagely and viciously dropped A Bomb on Hiroshima and Nagasaki and massacred hundreds of thousands of defenseless women and children and now compare those two cities with Detroit and other miserable cities around America and ask yourself who won the war.

        When parents of a family rape and rob their own children, expect those children to be on the street.

        Figure it out genius America,

        All me are created equal.

        Liberty and justice for all.

        These bull crap are written by a group of slave owners, land owners, and the only class that could vote.

        Get to the root of the problem asshole writer.

      • Kylyssa Shay 15 months ago from Overlooking a meadow near Grand Rapids, Michigan, USA

        Either you're really old to have worked way back when businesses didn't require employees to have IDs, phones, and home addresses or you're just really out of touch with how the world works now. Maybe you don't recall having to provide an address, phone number, social security number, and photo ID, but if you worked at a national fast food chain in the last twenty years you did.

        You have to make at least three times your monthly rent each month to be accepted into most apartment complexes in the twenty-first century. While doing volunteer work, I've helped people fill out the forms umpteen times. Every apartment application I've ever filled out or helped fill out in the last twenty years, my own or someone else's, has included a credit check. Even individuals renting out rooms in their primary residences run credit checks these days because it's so easy to do.

        About half of the job applications I've helped people fill out in the last ten years have included submitting to a credit check. All of them have required the applicant to have a phone number, an address, a state issued photo ID or driver's license, and a Social Security card.

        If you just start showing up at a place of business and start working, they don't hire you; they call the police. Minimum wage workers don't get a pass on filling out the paperwork; they have to fill everything out and get their application chosen just like any other worker does.

        And so what if children, disabled people, and elderly people are weak? So what if human beings aren't all strong enough to pull themselves up by the bootstraps on the boots they don't have when they crash into lousy circumstances? We're all human beings even if you think you are above having emotions like empathy. You aren't able to see the value of people weaker than yourself, but fortunately, most people aren't like you. We'll be here to help you out when you fall down even if you get all nasty proclaiming your superiority like a broken record as some conservatives do when they lose their homes due to human weaknesses like sickness, age, injury, and corporate downsizing.

      • Collin 15 months ago

        Yes, they are lazy. That's why I will never give them money. Try and attack what I'm about to say because I know I am right. You really think McDonald's cares about your address? They don't. I've worked at several fast food restaurants and I have never had to give them an address. You don't need good credit. You just need to show up. I made $400 a week at a fast food restaurant; MORE THAN ENOUGH TO RENT AN APARTMENT. No credit rating, no work experience, nothing. That comes out to $19,200 a year. Work harder than everyone else and improve your life. No excuses, if you are on the street, you are weak. Flame on.

      • Kylyssa Shay 22 months ago from Overlooking a meadow near Grand Rapids, Michigan, USA

        Thank you for your insightful comment. I must have blocked out all the come-ons on some level because I've never written or talked about them but, jeez, they never freaking stopped. I have Aspergers so I took everything at face value and can almost never tell when someone is trying to play a scam on me or deceive me so you can imagine how that went with those guys.

        I write about homelessness to try to spread empathy and dispel those destructive myths and attitudes so mant people seem to have. This article was inspired by my very unpleasant and ironic memory of a young woman behind the counter who yelled, "Why don't you get a f-ing job?" at me when I asked her for a job application.

        I hope your situation turns around soon. Take it easy on yourself don't let the jerks get you down. Who cares what jerks think, anyway?

      • 22 months ago

        I'm homeless and let me tell you, I'm not at all lazy. I moved 1600 miles across the US to be with my significant other. His mom was out of state with his dying father, and he told me that she agreed i could live at the house (he was watching it for them) and was supposed to be living out of state even after the father passed away.

        It was a huge concern of mine that she like me, in case things didn't go as planned. He assured me she would. A month of planning later, i say my farewells and I'm off. When i arrive, I'm told she returned. No big deal, right? I walk into the house and she doesn't say two words to me, then proceeds to hide upstairs. I thought it was strange.

        He decides to show me around town and goes upstairs to tell his mom we'll be back shortly. This lasts a good hour. After he comes down, I'm informed i can't stay there.

        A few days of sleeping in my car in a walmart parking lot later, he tells me his brother offered to house me. Turns out his girlfriend is a "witch" (if you know what i mean...), like their mom, and i get thrown out again.

        From the day i got there up until this point, I've filled out over 100 job applications... I've had interviews... I've gone to job fairs... I kept my phone in and listed his brother's address as my own (despite his girlfriend throwing away or sending back any mail that is sent there...). I am NOT lazy. I call and call and call these places, pleasing for an interview, only to get turned down.... I've been homeless for 5 months now. I've maintained enough income thru donating plasma and begging to keep gas in my car, pay my phone bill and feed myself. I've had a select few very generous people give me $20 and $40 at a time and one couple let me shower at their place (but they live too far out to go there often). The owners of walmart have been generous enough to not ask me to leave, and because of that i can stay here legally. I don't cause any trouble, though.

        A few people have asked for the story behind me being homeless. I don't lie. They ask why i don't look for work and i explain how virtually impossible it is. A few suggested Craigslist, but i tried that and only got offers for scam "jobs" (they claim they want you to do this long process of "advertising" and it leads to your ads getting blocked and removed, thus you never get paid because you didn't "complete the job"; others offer to put a decal on your car, but ask you to deposit a check - usually from a stolen or suspended account - they say to take out x amount off the top and send the rest back. They actually use this fraud check to get access to your bank account and steal your money or overdraw so far that you'll never get out of debt). I've had offers to take pornografic pictures for "art books" and I've had specifically sexual offers (always very explicit). The few that actually offer to "help" actually tried getting me to have sex with them, once we were alone. One guy said he'd let me shower every so often, then decided i could only do this if i walked into his house naked and let him do as he pleased with me... I declined.

        I've had people offer me money, "only if it won't go to drugs and alcohol". This kind of argivates me, but i know most people view the homeless this way- most here reek of alcohol and will openly admit to doing drugs... I also get hit on by the homeless men very often. They offer to help me, but immediately bring up sex and how they won't force anything on me, how I'm a "very beautiful young woman" and how they would love to be with me... So i decline...

        Being homeless isn't as easy to turn around as most people seem to assume. I'm not lazy, and actually found this website while looking for a low-income housing and job... It's a vicious cycle for the homeless that truly try bettering their situation- you need a job for income, to get an apartment; you need an apartment to stay clean, to get and keep a job... I've contacted many churches/the Salvation Army/shelters/temporary job agencies. I always get the "sorry you're homeless, wish i could help" line. Temp agencies won't even hire homeless people. The one shelter up here will only let people stay if they get a note from a person they know stating that they are, in fact, homeless. I do t have the gas to drive there everyday, anyway. I hope i find something soon, because it really is depressing and my SO doesn't understand what it's like, despite me trying to explain it...

      • Kylyssa Shay 23 months ago from Overlooking a meadow near Grand Rapids, Michigan, USA

        This is a self-publishing platform and it's an editorial, not an article. It's a little like blogging with a new webpage per post.

      • Billy Bob 23 months ago

        How did you manage to get a job to write this article?

      • Jean Bakula 24 months ago from New Jersey

        NO, I don't believe people are lazy just because they either don't have jobs, or work several P/T ones. Public transportation in the US is awful, and P/T jobs pay so little, some don't even cover rent. You need food, electric, a phone, and clothes suitable for whatever the job is. Some apartments won't let you live in them if you have been out of work or have a spotty work history. Plus P/t jobs have no benefits, health, vacation days or sick days. People who think it's easy should try living like that, as President Obama pointed out in his SOTU address.

      • Kylyssa Shay 2 years ago from Overlooking a meadow near Grand Rapids, Michigan, USA

        I feel frustrated by those judgmental, condescending, and irrelevant anecdotes, too. My experience with personally enduring homelessness is decades old and I frequently tell people that difficult to escape as it was and horrific as my experiences were, it is much worse and much harder in many ways now. Jobs are definitely harder to get and far less plentiful and more people are more prejudiced against poor people than they were even just ten years ago.

      • akphilly 2 years ago

        Anytime I see an article like this, with a comment section, I always think 'and now for the anecdotal stories!'. I swear, some people will think that just because something worked one way for them, therefore that is the way it will work for all 7 billion people on the planet if 'they want it enough and work for it'. Seriously? Did they not read the article? Many, MANY jobs nowadays require you to apply online. While you can go to a library, many if not most of these applications won't even let you keep going if you don't fill in all required fields, like address, phone number, and references. Even if they went in person, not having an address or telephone is a big problem. So there goes the 'why can't they just flip burgers' thing. Next would be 'why can't they dig ditches, do stuff no one wants to do, etc.'. Again, no address. And even if someone hired them privately, that could be a whole can of worms. It may not be reliable, or, they may get taken advantage of. It's just not so cut and dry as some people think. It's sort of the same way about teens getting jobs. You hear 'when I was a teen, I had a paper route! Kids today are just lazy & entitled!'. Yeah, because it's not like times change or anything like that. When I was a teen, on average a job search would last a week, tops. But just because it was like that in the 90s & early 2000s, I don't go telling teens anecdotal stories about what it was like when I was a teen, as times have changed.

      • ohhaiitsrachel 3 years ago

        Kimadagem, I just want to point out that I pay 635 a month for a nice wooden floored one bedroom apartment in a suburbian city outside of Austin while going to school full time and working 50 hours a week. I'm 21, pay all my bills, and have been for three years. I think you're the one that's out of touch.Bums are people who have had it pretty bad, regardless of what they've gone through. I think a lot of them need help getting one step forward, but it is possible. You just have to be strong enough. Some bums like being bums.. Some of them give up and think life is hopeless. They might not have anyone to reassure them that they can do better. Dunno.. It's sad, really. I always give them dollar bills and food. I don't mind helping them. I just hope they can become happier someday.

      • sweetstickyrainbo 3 years ago

        I have seen addiction to drugs and alcolhol do most of the damage

      • DavidBradshaw 4 years ago

        I think that the homeless need a lot more help, and we are all responsible.

      • Brian211978 4 years ago

        Hard for me to take a side, BUT, Not all homeless people are lazy, because I've seen some REALLY TRY! However, some people say that a minimum wage job can't support yourself. You don't have to live in a $700/mo apartment people! Don't HAVE to live in luxury! If you can't afford, MOVE! And if your already homeless, when you get your job, live as minimally as possible! Pay your rent, pay your utilities, pay your food!

      Criminal Records

      Homelessness, itself, is often a crime

      While homeless people do commit crimes, sometimes their only crime is being without a place to sleep. It often doesn't take long for them to get criminal records without doing anything wrong. The charges can be loitering, trespassing or unauthorized camping for falling asleep in a place not designated as a residence. Oddly enough, people with a house or an apartment who fall asleep in public are rarely charged with anything.

      In many cities in America, the state of being homeless is inherently illegal so getting a criminal record is pretty much inevitable if one has nowhere to live in those areas.

      Employers are turned off by criminal records and few will care to listen to explanations. Applicants without criminal records will almost always get preference.

      Even if a someone lucks out and avoids getting a criminal record, he or she will often be assumed to be a criminal and an addict if the applicant's un-housed status is discovered.

      photo by Simon Gray
      photo by Simon Gray

      Many are Disabled

      Disability is the inability to perform substantial work

      Whether physically or mentally ill, many homeless people are disabled by their illnesses. I've read the criticisms and assertions that those with mental illness just need to straighten up and get a job. The problem is that anyone mentally ill enough to be sleeping in a cardboard box isn't fit to work a job until he or she gets at least a little better. They aren't faking; they aren't just being too lazy to work. Mentally ill homeless people are just that - mentally ill.

      How could anyone possibly think that sleeping outside, getting frequently beaten and abused and suffering humiliation after humiliation is preferable to working and having a safe, comfortable place to sleep, protection from assault, and respect from your fellow man? If a person really thought that the horror of homelessness was better than working a job, wouldn't that be pretty insane in itself? It's not a choice. That strange, smelly homeless guy yelling nonsense at passersby is disabled by his mental illness.

      Some are physically too ill to hold down a job, too.

      So, if these people are disabled then why aren't they living in a cheap little apartment somewhere supported by Social Security Disability?

      They are often still in the process of applying for it. The first denial can take up to six months and the first appeal takes around 500 days. During that time the physically disabled with nowhere to live are both unable to work and not getting any income. Also, to get Disability, applicants must be available to be contacted and able to make it to appointments, sometimes hundreds of miles away. Sometimes those aren't even possible for homeless people. Being without an address might cause them to experience a delay too great in mail delivery making them disqualified to receive assistance for missing an appointment. Food assistance is often pretty much all they can get. That covers some of why the physically disabled homeless are out on the streets.

      Many of the mentally disabled who are living on the street are too messed up to get or hold down a job or sometimes even understand what is going on around them. If they are too disconnected or disaffected from reality to work a job how on earth are they going to navigate the process of filing for Disability?

      photo by Ben Yokitis
      photo by Ben Yokitis

      Addiction, Both Real and Imaginary, Keeps Homeless from Employment

      Not all are addicted to drugs but most people believe that they are, including employers

      Most people think this is the major reason homeless people don't get jobs and that may be true for many chronically homeless people. Addictions prevent them from looking for work and from getting hired if they do. The perception that all homeless people are drug-addicted criminals is possibly a greater barrier to their employment than actual drug addiction is.

      There's no doubt that addiction causes many people to remain homeless but it is by no means the reason all homeless people are without homes or why they are not working.

      Do you now have a better idea of why those living on the streets don't just get jobs?

      Did you learn anything about why people don't just get jobs and stop being homeless?

      See results

      © 2009 Kylyssa Shay


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        • Kylyssa profile image

          Kylyssa Shay 2 weeks ago from Overlooking a meadow near Grand Rapids, Michigan, USA

          I have gone through homelessness myself and bear the physical and emotional scars to prove it. Yes, there are many more reasons people can't get jobs other than the ones I listed. But I'm just one middle-aged autistic woman who barely survived homelessness; I can't change the way my country works. I wrote this page to counter the propaganda that claims all poor people are just lazy. You might be shocked by how many people actually believe that poverty equals moral bankruptcy instead of equaling an unjust distribution of resources.

        • John 2 weeks ago

          Do you apply this to one nation or only the United States their are 83,170 people that are chronically homeless in the USA . That means they are permanently unable to work period. Facilitating more economic equality in their country would help stabilize this common denominator. There are many reasons other than the ones you and I stated that would keep people from living life to its fullest. Perhaps we have to go through it ourselves to fully understand the complexity of the problem. Instead of portraying it as numbers on a spreadsheet. A very good topic that should be looked into more well done!

        • Rick 7 weeks ago

          @Jacob Goldstein

          It's very interesting to see how people are all painted by the same brush. I'm not homeless yet nor have I ever been. I used to make upwards of 150000 a year and never acted like you Jacob Goldstein. I know that money didn't make me a better person. I wonder if people like you had to say that to someone's face, could say the same thing? I doubt you would ever... You sound like a coward of a man that had everything handed to him on a silver platter. My guess is that mommy and daddy played a very prominent role in any success you may have achieved. This is just judging by the very ignorant additude you seem to be proud of. So back to making 150000 a year. Based on this income my wife and I decided to start and family. We have two beautiful children and we acquired the home and and a couple vehicles and a nice modest life. With me making so much my wife was able to sTay home and take care of our kids. That's what she wanted and what I wanted as I am a firm believer of the mom OR dad staying home to take care of them at least till they do to school instead of going to an all day daycare. I still have the same job that gave me the 150000 a year cause if I get a shift I make from about 500 to 1000 dollars but this year I've maybe worked 30 to 40 shifts. Sure I get maybe get a full time 11 dollar an hour job outside of my specialized area where I'm paid 45 dollars an hour but I make more currently working my specialized job a day here and there. That's not lazy that's being smart. Why would I work everyday for less? I would like to find something on top of my specializes job but I never know when they will call me to go to work so I can't coordinate this very well and usually just end up upsetting the side job when I cancel to go make 10 times as much. I've gone from an average of 150000 a year to about 33000 this year. I would not have made a family if I knew my career would plunder and I would make 33000. Next year it could be less. It may get to the point where I leave my career and try to find a menial job for menial pay, but this will not keep my family from being homeless. I can't afford my bills off two minimum wage jobs. Now this is even if I can find a menial job. I'm over qualified for menial jobs btw and under qualified for other specialized jobs. In trying to find fill in work I've probably applied for about 500 to 1000 jobs in the last year and a half. 2 interview haha. So what's to come? I will probably lose my wife and kids. This whole downturn has been the biggest eye opener for me about people. People seem so greedy. Ha I will still give a person change if he asks for it and I have. I'm just at the point of hoping that this happens to all the people who still have a job and are ignorant. Then I will just sit back and laugh. Ww3 would be nice also. Anything to get rid of the parasites known as humans that we have become. I'm now a born again communist transformed from a brainwashed capitalist. May you get cancer Jacob Goldstein or hot by a truck. Whatever hope it's painful. I'd like to know so I can laugh.

        • Question 3 months ago

          The struggle is real when homeless. The solutions aren't easy. Fixing the problem isn't impossible, but it's definitely a challenge. Has anyone ever HAD a place of residence, HAD a job, and STILL struggled to pay bills??

          Don't worry, I'll wait...

        • Kylyssa profile image

          Kylyssa Shay 6 months ago from Overlooking a meadow near Grand Rapids, Michigan, USA

          When I was healthy and owned my own home, I took in homeless teens, young adults, and a few older people. I also volunteered at charities that help people living in poverty such as food pantries, homeless shelters, and literacy programs. Now that I'm physically disabled, I provide content and web editing services to several charities free of charge. I haven't missed voting in a single presidential election since I started voting in 1988 and I vote in midterm elections, local elections, and primaries.

          If you have difficulty understanding how the issues listed on this page interfere with homeless people getting jobs, you may wish to actually read it without prejudging it, letting the words soak in one concept at a time. Think about your experiences with those same problems. For instance, what was the last job you got that did not require you to have any ID? Perhaps you could write an article about how to get a good-paying, legal job without ID. I assure you, it would be insanely popular and you'd save lives. You could even make a healthy sum of money off such a tutorial by selling it to the right publication. I know you won't write such a piece, not because you are cruel and don't want to give any tips to people who need them, but because there are no legal and successful tips, tricks, or techniques out there for getting a legal job without ID, much less one that pays the rent.

          Spend some time volunteering with people living in poverty and you'll see it isn't as black and white as you think it is and that poverty does not equate to moral bankruptcy.

        • Wesley 6 months ago

          You give great examples of why you shouldn't be able to work, how the system is broken and it is impossible to get work. You make it sound like the only "Responsible" thing to do is just Give Up. We all know this already, Why not give examples of how you can get a job? Different resouces you can utilize to help ones self or Family. How you can make the system work for you, how you can get back on your feet. Talk about success stories about people that come here and don't even speak the language and against all odds work and struggle and acheive the American dream. My father was a degenerate gambler who went through periods of homelessness, but while everyone in his family (12 Brothers and Sisters) and my mom went to work and paid their dues and raised and provided for their families, he made different choices, that according to you we now all have to pay for. In a sense you come across as if I should feel guilty because of peoples bad and irresponsible choices, unless your a Vet sufferring from the disease of war or mentally ill it's hard for me to understand your article. Do I hurt for the broken, hell yeah I do, especially the Children and the elderly. Do I do anything to help? ABSOLUTLEY I do, and raised my kids to do the same. Is there corruption in corporate America? Of course there is, are they shameless and evil? Of course they are, however, unless people start voting and making changes, its always going to be this way I think 40% of Americans don't vote (but I assure you they complain). I looked for a news channel that is unbiased and fair that gives both sides if the story, however, your just encouraging the helplessness that already exists. Lastly, I don't personally know you, however, you mentioned you were homeless, yet you turned your life around and kudo's to you. I wonder, do you let homeless people stay in your home to help them out? Do you do fundraising or donate to different causes to help others out. This is really important as well to help be the change you want to see in the world.

        • Shane McCausland profile image

          Shane McCausland 18 months ago

          Locally we have a place known as the "tree of woe". Its the same handful of bums that spend 12 hours a day hanging out in the same spot begging for change to buy beer and smokes. They have been doing this for years. They probably hit up various soup kitchens for food and they spend any money they suck out of the people in the community on beer and cigs.

          In this area there are programs to help get them on their feet, AND EVEN PROVIDE A HOME FOR THEM, but the literal only reason they dont want to do it is because they dont want to quit drinking.

          Its hard to feel sorry for these people, they are like parasites. Getting drunk literally everyday on the scraps they BEG off society. Jesus Christ.

        • Kylyssa profile image

          Kylyssa Shay 21 months ago from Overlooking a meadow near Grand Rapids, Michigan, USA

          I'm sorry about everything you've been through and about the difficulties you continue to face. Unfortunately, your story is one many women can relate to all too well.

          Remember to value yourself and be kind to yourself. I wish you all the best and I hope change comes your way very soon.

        • Penny 21 months ago

          Even domestic violence victims have a hard time in society - if we stay then we'll get beaten to death - but DIE in a nice middle class suburban elite home that is the one we grew up in back in the 70s before the domestic violence started. If we leave then we have nothing to sleep in but our cars because the only motels we can afford on what minimalist "limits" we could get on our credit cards, doesn't cover much - most motels that are decent and safe enough for a single woman to stay in without encountering MORE violence, are $1,000+ a month and there goes the credit limit in one month, not to mention food and gas and maintenance for the car to go back and forth to job interviews so we can get OUT of that situation. I now see why middle-class educated domestic violence victims choose to stay and get killed rather than leave and die on the streets or sleeping in the backs of their cars. Yeah, that's homelessness too, people. And I only know of ONE state which still has "guaranteed shelter" status for battered women and it's not a state which has any JOBS if you happen to be an overeducated, over-degreed MINORITY woman (New York). Plus which having lost front teeth from the battering, which doesn't help the GETTING A JOB part.

          Yeah, it's not our own fault that we get beaten up by the people we grew up with - and chose not to stay and try to fight back, winding up either dead or in jail or in jail over false accusations (because it was because he said I did something I didn't do and I was trying to defend myself and keep from getting "a record" for something someone else did...yes people, I'm a victim of domestic violence, exiled from the home I grew up in, over trying to keep the record clean of things I didn't DO.)

        • peachpurple profile image

          peachy 23 months ago from Home Sweet Home

          oh, i didn't know that with a job, the salary alone couldn't cover up the rent. Must be expensive

        • Barbara Kay profile image

          Barbara Kay Badder 24 months ago from USA

          We've helped out a few relatives when they were in this situation. The current economy is full of too many low paying jobs and too many part-time ones. Employers don't want to hire full-time help, so they aren't required to pay benefits. It is a sad situation and I didn't realize there were so many that do work.

        • skye2day profile image

          skye2day 24 months ago from Rocky Mountains

          Great hub precious Kylyssa. You have a great style! Thank you for all your hard research and work to put this out.

          I have family that are homeless. We have tried to help them as well as the state and numerous of entities. They do not want to live separate from each other. Many shelters are men only or woman only. There are family shelters but they all have rules. Up and out early and searching for work. Then a blow test upon return. No drinking or drugs. Drinking and drugs are of more importance to many than getting help. It is allot of work each day to go out and get the money to feed their flesh with desires. They do stay in hotels often. It is so sad but they do not want to change. Often times God is blamed for the lack. I am not condemning them or any homeless! ! My family lived with us to get on feet but their priorities were different from ours and It did not work. Not that I am all good because I too am sinner. Jesus is the heart changer and forgives our sin. Let us not forget the benefits God provides. (Psalm 103). It is a total miracle from God and by His grace we are not homeless. It is God we turn and in doing so He has always made the way. He has provided countless of times when our situation looked impossible! Almighty God always come through. God tells us, He will provide our needs according to His riches and Glory. (Philippians 4:19) What a glorious promise!! God is no respecter of people. If we belong to Jesus and He is our Lord and Savior than His children have inherited His promises. It is not easy because even Christians go through very difficult times. When we know God He tells us He will never leave nor forsake us. (Hebrews 11:1) Gods word is truth. He has given us thousands of promises. Why does He provide for us and not others? Many shun Jesus and His name. Jesus will twist no arms to come to Him. He knocks at the door but many choose to keep it shut. I know where my provision comes from and praise to God. He owns it all. The enemy of this world lurks to devour. He is father of lies.

          A measure of faith as a mustard seed is all one needs for faith to work. Faith comes by hearing and by hearing the word of God. (Romans 10:17) I am so blessed and I know it. God inhabits the praises of His people. (Psalm 22:3) Every good and lovely thing comes from above.

          I believe many of homeless do not want to work. So sad. Living on the streets is time consuming and hard work. Many become so adjusted to homeless it becomes a way of life. Begging bread each day is a norm. Scriptures say not to beg bread. Jesus was talking to HIS disciples. He told them He would provide. He made the way and their work was to share the good news. They lived in lack much of the time and much of the time lived in plenty. Paul lived in lack and he also experienced the finer things though the church of God. Paul learned how to be content in feast or famine. His joy was full in Jesus Christ. He knew His eternal home. It is all about Jesus for me as it should be. I am not perfect there is only one perfect. We all fall short the glory of God.

          May God increase your good works and bless you in a mighty way. Jesus is the way truth life. John 14:6

          One day Jesus will return there will be an end to sin.. There will be no more tears no more homeless. Oh Jesus come quickly.

          Jesus says to trust in the Lord God in all your ways and He will direct are path. (Proverbs 3: 5-6)

          Love to You. Shalom, Skye

          I voted and shared. Happy to meet you.

        • Jo_Goldsmith11 profile image

          Jo_Goldsmith11 24 months ago

          This is an Excellent top notch article you have written! So many heart breaking reality of what the true "state of our union" is in this country!

          What makes me so livid, is the GOP members who talk about wearing "bread bags over shoes", and talk on both side of their faces on what their "ideas are better" for the American people!

          This is a country where we shouldn't have to see people on the streets, hungary and lacking self esteem/self worth or reasons to live.

          Shared, tweet and Up +++. Excellent! So glad I found this article.

          You have lit the fire under me, to make sure this gets around a lot!`

          Things need to change for these people! And they deserve a good life as much as those cowards in Washington!

          Blessings for the work you are doing.

        • Kylyssa profile image

          Kylyssa Shay 2 years ago from Overlooking a meadow near Grand Rapids, Michigan, USA

          Compliments are very unsettling to me and it makes the likelihood of me having something intelligent to say drop like a rock. I also tend to fail to understand all of the rules of social etiquette unless I can read them somewhere and even then I often fail to properly generalize them. I had nothing coherent or valuable to add to the conversation so I abstained. Your comments are appreciated; I'm just an old dog still learning the new tricks and still flinching from compliments.

          As to low level jobs being easy as pie to get, it's important to remember that even fast food grease vat cleaner job openings get hundreds of applications. Also, many adult homeless people already have jobs, especially in states that do not comply with the federal minimum wage laws.

        • kenneth avery profile image

          Kenneth Avery 2 years ago from Hamilton, Alabama

          @Kylyssa . . .

          I noticed on Jan. 5, I had already left you my comment, but unlike the other writers, you never acknnowledged mine. Guess you were busy.

          I did vote UP and interesting on this hub. This homeless topic is not beautiful or funny, at least to me.

          You did a terrific job of displaying it in wors. Great job.

          And someone here mentioned politics.

          In my hometown, that is what runs things. Politics. If one of my friends were suddenly homeless, then the higher-level of people would have him and family into a great home with fixtures, him with a job, and all the foundations of life in 72 hours or less.

          It is whom you know where I live. I know a few upper crust lawyers, politicians, and a few powerful ministers of churches WHO DO NOT beg for money for themselves, but orphans, homeless, and those who cannot fend for themselves.

          I agree up to a point. A homeless person, with a little help in appearance including hygenine, etc., might land a minimum-paying job of taking care of the trash can, etc. at a restaurant, and make $8.00 or more an hour. Isn't that more than just living on hand-outs?

          I will shut up now.

          Happy New Year.

          Your Friend for LIfe,


        • kenneth avery profile image

          Kenneth Avery 2 years ago from Hamilton, Alabama


          Fantastic job of spotlighting a topic that we all needed to know more about. I applaud you for such a great read.

          I will tell you the truth. I really love this hub. And here are the reasons why:

          1. This is an excellent piece of writing. Simply amazing.

          2, I loved the way you worded this hub.

          3. Graphics, superb.

          4. This hub was helpful, informative and very interesting.

          5. Voted Up and all of the choices.

          6. I loved your topic.

          You are certainly a gifted writer. Please keep up the fine work.


          Kenneth Avery, Hamilton, Alabama

        • Kylyssa profile image

          Kylyssa Shay 2 years ago from Overlooking a meadow near Grand Rapids, Michigan, USA

          @susank33967: I am so sorry you are facing this. I know it's hard not to give up but please don't. Please contact your local DHS if you haven't already and please contact local charities. Even if a particular charity can't help you most of them tend to build up pretty extensive lists of contact information for other charities and they may know who can. Try to talk with your son about these issues. He surely loves you and it's important you remember that. I was a very young woman when I was homeless and it has taken a very long time to recover any feelings of self-worth so it's best to try to hang on to whatever shreds of it you have left. You are a person and I count you as a person. I hate that our culture makes people feel like you do right now. You worked all your adult life until you couldn't, you have raised a son, and you have contributed to society that whole time. In a sane world it would be time for society to help you out. Bodies wear out and it infuriates me that human beings get seen as only worth their ability to perform labor. You are so much more than that.

        • susank33967 2 years ago

          My son is 17.I am 52 and in very poor health,still fighting for disability.All our utilities will be shut off this week.The house is 93 degrees as I can't afford to use the air cond for the last 3 yrs.My prescriptions are sitting in a pharmacy for over a week. The car is empty of gas.We recently had child support end on 7/11. I have fought for the past 8 years to get our lives back.It is hopeless.Soon we will be evicted. This is Not how I envisioned our lives.I have worked since I was 18.Right out of school. I miss working at jobs I love.I miss being counted as a person.And I worry about my son and how this is all affecting him.I can write for hours here,but the ending is the same. Life is not worth living anymore.

        • pmiw 2 years ago

          @sweetstickyrainbo: My God your a genius, If every homeless person in the US ate everything on the ground and out of the garbage cans it would save so many starving American's and alien's. Unfortunately it would also lay off 20% of the sanitation worker's, causing another 100,000 homeless. All with illness due to unsafe food consumption. You should run for president of Russia.

        • Kylyssa profile image

          Kylyssa Shay 2 years ago from Overlooking a meadow near Grand Rapids, Michigan, USA

          @Loretta L: Thank you. I believe the poll modules are suffering a bug, possibly site-wide.

        • Loretta L profile image

          Loretta Livingstone 2 years ago from Chilterns, UK.

          For all the above reasons. I tried to vote in your poll - here and on another lens - but it wouldn't work for me. It must be incredibly difficult for homeless people to get jobs with so much against them. I have tried to explore just one of those reasons in my latest book. I didn't go into it too deeply, but I hope it will make people think. Your lens is certainly food for thought, and needs to be read.

        • Zeross4 profile image

          Renee Dixon 2 years ago from Kentucky

          This was very enlightening, I bet a lot of people don't think about the fact that homeless people have no address or phone (a big deal to many employers). Thanks for shedding some light on this!

        • chris-stols 3 years ago

          @CuppaJo: redicilous

        • anonymous 3 years ago

          oddly enough, SSDI is usually not enough to live off of, unless you've worked many, many years. so for the mentally ill, it may not even be avliable if you have trouble holding down a job.

        • kaseyrivenburgh profile image

          kaseyrivenburgh 3 years ago

          Enlightening lens. Thank you so much.

        • EpicEra profile image

          EpicEra 3 years ago

          Thank-you for your wonderful work!

        • pbrandon65 profile image

          pbrandon65 3 years ago

          There are so many false impressions about homeless people, and i'm glad that this lens dispel's some of these myths.

        • sweetstickyrainbo profile image

          sweetstickyrainbo 3 years ago

          I think a lot of definitions are largely for political effect. For instance, there are those believe that that are millions of "starving" Americans roaming the streets. Truly starving people will eat any edible thing. For instance, there would be no fruit on the ground when someone has a fruit tree and certainly none of it would rot. Also, you would never see have eaten things on the ground or in the trash. Half eaten is half uneaten...

        • Eric Mayo profile image

          Eric Mayo 3 years ago

          Homelessness is a big problem in this country. The middle class is rapidly shrinking as well as the American dream of owning a home. Great lens!

        • Kylyssa profile image

          Kylyssa Shay 4 years ago from Overlooking a meadow near Grand Rapids, Michigan, USA

          @courtney-odonnell-58: Nobody is better than you. Stories like yours break my heart and they are the very reason I write about homelessness. I'm trying to get those people who think they are better than us to look in their hearts and see homeless people as people. Most of it is ignorance and lies they've been fed. They actually think that there's a government handout for everyone and that homelessness is a choice!

          I wish so much that your life were easier and that you had a safe little apartment with the rent all paid where you and your family could live. Be careful and stay safe as best you can.

        • courtney-odonnell-58 4 years ago

          I am homeless, and I'm 14, I'm with my Mother, little sister, and little brother. We are not homeless because me or my Mom are lazy, it's because we can't get jobs, who would watch the kids while we work? I could, it's a 3 year old and a 9 year old, they are really easy to watch listen great, but there is no place to watch them at, we are paying day by day at a motel, trying to get by, I can't watch them outside, and we would not go to a shelter. Shelters are dangerous, I've seen women cursing at their newborn babies, and my Mother has been asulted at a shelter too. Also, everyday, we are out in the heat, or rain, or both, which ever florida has to offer, and all day, people think that they are better than us, and for those that think they are better than us, why, what makes anyone better than us?

        • anonymous 4 years ago

          Some were displaced by government actionAfter years 22 years of having a home family life world not just buying when market was great. I raised my sons single keep our home and tried saving more then you know! The housing /HUD is not able to help me with my extremely low limited income disability disabled. Truth housing / HUD need to change their system big time it doesn't work fair

        • CuppaJo profile image

          CuppaJo 4 years ago

          The thing about criminal records is spot-on. A FOAF of mine got arrested for public indecency for peeing in an alley...and guess what now he's a sex offender! Fortunately he is not homeless but if he tries to get another job any background check on him will bring that up.

        • anonymous 4 years ago

          @anonymous: LMAO What a foolish comment! You have no clue what a CDL class costs. THOUSANDS of dollars!!

        • Kylyssa profile image

          Kylyssa Shay 4 years ago from Overlooking a meadow near Grand Rapids, Michigan, USA

          @anonymous: Sorry about the slow reply. Beggars who are actually homeless are not usually the well-adjusted folks such as yourself who can keep clean. Homeless people can keep clean (I was homeless myself and managed to keep reasonably clean but not as clean as I prefer) but severely mentally ill homeless people and homeless people who are addicts, in other words, those most likely to actually beg, don't tend to do very well with personal hygiene.

        • anonymous 4 years ago

          @Kylyssa: I'm glad you challenged Janice's statement that homeless people trying to improve themselves is a rarity. That is absolute nonsense and the number one problem with trying to solve a complex social problem based on just our individual perceptions. There are millions of struggling Americans who despite their hard work are losing ground and, in many cases, a place to live. And as you point out, there are many mentally ill homeless people as well.

        • crystalwriter profile image

          Crystal A Murray 4 years ago from Corydon, Indiana, USA

          @anonymous: I didn't stay long, either, Pamela, but it gave me good fodder for a novel I've been working on for a few years. Of course, my main character will find a way to make things work, and that's kind of a way I can have success over my own troubles and trials. I originally came from California as well, but when I left Nevada, I ended up in Arizona, which is where I'll be placing my character in the end.

        • anonymous 4 years ago

          In economically depressed areas in an economically recessed economy and hiring preferences (thus discrimination for the unprefered) homelessness is an outcome of unemployment, not the cause. They don't pay 5 to 10 cents a can for recycling, or that might help. 2 cents isn't enough. Some people want you to work for free...not food, not shelter, not trade...but as a slave. Weird world. The solution is equity in hiring.

        • anonymous 4 years ago

          @crystalwriter: I found out the hard way trying to live in Nevada and get a teaching job about that "sheriff's ID card" thing; in California we don't have any such ID card to prove we have no criminal record. I have my school district teacher ID badge and school district paystubs that "prove" I have no criminal record as in, I GOT THE JOB didn't I, but in Nevada that was no-go. I was presumed to have a criminal record because in spite of teaching credentials in several other states, I didn't have the thing THEY seem to take for granted, proving no criminal record. Not every state is like that. I moved along out of Nevada after a couple of months.

        • anonymous 4 years ago

          I feel guilty not able to do something for them. I am very sad. Thank you for sharing.

        • anonymous 4 years ago

          @Kylyssa: I disagree with the clean statement. I'm 31 I have been living out of a jeep for 2 years. I bath daily, Granted its in my jeep , I use a plastic container and bottled water. So Yes you can shave and stay clean. I do not panhandle however because if I can't earn the money I don't want it. However as of late I earning has been more difficult... Living off 65 dollars a wk I get from donating plasma is becoming impossible. I do get Snap, or foodstamps, but when you take into account driving around looking for work, gas, no phone it becomes more of an impossabilty. I could always leave my jeep yes take a bus. But you also have to take into account that most places don't like your car being left there, so you run the risk of being towed or broken into. An when its all you have last thing you want is to lose it. Also you have to take into the account of homelessness, people that have been doing it awhile give up. You can only do this stuff for so long and expect things to get better. Cause statistically it doesn't. You can look for work but like he said no phone or addy is complicated. Driving around looking for work is expensive. My jeep is an old 92 cherokee, it sucks gas. Its falling apart and no work = no money to maintain or fix it. Id like to go back to school, but seems I been out for 13 years Id need grants, Nobody is doing a LOAN for someone who has no money or income or address for that matter. A realistic grants not the pay this for info is a rarity for anyone over 24

        • crystalwriter profile image

          Crystal A Murray 4 years ago from Corydon, Indiana, USA

          @Kylyssa: Kylissa, I wish I could put "like" on your comment about the anti-panhandling laws. Funny, even though I was there and was afraid to panhandle for myself, I guess I had separated myself so much from those bad memories that I didn't even think about the fact that most actually homeless people would not likely be panhandling. It's embarrassing and humiliating for one thing. When I was out there, I had specific patterns I created for survival, one which included a McDonald's garbage can where someone cared enough to begin putting bags on top of the can shortly before I would arrive each night. That person may have never known how truly grateful I was for that simple gesture as I'm only 4'10" and digging was quite difficult. Almost 30 years later, I still pray for that person to be blessed for his or her act of kindness. Also, I agree with the under 30 and clean being a good way to determine if they're faking.

        • Kylyssa profile image

          Kylyssa Shay 4 years ago from Overlooking a meadow near Grand Rapids, Michigan, USA

          @anonymous: They are probably trying to prevent the giant homeless shelter from having a negative effect on the community by attracting beggars to the area. They probably feared that beggars would use proximity to the shelter to aid in their panhandling. If beggars clustered up near the homeless shelter community pressure would probably shut it down. I've worked in homeless shelters under attack from the community simply because people didn't like to see the line of ragged homeless people waiting outside to get in. I fully support anti-panhandling laws because a) many panhandlers are faking homelessness b) when people see panhandlers they think most homeless people panhandle when, in fact, only a tiny percentage actually do and c) money given to panhandlers could be going to help actually homeless people in appropriate ways.

        • anonymous 4 years ago

          Wow. I was under the impression that the law that was passed was because they couldn't get people to use the shelter. I have no idea why would they would pass a law preventing church organizations and normal everyday people from providing any type of help to those on the streets.My sister who lost all form of identification finally got hers in and is working now. It is not easy to get on your feet even when u might have someone helping you out. But it is possible. Luckily we do have food banks and shelters for people who choose to use them. I don't like to see anyone without. Unfortunately many experiences with those you have described as being frauds ruin it for those who are not.

        • Kylyssa profile image

          Kylyssa Shay 4 years ago from Overlooking a meadow near Grand Rapids, Michigan, USA

          @anonymous: I assume you are talking about Haven of Hope in San Antonio. According to their website they house 1400 homeless men, women, and children per day right now and are working at capacity. The facility is still under construction and will also have 150 supportive housing units in 2013. It sat empty from 2006 to 2010 because it was under construction. Homeless people could not legally stay in Haven for Hope before it was open. Their website at shows they are still in need of donations, wish list items (particular items the shelter needs for the people it serves), and volunteers including receptionists and spiritual service providers. Empty shelters don't need those things. After years of working with homeless people and taking homeless teens and young adults into my home, I'd have to say you are wrong about homeless people not trying to get out of homelessness. Over 80% of the teens and adults I took in found work and homes, some in under a month. And I'm not counting the elderly schizophrenic woman who I helped get into a group home. The rest required mental health care I was not equipped to provide but I did the best I could and encouraged them to get the professional help they needed. I agree with not giving money to beggars. Many beggars are not even homeless. In my experience, most beggars who actually are homeless are either severely physically disabled (usually war veterans) or, more often, severely mentally ill. If you see someone begging who doesn't seem either severely mentally ill (often unable to groom or bath properly, frequently missing a lot of teeth, and usually looking very worn) or physically disabled that person is probably a con man with a home. In my experience, most beggars who are under thirty and clean are not homeless.

        • anonymous 4 years ago

          Idk how it is in other states but here in Texas we have many things available to help the homeless. San Antonio built a huge homeless shelter that was designed to help feed, clothe, medicine if any kind, shelter, and get jobs for the homeless and was located right next to where most of the cities homeless congregate. The building sat almost empty for so long that city passed a law that the churches and others, even normal citizens, would get fined if caught giving money or food to the homeless or beggars in an attempt to get them to use the services provided for them. Like I said, here in Texas we do have many things available for those who need care but unfortunately, like San Antonio's helper showed was that most of their homeless didn't want to work to get better. People like y'all who were homeless and truly trying to get better are a rarity.

        • crystalwriter profile image

          Crystal A Murray 4 years ago from Corydon, Indiana, USA

          I don't know if it's still this way, but many years ago as a homeless person in Las Vegas, Nevada, I could not get a job without a Sheriff's ID card. The card had a cost of $15 (I think) and that was IF I had identification to prove I was who I said I was. So, if I didn't have proof of my identity PLUS money, how could I get a job to get the money to get the needed ID and money. It's a viscous circle for many homeless people, and it's rare for someone (as mentioned by another responder) to find an employer or trainer who will allow you into a class with no address, no money, and often no clean clothes. Plus, since many homeless people are victims of crimes that include the theft of anything personal, they often have no ID of any kind, let alone the two forms required by INS for employment. Finally, it's heartbreaking, though, that there are people who take advantage of those who would help homeless people by imitating that terrible state of existence just to get handouts or to otherwise victimize giving people. Those who do wrong in the name of homelessness are a big part of the reason for so many not being helped until they can prove their need (which often makes them feel even more victimized). It's the same reason so many of us won't pick up a hitchhiker who may desperately need a ride to get some place important or just to keep from getting sunburned or dehydrated. More laws get created to protect people and the evil ones find more ways to circumvent them and create more fear in those who would love to just do good for others without risk of harm, theft, injury, or deception.

        • anonymous 4 years ago

          While my husband was going to school for his CDL licence, (Commercial Drivers License), he was going to school with a homeless man. This man was living under an overpass and eating at the food bank. He finished the class which is 3 weeks long. He got an over the road job, which means his truck has a sleeper in it, and all he has to pay for is his food. The rest of the money he makes goes in his pocket. I believe that if people are homeless and really want to get out of it they will. There are plenty of things set up out there to help people get jobs and appartments. The Salvation Army is a huge helper for those who want to get on their feet. I should know, my mother has used them plenty of times. The issue is, those who don't, don't want to, and those who do, do want to. Unless someone is physically or mentally unstable there is no excuse.

        • texasmegtorelli 4 years ago

          I am on disability,now- I fought to get it for 8 yrs. Much to my chagrin, I can't find ANY way to get an apartment on nearly $700 a month- and they cut my food stamps to 30 bucks as well.. its neverending- a cycle that never stops. The system is made to torture the poor, and then we are complained about by the Republicans and the rich, for receiving the money, thinking all we do is spend it on drugs or drink it up- while in some cases that may be true, with the cost of living as it is, no openings in the housing authority waiting lists, and no way to supplement your income without being involved in crime- and thus, furthering the cycle- what do people with disabilities do?? I can't live in a shelter due to social anxiety- my anxiety is so bad that I can't be touched, hardly- this is due to my abuse and PTSD as a result. I don't sleep- I have insomnia- and while I am lucky enough to stay temporarily with my father at the moment, he is an alcoholic and just as bitter as I am about the meager amount of help we get- we are really struggling. To be independent is not possible on disability without housing help, family, or renting a room in the ghetto. I bought an RV with my recent back payment for SSI, and am working on getting a license (I never learned to drive.) Even if I have to shower at truck stops or eat at soup kitchens for the rest of my days, at least I don't have to sleep being kicked or beaten by cops, nearly raped, roaches crawling everywhere, and being pissed on by a snickering college kid when I slept in an alleyway. I've woken up to hands touching all over me, someone literally sleeping on my sleeping bag WITH me that I didn't know, and being beaten by a baseball bat by a methed out psycho. Ive faced charges for attempted murder and 8 other felonies I NEVER committed due to being in the wrong place at the wrong time (and yes, I'm telling the truth. When you call the cops and save someone's life, evidently you are an accomplice, even though you did so.) Luckily my charges were dropped.. but I faced 30 to life- for something I would never have done in the first place. And of course, with constant police harassment, I have a million tickets for trying to sleep- anywhere. My friend is facing manslaughter charges for fighting back when she was raped. There is no end.

        • anonymous 4 years ago

          Things happen in life we can't always control i know that myself as I am homeless and working...The shelters here are full and im staying in a hotel which means saving money for an apartment is unheard of...housing even with my income is more than I receive after taxes and utilities near the same. There really is no help out there for the middle class homeless because they don't look at what is being deducted from your paycheck...they jus see the before and you get the response..."well I don't undertand,you have a good job and make a good salary"....this gets so old. I love this article as it really puts a persective on the issue at hand that you can never judge a book by its cover.

        • lesliesinclair profile image

          lesliesinclair 4 years ago

          Thank you for your presentation of this beautiful lens. Your selections and your writing are top notch.

        • lesliesinclair profile image

          lesliesinclair 4 years ago

          For all the reasons stated above, "just" getting a job is tough. Even when they don't have a job, they deserve respect.

        • esvoytko lm profile image

          esvoytko lm 4 years ago

          A tremendously important lens. Thanks for bringing a compassionate and grounded perspective to a serious problem.

        • Adrijan 4 years ago

          1 homeless people do not have identity documents, without identity documents no one will give them a job2 homeless people have no home, permanent residence, to be able to get any indentitiy documents3 likely to have had credits and have lost their jobs, believe or not they too have worked just as you, but life is pushed them into a life of homelessnessSo don't judge, on homless people if u don't know them life story.And sorry for my bad english

        • Kylyssa profile image

          Kylyssa Shay 4 years ago from Overlooking a meadow near Grand Rapids, Michigan, USA

          @anonymous: Yes, it did occur to me and that is why it is in the segment above with the handcuff photograph right next to it. I'd actually say that public intoxication is further down the list than sleeping in public and public urination. Some cities call sleeping in public illegal camping. Also, many homeless men carrying the sex offender label got it for indecent exposure which is often code for public urination. They'll arrest a homeless man for indecent exposure for peeing outside even if no one could see his parts at any time during the process.

        • Kylyssa profile image

          Kylyssa Shay 4 years ago from Overlooking a meadow near Grand Rapids, Michigan, USA

          @anonymous: Why comment on something you didn't read? I wrote this entire article explaining why homeless people very reasonably can't just go get a job like it is easy. How does that make me a hypocrite? When I was homeless I had people yell "Get a job!" a lot, including a stupid convenience store clerk who yelled it in my face when I asked her for a job application!I'm a previously homeless person and homeless activist. I was beaten by the society types you mention and raped by a few upstanding homed citizens on top of it. This series of articles on homelessness is intended to change those attitudes both to get people to stop hating and start helping homeless people and to stop people from turning a blind eye on violence against homeless people.

        • anonymous 4 years ago

          Did it ever occur to anyone that the criminal backgrounds for the homeless don't primarily consist of theft? They mostly have loitering, peddling, and public intox charges. Maybe you should check your BJS statistics before you create books on what you don't understand...

        • anonymous 4 years ago

          Homeless people are not lazy. The hypocrites that wrote this page obviously don't understand that many of the homeless have serious mentall illnesses and some have addictions. You have to be pretty creative to survive on the street. It is a lot of work to stand on a corner peddling for dollars or wash cars to support the choice medication that keeps you warm. There is never a moment a homeless person is not looking over their shoulders and mostly they are protecting themselves from being kicked or hit by society types who don't understand why they are homeless!If getting job was easy in today's society - you wouldn't being looking to lock people out of employment who have survived layoffs during Recession years.

        • ifuturz 4 years ago

          People need to stop blaming

        • anonymous 4 years ago

          People need to stop blaming them and give them a chance. Other's think they are all high and mighty because their husbands are taking care of them, or they were blessed with parents who sent them to college and have gobs of support. Support is a main issue without any family is a main issue. Other's do not help them because they are in that competitive mind set not cooperative. Most people just do not have the time because they are so busy keeping up with the Jone'es themselves. Listen people everyon's equal and everyone's valuable. If you've got extra time and or money I would suggest helping these people out instead of let's say animal organizations. All's i'm saying is humans should help other human beings after we got that squared away start heping the animals. We should all take care of each other and make it first priority. Love Peace Harmony. We do not all come from the same background.

        • sherioz 4 years ago

          It's easier for people to think that the homeless are just lazy and prefer to live on handouts. It gives people a sense of control over their own lives, thinking that it cannot happen to them because they are not lazy and do have jobs. Thanks for this lens. Very stereotype-breaking.

        • anonymous 5 years ago

          @anonymous: Sorry for the some of the words that don't quite make sense, Safari automatically re-worded a lot of this for me!

        • anonymous 5 years ago

          This was excellent it was only yesterday when I walked past a homeless person and he asked if I had any change and I for some reason instantly say "Sorry No". Even so the man replied O.K god bless, me and my girlfriend both said ahh I want to give him some and we couldn't resist but to turn around and give him some. I asked my girlfriend her opinion on why she always chooses not to give homeless people money because I genuinely could not answer that question myself, it's as though saying no is ported as the normal yet it ways it's not humane to look down at another when you know yourself your no better. After yesterday it really made me want to quest why homeless people cannot get a job, I really couldn't figure it out but what I do know is yesterday was an nice-breaker and giving something so small to someone to make a difference to their whole day gives me a warming feeling because I know it's something I've wanted to do.. yet never done it for a reason I cannot answer myself. After reading this it has cleared up many things and i think it is ashamed for those who are portrayed as drug users when in fact they would use the money for better use. P.S i also used your tip feature and gave you some money. All the best and chin up :)

        • anonymous 5 years ago

          I think you have covered the topic of why homeless people don't just get jobs with excellence, its a complicated issue for so many and our system certainly seems to had to the load of making it even more complicated for the homeless and others who have similar experiences, even more complicated. Done with expertise and excellence....blessed.

        • sharioleary profile image

          Shari O'Leary 5 years ago from Minnesota

          This is a nicely written lens. Good job!

        • Edutopia 5 years ago

          Great lens. People who think that the homeless are just being lazy often fall victim to the Just World fallacy and can not accept that in a just world bad things can happen to good people; ergo if bad things are happening to them they must deserve it.

        • anonymous 5 years ago

          There aren't many good jobs available and even with minimum wages jobs employers are being way too's kinda like the housing bubble for employers...when is it going to crash? I mean needing a college degree to be a dog walker? Or a food handling certificate for Subway? Give me a break!

        • fireblazzer profile image

          fireblazzer 5 years ago

          the whole situatiuon is screwed up.. in general.

        • David Dove profile image

          David Dove 5 years ago

          a new insight, thank you

        • neoglitch17 5 years ago

          Once again, very enlightening information on the situation of homeless people. Now it is understandable that for some the only means of survival is begging for money.What pisses me off is that there are SOME (not all, of course) people that DO have homes yet they resort to begging for money because of pure laziness. Some are missing an arm or a leg, yet you can clearly see they are healthy people capable of doing work. But they don't even try to find a job; begging is easier and more comfortable... and also surprisingly profitable.Thanks for sharing!

        • anonymous 5 years ago

          @anonymous: It seems like Spokane's Union Gospel Mission has a lot to say about national homelessness. There are too many people in Spokane living off the government for anyone to find a job.

        • RhondaSueDavis profile image

          RhondaSueDavis 5 years ago

          Wow, thank you for giving so much in depth content on this ever growing and present american condition. Very helpful. Humanizing. On line. thanks again.

        • BlueStarling profile image

          BlueStarling 5 years ago

          For the reasons you stated -- they're all valid.

        • anonymous 5 years ago

          Great lens. While we are not homeless, we are underemployed. My main line of freelance work is getting hard to make money in due to over-saturation. I have look for PT and FT jobs but there are other problems that come with it. Self Employed Freelance does not seem to fill in the gap for some employers. Age and a slight preexisting physical problem is another. It is an Employers market for now so the Employer can be picky all they want. Just got to keep trying though.

        • anonymous 5 years ago

          @anonymous: So presumably your spouse "chose" to be homeless. The person who posted his guide "chose" this awesome-sounding lifestyle too, and I bet she'd be just thrilled to hear that. And if your "rainy day" funds are eaten up by medical bills or some other unforeseen circumstance, then whatever unpleasant situation you find yourself in will be a result of your own bad choices too. Or are these "good" homeless people, the ones you can "count on 1 hand", only the ones you know intimately? Good on you for doing the work that you do, but you can't know the life stories and inner motivations of hundreds of people, it's not humanly possible. If you ever get tired of judging people by their outward appearance, you could maybe start by asking *why* they made those bad choices.*I dated an Italian once, and he was horrible. My next-door neighbours are Italian too, and they play their music much too loud and it does my head in. As such, I have come to the conclusion that all Italians are pasta-munching sociopaths, and should be deported from this country ASAP. Except...I haven't, really. Because I know that it's daft to judge a large group of people on a few anecdotal negative experiences. Especially when, unlike Italians, homeless people have enormous systemic disadvantages to deal with - while the behavior you described is not excusable, their situation does make it a little bit more understandable. (desperation + nothing to lose + why care about a society which has demonstrated that it doesn't care for me = taking a little fun when you can get it, regardless of whether it hurts other people or not. Obviously though, what they did was *not* ok). Am I reading your post right when I say that you've been there for four years, and that's the first time something as bad as that has happened? Surely if homeless people were as lawless and anti-social as you say they are, your phone would have been stolen years ago? Still, thanks for spreading a little more prejudice around.

        • anonymous 5 years ago

          @anonymous: Do I sound a little bitter? Should I add that after 4 years of volunteering, one of these so called homeless folks, stole my cell phone (yeah, I am job hunting), took pictures of himself and all his friends happily smoking crack, then sold the phone back to one of my colleagues. Since I didn't want to pay for endless phone calls on my phone, my friend anxiously paid the "fee" and they all took off and bought more drugs.

        • anonymous 5 years ago

          My spouse was homeless. I know hundreds of homeless people. For the most part, they choose drugs, alcohol, breaking the law, making bad choices, etc...over being responsible, law-abiding citizens who contribute to society. I deal with them almost daily through a volunteer job. I can count on 1 hand how many times I have come across someone who was homeless through no fault of their own. Homelessness, is a choice. Hate to break it to you all. By the way, I am not rich, but considering I am disabled and knew I would be unemployed someday, I planned for "a rainy day".

        • Lady Lorelei profile image

          Lorelei Cohen 5 years ago from Canada

          I hope it is okay if I feature a couple of your homeless lenses on an article about a friend of mine. If not please private message me to let me know. Thank you. Best wishes.

        • Kylyssa profile image

          Kylyssa Shay 5 years ago from Overlooking a meadow near Grand Rapids, Michigan, USA

          @rewards4life info: Do you mean formerly well-off people becoming homeless? Some formerly upper class or formerly upper-middle class homeless people I dealt with took it all harder, tended to get angrier and louder and demanded services more loudly than homeless people in general. Other formerly well-off homeless people I've served or dealt with were slightly quicker to turn around, slightly more able to use resources available to them. But for the most part, formerly rich or well-off homeless people seem pretty much the same as everyone else. However, a few formerly well-off homeless people hold on to their fear and disgust toward homeless people permanently and continue to feel they are better than everyone else, that their situation is surely a mistake or a fluke. Not too many are like that but, boy, are they memorable! I think that formerly well-off homeless people sometimes take it far harder emotionally, too. They are not even used to just scraping by in a home and they are used to people listening to them. Financially better off people aren't homeless but formerly financially well-off people become homeless regularly. Aside from one-in-a-million type cases wherein a wealthy person becomes mentally ill to the point he becomes homeless due to his illness, there are no wealthy or well-off homeless people.

        • rewards4life info profile image

          rewards4life info 5 years ago

          What a great lens, a very touching and eye opening read. It would be interesting to see how people in a financially better situation would cope if they were homeless, would they have the same opinions? Sometimes no matter how hard we try life throws us a bad hand, as long as you stay positive and keep getting back up then your a winner. I hope it helps to make people understand a bit more about being homeless. Very nice lens.

        • happynutritionist 5 years ago

          I was touched at the heart by reading this, I shared some thoughts above in the "duel" module, but here want say that I've chosen this lens to "love" for the Valentine's Day Quest. Thank you for turning a difficult time in your life into something to bless others.

        • Paul Ward profile image

          Paul 6 years ago from Liverpool, England

          Bar christmas food runs I've not worked with the homeless. I have trained unemployed people (IT skills) and know the difficulties they face -- magnified hugely if you're homeless.

        • PNWtravels profile image

          Vicki Green 6 years ago from Wandering the Pacific Northwest USA

          This lens is a great eye-opener to help people understand how homelessness happens. Blessed by a SquidAngel.

        • javr profile image

          javr 6 years ago from British Columbia, Canada

          Returned to bless this lens.

        • dannystaple 6 years ago

          During my work as a student welfare officer, I came into contact with an Unemployed Community Resource Centre, and learned an awful lot about this situation. Part of it's remit was to provide ways to give people skills, help them fill in forms and get them back on their feet. It even had a shower facilities to give people somewhere to sort themselves out for an interview. It was an inspiring place - although sadly it didn't last.

        • anonymous 6 years ago

          I am a Lawyer and found this lens having good and informative information about homeless people.I hope homeless people get jobs soon.

        • lollyj lm profile image

          Laurel Johnson 6 years ago from Washington KS

          In our days of working with an area homeless shelter, ALL the homeless adults were working one or more jobs. Once a family has lost their well-paying job, savings and their home, it's very difficult to accumulate enough money for a rental deposit or down payment on a house. No matter how many part time minimum wage jobs they work, it's never enough to regain their previous financial status. Excellent lens!! Lensrolled.

        • Allison Whitehead profile image

          Allison Whitehead 6 years ago

          Another outstanding and challenging lens. Thought provoking - and it has stayed with me. Thank you.

        • Kylyssa profile image

          Kylyssa Shay 6 years ago from Overlooking a meadow near Grand Rapids, Michigan, USA

          @anonymous: Those programs do not apply to everyone equally. They are mainly for two parents with children families or single mother with child(ren) families. They do not apply to single people without children and sometimes they don't apply to single father with child(ren) families. And working homeless people may not qualify either, no matter their family structure, simply because they are working.So only some homeless people qualify for aid. Most qualify for food assistance but they can't use their food card to rent a place.It's a common misconception that there are programs out there for people who become homeless. It's why so many newly homeless people are shocked by their situation. They lose their home for whatever reason and then they apply for aid but many of them do not qualify for one reason or another.

        • anonymous 6 years ago

          This still doesn't make much sense. I thought you could get some compensation like welfare if you don't have a job, or a house, or whatever... I mean, some people are just not educated about it, I guess, but most people know what welfare is. Why don't they look for that kind of help? Is it lack of education, mental health, and confidence?

        • Stazjia profile image

          Carol Fisher 6 years ago from Warminster, Wiltshire, UK

          This is a great lens for correcting preconceptions that may people have about homeless people. It's rarely a lifestyle choice or the result of laziness. Blessed by an Angel.

        • calendarsblog profile image

          calendarsblog 6 years ago

          I think in this economy it's pretty obvious that not everybody can get a job. So thinking that's the solution to homelessness (regardless of whether it's even a factor) is for people to 'just get a job' is naïve at the very least. Great lens. You've done a great job on making us all understand homelessness a bit better on your lenses.

        • anonymous 6 years ago

          I challenge any person who criticizes the homelessand says they are that way because they don't try hard enough, who is well off enough to take time off from work to get up right now, empty your pockets, wallet and purses of every penny, bank card and credit card and walk out of your front door. Oh, and leave the cell phone behind,too. Wander around for a few days. Wash your face and rinse your mouth in a public restroom. JUST PRETEND you are homeless. It could NEVER BE THE REAL THING FOR YOU because you still have the security of a job and home waiting for you if you FAIL at being more creative than a homeless person. Now that you're good and stinky from no bath and sleeping wherever - go get a job. Tell the people where you're applying that your company downsized and you lost everything because it's taking a little longer than you thought to find employment, but that you are a highly experienced, excellent worker in your field. Remember, you have no address or phone number to put on the application. You'll have to wait for their reply or check back daily because your phones are cut off. You only have the one suit that you are now wearing because you couldn't pay the storage facility where you put all of your belongings when you were evicted, because, like you already said, you couldn't find a job. Tell them this. Go live like a homeless person, get a job, get a home, get a phone, get a car, get everything you have right now starting with nothing. When you're done, write a book about how it's done and guarantee every homeless person in America that if they will just read your book and take your advice, they'll be off the streets in no time. When you get copies of your book, put them in the new car you got after you were homeless and drive around the nearest big city looking for people holding signs stating their need for a job. Offer to give them the book free if they'll cut your grass or some other job that's worth $25.00 and don't forget to remind them that you absolutely guarantee you know the way to get a homeless person off the street. Guaranteed to work or they can come live with you!

        • norma-holt profile image

          norma-holt 6 years ago

          Just had to come back here with my new wings and bless this lens. Thank you for opening our eyes to what some go through. Featured under people on my blessed lens.Norma

        • LadyelenaUK profile image

          LadyelenaUK 6 years ago

          Interesting Article - I would like to address the point of Homeless people with jobs. In the UK for example, priority is given to asylum seekers / refugees over the core British Citizens. So, people are forever pushed down on the waiting list. I addressed this in one of my articles on Hubpages. Homelessness - Government striking a Balance.Your lens deals with a serious and sensitive issue. Also, sometimes people are thrown on the street because their landlord wasn't keeping up mortgage payments. Court gives eviction date, poor tenant gets it in the back and is thrown out.We need to tread softly on this issue. Great read though.

        • renovatio06 6 years ago

          Minus the actual homelessness (for living in a country with some remains of a social security system for the "drop outs" from the regular workforce), I must admit that I've come to experience many of the above described facts from firsthand experience. It is a very sobering, brutal experience to be faced with the fact that for most people a person is actually just worth as much as they make as far as income. It is a brutal cleanser as far as dropping false beliefs is concerned.

        • KOrazem profile image

          Seeking Pearls 7 years ago from Pueblo West

          Thank-you Kylyssa for sharing these incredible and heart rendering experiences. I hope that your readers will gain the insights necessary to a fuller understanding of this epedemic in America and further will gain empathy and compassion for Homeless PEOPLE. Many Blessings!

        • Webcodes LM profile image

          Webcodes LM 7 years ago

          Well written.. I always want to contribute some money when I see them begging but you can never tell what they will spend it on. 5 *

        • best-intentions profile image

          best-intentions 7 years ago

          Thanks for publishing this lens! This is a topic near and dear to me. Having been homeless myself at a few points in time, and having friends that still are (and not for any lack of trying); I understand the challenges that homelessness, and poverty in general, poses. When people turn a blind eye to their neighbors, I wonder if they realize how quickly they themselves could fall into the same situation. A medical emergency, lack of health care-coverage....etc. could easily put folks on the street. A bad day at the office is a hundred times easier than a good day at the shelter (if you are lucky enough to get a bed at one)!You presented your information in a concise, informative, and non-judgmental manner. Kudos to you!

        • Commandrix profile image

          Heidi 7 years ago from Benson, IL

          This is a well thought-out lens on homelessness. 5* and faved.

        • Ramkitten2000 profile image

          Deb Kingsbury 7 years ago from Flagstaff, Arizona

          Wow, you've handled this subject SO well! I've known for as long as I can remember that there are lots of different circumstances that lead to homelessness. I think it was my dad who taught me that, when we saw a former professor, then homeless, in a Boston subway station when I was a young child.

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          writernewbie 7 years ago

          I have to admit that I normally scan through lenses with heavy content...but your writing style sucked me in from the first line to the last. VERY nicely done. I feel like your lens taught me a few things I hadn't considered before, and in my opinion, this is what makes a great lensmaster. Awesome, awesome!

        • HappySeasons LM 7 years ago

          Life is made up of choices. And being homeless is one of them. It isn't a pleasant choice for most people. But it isn't the end either. No matter how lousy this economy gets, all the homes and structures you see will still be there a year later. Life is figureoutable! Matt :)

        • norma-holt profile image

          norma-holt 7 years ago

          There must be a solution to this problem. When governments can spend billions going to war to blow other people up then surely they can find some money for these poor wretches. I have met and befriended many homeless people in my work and what you are saying here is all too apparent. Unfortunately those who are not homeless don't speak up in their defense. This is another great lens Kylyssa and I am lens rolling it to my overpopulation and other lenses. Well done and thanks

        • oztoo lm profile image

          oztoo lm 7 years ago

          Thanks for this excellent lens. It's all too easy to point a finger and say why don't they help themselves, but as you so clearly explain, its just not that simple.

        • divacratus 2 profile image

          divacratus 2 7 years ago

          Wow. You know I had created a lens on funny signs for homeless people, and I was wondering about this very same thing -- why aren't homeless people getting jobs if they are talented? I hope this doesn't make me sound cruel -- because it was a genuine doubt. You created a lens on this. Thanks for clearing stuff up. I feel for the homeless and I couldn't decipher why they don't get employed. This cleared up a lot of (if not all) of my doubts.

        • jtnert 7 years ago

          nice lens! a lot of people have the wrong perception of homeless people

        • mysticmama lm profile image

          Bambi Watson 7 years ago

          Another stellar lens!...Blessed!

        • Swagger1 7 years ago

          Nice and detailed lens. I hope you have a better life now. This offers an informative perspective about an important social issue.

        • strayspay profile image

          strayspay 7 years ago

          Excellent lens and worthy topic. Five stars.

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          Samantha Devereux 7 years ago from Columbia Mo

          Fantastic lens, Thank you for sharing!

        • JB-III profile image

          JB-III 7 years ago

          After reading this lens, I have a totally different perspective of homeless individuals.

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