Why Don't Homeless People Just Get Jobs?

Updated on August 23, 2017
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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, freeimages.com
photo by Eric Ortner, freeimages.com

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, freeimages.com
photo by Shan Dun, freeimages.com

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.

No Comments:

  • No, I do not think all homeless people are lazy. But there are people who claim to be homeless and exploit others. I truly believe many people are homeless through no fault of their own but, although it's not right, I tend to remember the bad ones. - strayspay
  • I think that various circumstances lead to homelessness. I couldn't imagine any individual saying to themselves, "I think I'd rather live on the street, with no permanent place to lay my head at night, as opposed to working like the rest of society." At the same time, I feel that addictions play a large part in homelessness. Many working and contributing citizens to society find themselves rapped up in an addiction that over-takes them, that consumes the very essence of who they are. All in all, I would have to answer the specific question as "no", I do not think that people choose to be homeless just for the sake of not getting a job. And that's my four cents. ;) - writernewbie
  • I think it can be a spiral; people lose their jobs and then their homes, and then it becomes that much harder to get a job. Are there lazy homeless people? You betcha; there are always going to be people who exploit the system or just plain don't have the gumption needed to get or keep a job. But I bet the majority of homeless people wish they could improve their status. - Commandrix
  • No, I think that not all people who are homeless are lazy.Some homeless are forced by circumstances, I do not think anybody in their right mind wants to be homeless. This is not only shameful for a person but also painful. I think every human being deserves a second chance to regain his dignindad - NaturalCureFan
  • no, I agree with the above. I was temporarily displaced (not homeless, because it was only for one week, while we got an apartment), and had a strange infection on my skin. I couldn't sleep, we stayed in campsites and one night we slept in our car. But, I had a job interview that week, and I couldn't even think; I also couldn't do research, which I usually do before a job interview. Needless to say, I did really bad on the interview, and didn't get the job. So, even though I was clean and tidy, and well dressed, the fact that I wasn't able to sleep well and in a usual bed, made me unfocused. - vabulus
  • I had a job I just bought my home being a single mom of 4 I thought that things were starting to look up untill I lost my job my home and my kids i sent to live with there dad I was homeless jobless and serching I spent everyday every possible hr looking applyed everywere. I didnt care what job i got as long as it was a job (and respectable) Iapplyed to every temp agency we have. Yes i was placed at jobs and most were temporary the last one I had I got layed off from because of the economy. Everyday I called the temp agencys hopeing theyed have something and also put in my application litteraly ever ware I was able to fesabley get to. I was able to keep up with some of my basic needs and had help of friends. I also applyed to social services I was able to get some help with food and medical but not cash assistence I got 137.00 from back child support a month and with my living situation and being just me I wasnt getting any further help so trying to get my own appartment so I could have my kids at home became still impossible. I hadnt had medical in a long time as i did work and hated to ask for help, I needed my eyes checked as I couldnt see well and new I needed a higher perscription. I was able to get them done as a friend helped pay for it and medicade wasnt active yet, and was so excited as I new this would improve my chances of what jobs I could take I was so excited. I got my eyes done and found that I had cateracts. I was devistated but found they could be fixed:) 1 month after i found that out i was able to get medicade and this march saw the dr he diagnosed me as legaly blind. because his office that he operates in is not in nys but in pa my nys medicade wouldnt pay for it so I have been waiting for fedelice to kick in menwhile finding out thet the dr operates in march and not again till June :( I contacted agencys to try and get some help but because my eyes can get fixed no one could helpme. My dr said I couldnt work I couldnt apply for ssi social services would still only help so much and I still tryed to find work.Mabey there are some people that dont wont to help themselfs, but for the most part there are alot of people that just fall in the cracks and some times I think they might be the ones that work the hardest, fight the hardest and some time soon all that hard work will pay off, till them some of us are still poor, homeless,and stragaling to survive.So to answer the question no I dont beleve its true in all cases some people have jobs and not homes and some people dont have eather one but I do beleve that most try very hard.because sometimes you can have a job a minumum wage job and cant affored an efficancy appartment much less what you need for a familey . - foatamorgona
  • I have a family member that has worked all of his life (since 16). He lost his job 2 years. He is well skilled in the computer field. He had a nice "white collar" job and lives in a well to do part of town. He has sent out over 500 resumes and has had several job interviews. But jobs are hard to come by around here and so 2 years later, he still is unemployed. He has done a few free lance things, and has done some game development, but it just brings in a little, nowhere what he needs to help his family pull out of this pit. His wife is going back to school to get her masters degree and hopefully she will get a job as a special needs teacher. They are on the edge of loosing their home. They are fortunate in the fact they will not be on the streets, they have too many family members that would take them in before that would happen, but they still don't want to loose everything they have worked so hard for. Anyone who thinks that homeless people are just lazy need a dose of compassion. It truly could happen to anyone. - eclecticeducati1
  • I currently work for the state I live in, full time,and am currently homeless. It is hard to get assistance to get into a home. Everyone wants u to have great credit these days and when you dont make enough money its hard to maintain good credit. Everyone seems to think that being homeless means your lazy and on drugs or drink. I dont even smoke! Alot of people are just a paycheck away from being homeless. Worst part is keeping your children positive. - jlc272010
  • I know people with jobs that are struggling. I was homeless for the first half of 2010 and desperately wanted to work. Finding a job was difficult. - manndtp
  • not having a home and a permanent address may prove to be a hindrance in getting a job. - zastar
  • my personal experience with a homeless friend emphatically shouts no. A homeless man or woman, homeless child wants what we all want, a full nights rest in the same bed, day after day, where their shower is not 20 mlles away from 9-6PM daily. The will work every hustle in the book to survive and eat daily. - Countryluthier
  • No, I don't think most homeless people choose to be homeless- the reasons people are homeless are much more complicated. - PNWtravels
  • No, that's the right wing tabloid newspaper view and it angers me to hear it - Paul Ward
  • I lean toward no...but there was a time when I wondered why any homeless person I saw couldn't just go out and get a job. Not in a nasty way, my heart always aches seeing people that don't have a place to call home, who have given in to their plight and are not trying anymore...all of us are capable of "giving up" on some level. I admit to being guilty of thinking that many homeless people are just lazy in the past, but our current economy is teaching me that so many of us who have worked hard and thought our future was secure...well that may not necessarily be so. Thank you for this insightful page. I have been reading others by you, and they are all so helpful in understanding. - happynutritionist
  • People who say this haven't been paying attention to minimum wage vs rent prices these days. Even if you can find a job, which is bloody impossible these days, you may not make enough to keep a roof over your head.That doesn't even cover the people who can't hold a job due to mental or physical handicaps. DISABILITY PAYMENTS ARE NOT ENOUGH TO COVER RENT IN SOME PLACES. Especially if people are only on SSI. - Jessica-Burde
  • I don't believe anyone would choose to be homeless, and there are middle-class people, families, who end up living in a car due to job loss and not being able to find another job before they lose their house or apartment, or perhaps they do find a minimum wage job, but as you say, it's not enough. - BlueStarling
  • With the economy as it currently is, the price of everything is going up while wages aren't moving at all. I will have 6 months of unemployment, and I hope that will be enough to pay the bills. I've been looking for a job since April 2011. - Desty
  • The trigger event that pushes most people isn't always under our control. I used to work at shelter and women that are victims of domestic violence ... getting away might mean dealing with homelessness and all the stupidity that people throw their way. Just makes it harder for people to get to a healthy place for themselves and their kids when people have preconceived notions and threat them poorly. - AnnaleeBlysse
  • NO! I have to laugh at people who believe this. Their beliefs include that you can "get rich" pan-handling, all homeless are one certain type of person, that everyone can do what they have done in the past in and other circumstances, and that answers in life a simple and one dimensional.I guess I can understand easier because I could have become homeless at 58 when my health crashed and my daughter's (with3 kids) life crashed at the same time. I lost my home trying to help them, my mother died and our duplex was too much for me to handle alone. The housing bubble was in full swing and the bank took my home without any attempt to work with me because they'd made $50,000 off of me and could resell it for twice what they had loaned me. Then my health, never good, crashed under the stress. My doctor began insisting that I apply for SS Disability. After attempting a temp job and having an emotional collapse trying to do a young person's multi-tasking job I was fired. So there I was: having been a $35,000 a year bookkeeper for 41 years and totally unemployable, plus sick and needing health care and ... homeless. Thankfully, my oldest son was in a position to help. He came and got me and I lived with them for the 14 months it took to get the disability determination. I got one of the few first application determinations ever given in Nebraska. Yet it took another 4 months before I got any checks because of the 5 tests SS runs on random applications, they ran 4 on mine and I had to have transportation to various doctors in 100 mile radius. My son furnished that, too. Then he paid rent and deposit on a trailer, and utility deposits, and bought me groceries to begin. Now, subtract my son from that story and you have a typical homeless person, unable to get disability, unable to get into a modest home, unable to restock all she had lost during her health/job/home loss.And disability doesn't give you Medicare for two years either. Those who can't have empathy for another's woes without the experience themselves had better watch out, don't tempt fate or you might have first hand understanding of the situation of the homeless. - 2TellTheTruth
  • I know about professor that has lost his home following his divorce; he has become homeless and lived in a park, until he has been killed by vandals.I have no idea if he could keep his job after he became homeless, but how can you maintain the appearance a professor should when you can't sleep well, can't bathe, wash your clothes, stay away from rain?Ironing your shirts? Sounds almost ironic for a starving person. - verkeerd
  • No, because I'm a rational being rather than a lying politician pandering to the right and the likes of Murdoch. - Paul Ward
  • Many people have so much happening in their world. Many become homeless because of unforeseen circumstances. The world is changing and it is getting difficult to keep your head above water. There are so many reasons why people become homeless and not because they don't want to work. Teens who can't live at home, domestic violence and addictions that have consumed people. - JillY88
  • No. Some of them are lazy, but some just can't make ends meet with the jobs they do have. - sharioleary
  • Homelessness and joblessness are complex issues. - anonymous
  • It is such a complex issue - maybe some could afford a home somewhere else in the country, but there may not be jobs there. In this country, our middle class is slowly becoming the working poor. They work - both spouses work, and still may not be able to make all payments. - sherioz
  • Thought-provoking lens. Many people are quick to judge without knowing all the facts. - victoriahaneveer
  • Not a chance. I could not presume to know why people are homeless, and how troublesome it would be to live one day or more without my bed to sleep in. It is our job to extend courtesy to everyone, those with jobs, and those without. - lesliesinclair
  • Not long ago I lived in an area that was booming economically. There were many working homeless living in cars, tents, or in shelters because there weren't enough homes for rent. Also, many of the available homes were high-rent and therefore unaffordable to many blue-collar workers. - Kathryn Beach
  • I was homeless as a child of 13 I went to Social Security for assistance. They would not offer assistance as I had no fixed address. I could not get a fixed address without assistance. http://www.squidoo.com/how-to-write-your-futures-past - streets2success
  • I think 'lazy' is not the appropriate world... better 'tired'!Most of them 'get enough' from society... then they chose for alternative living...I don't know in US. I am Italian and I know about the Italian homeless.I have was one of them in the past and I meet many of them... - giosuele
  • I mean " I have been one of them..." - giosuele
  • I myself went through 10 years of homelessness.....Everything that was posted above is true.I didnt have work "all the time" because i didnt have the ability to keep standerds up and to have a contact.."not to mention having and illness ontop of it all". Nad I didnt choose to be homeless and not try to have a job.. - benjamin-l-carter
  • Of course not ALL homeless people are lazy. Many have mental or drug issues though that make it hard for them to make proper decisions. - EdnaTDodson
  • there are homeless people with jobs because when you get hired the company dont usually give you the keys to a new house. - Canoro
  • there are currently over 18,000 homeless people in america who work full time and do not make enough money to afford a 1 bedroom apartment because of lown wages.and over 20,000 empty homes in america that no one can afford to buy or rent. - suzanna-lytle
  • I am 23 i had a good job and a wife and two kids and i lost it all. i have been looking for jobs and i am not lazy but its true applications ask for past history and if you are not employed then your not worth thier time, i know many homeless families and single people that if given a chance to change the fact they are homeless they would so if you never been homeless then dont judge when people are on the side of the road asking for money yes some dont use it for what they should but we are not all like that. - coryjegelhoff
  • "Homelessness has pretty much replaced debtors' prison in America." - that is the most profound statement i've ever read about homelessness. excellent lens. - SgtCecil
  • No, because even non-homeless people have a hard time getting a job these days. They have to compete with people who just got laid off a day ago, who have resumes with no gaps, a work-appropriate wardrobe, transportation, an address, a phone...And unfortunately just like "welfare queens" there are urban myths about homeless people who choose to be homeless and make $100s per day panhandling. Don't forget: there but for the grace of god go I. - CuppaJo
  • Making plans and carrying them to completion are two distinctly different skills. Being able to work and finding someone who will employ you are two distinctly separate situations. Maintaining appearances is another issue. And another is physical upkeep of the body itself. And both are part of entire hierarchies-of-behavior that must be orchestrated and played through in regular cycles that are un-related (except at a most superficial level) to economic concerns. Who among us conducts these road-show events like a maestro? Are there no rainy days, perfect storms, or holiday's to consider? How's your health been lately? Walk away from all you have and enter a world-full-of-strangers. Where do you fit in? Why would any successful community accept an unknown like you? Things are going good for them, what have you got besides your troubles? What do you have to offer now that you have no job, no money, and may I ask, how much hope and happiness is in your emotional bank-account? The road from being able to being done is a long one and very few people catch the express. Most don't make it on the first try and try again. Not everybody gets a second chance. But how that applies to you remains unknown until your dead, and you will never know. If I ask, "How ya doin'?" and "Why are you doing it?", and you're answer is "O.K." to the first, and "What do you mean?" to the second what can you say about a nameless-stranger you've never met? - homelessink
  • That would be strange to think. That is like saying that all people who are not rich are so by their choosing. Which no person with a well paying job would agree to. So no most homeles people are not lazy. - Normyo Yonormyo
  • not all of them are lazy..I wasn't I am on disability but I always had jobs it's just the economy and the high cost of even renting a studio let alone 2 bedroom apartment is ridiculous.. some might have jobs but might not be able to afford a house..some are lazy.. we can't really say.. I met some people they were on dope and alcoholics.. weren't actually wanting to work..the ones that look like kids are because their parents kicked them out with no place to go at 18..some can get out of their situations and some can't no one really knows.. in missouri I met this one homeless woman that was rich and yet she chose not to own anything..yes she's dead now..but with all your opionons someone should do something to end the problem.. but srs will take your kids if you can't afford food so it's hard.. - romy67203
  • Some homeless people can not get jobs because they have been out of work for a long time and that's why employers wont give them a job. - julienc
  • No Body Wants to be homeless a lot of people take for granted the little things they have that make them hover just neck deep over the poverty line.... If anyone here lost there job for a year with no income and no family and friends to help where would they be homeless so people need to to realize it could happen to anyone..... - nationalbusines
  • It is just not that easy.......I know I have been there. - rozzie-jay
  • Homelessness is a social issue that is impacted by many factors including the economic conditions surrounding employment. Some people choose not to work but some people find it difficult to secure opportunities in the market and some people need assistance that may not be readily available to help them. As some mentioned the longer the duration of unemployment the harder it is to re-enter the workforce, especially at a sustainable wage. Homelessness can happen to anyone and once there, it's a tough climb back into the workforce. We all have a profound ability to impact the lives of others and help homeless people that want re-enter the workforce. There are organizations that even accept second hand clothing so that people can have good clean attire to go for interviews. - fivestead
  • I f I was homeless, it woud be difficult to obtain a job due to no home address, no phone, and no way to be contcted for references. this could be difficult, but weird...and both truat the same time. - makingmoneythisway
  • No, no way. With the economy the way it is it's hard enough for anyone to find a job, let alone someone with the challenges you describe here. And what if they have a criminal record or a history of drug abuse (even if they're clean now)? Plus, there are people who can't work because of a physical or mental issue.And for those who are working it's getting easier and easier to be employed and homeless, I think. There was a statistic going around a few weeks ago about how many hours a person would need to work at a minimum wage job just to afford an apartment; I think it was something like 80 hours a week (depending on the location). That's just unreasonable for a lot of people, even if they *could* find the work. And even qualifying could be hard. Case in point: a couple of months ago my brother decided to move out of the family house, which was getting too hard to take care of, and get an apartment. He's been with the same company for 35 years and has great credit but that didn't matter because he didn't make enough to qualify. They wanted his salary to be *three and a half times the monthly rent*. I've rented for most of my adult life and I've never come across a requirement like that before - it's just ridiculous. And if someone like him couldn't get approved I can't imagine how someone making minimum wage would. If that's what the housing industry is doing these days I think we will be seeing more and more employed homeless in the future. - kimadagem
  • Brian211978, I think you're a bit out of touch with apartment rentals these days. The ones my brother was looking at were almost all more than $900 a month, and I wouldn't call any of them "luxury." My apartment in Denver, which definitely wasn't high-end, was $575 when I moved out a year ago; it is now $1000. Yes, it varies a bit depending on the location, but I think finding *any* decent (ie safe and clean) apartment for $700/month is a lot harder than it used to be - and in some areas probably impossible. - kimadagem
  • I believe we all need to help the homeless, some of these homeless people are veterans. I don't believe a good percentage of them are lazy, I believe it has to do with high cost of living. Some chose that life to want to live homeless because they don't have any responsibility. For any reason it may be: I really don't believe a good percentage had much of a choice to be homeless. A lot has to do how our country is being run and the government and all Americans. I am not going to take sides that is not my job to judge, Only God knows and Only God has the power to judge. I don't believe that this is the case that homeless people are lazy in some cases. I am not going to take sides. - ladybug1957
  • I've always wondered when I see homeless people in the streets what brought them to that place. And, what was it that made me so lucky not to end up there. But for the grace of god . . . . - MusicMadness LM
  • I am a student at Everest University and I am just about ready to graduate with my BA in Criminal justice the focus of Business. I don't agree based on my education that people become homeless on the premises that there lazy. Most people did not grow up with rich parents and are not smart enough to work on multiple project generating multiple streams of income. Most of America based on statistics have less than a 6-grade education, and most individuals can not keep up with the political changes with today's society. If want a job I just by a position from a employment agency, just about anything can be bought and sold in this country including money and status itself. But most people are not that knowledgeable of the world and watch allot of tv thinking that our government is not responsible for the homeless according to the law they are " which states that it is against the law to do harm to yourself and others" As such the american government must take care of you if you are not able to take care of yourself, which means if your picked up because your homeless and no one will hire you because of the companies sociopathic, sadist political views. Guess what? The American people including those very companies that had something against the poorer class now helps support that one individuals SSI and Disability Check. So such companies should think real hard before screening applicants that way. - jeanguy-barbeau
  • Not at all...I have been there...and I am the furthest from 'lazy' as one could get. - anonymous
  • Nope. Not lazy. Sometimes it's a matter of not having a choice. - CanInsure
  • I think we need to take into consideration that a lot of homeless people also have mental health problems that are in no way their fault. The way we treat and "take care" of the mentally ill (at least in the US) is pretty abysmal. Which is (I think) where the 'crazy homeless guy' trope comes from. - fourwindsbar
  • 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. - fourwindsbar
  • No. Homeless people have to work far harder than sheltered people just to survive. - EpicEra
  • 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. - Lady Guinevere
  • 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. - D
  • 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. - Kylyssa
  • 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. - Crystal
  • 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 messed..er...disabled. 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. - Mark
  • 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 . - Hub page net work account
  • 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. - Shelley
  • Extremely Bad Bad government and very evil greedy rich people keep things this way. - Jp
  • 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 sidewalks..no more starbucks bathrooms that need a hazmat crew..no more begging.. Just balance, a farm-camp, that helps those who didn't help themselves. - Jacob Goldstein
  • @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. - Kylyssa
  • 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. - kiddiecreations
  • Yet you fail to post my comment calling him out as an entitled coward? - Rick
  • 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. - Kylyssa
  • 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 - The Nut Buster
  • 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 - Aj
  • 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. - Kylyssa
  • 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 - noda
  • 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. - Ana

Yes Comments

  • 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. - Kylyssa
  • @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 - Rick Humphrey
  • 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! - Kylyssa
  • 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. - Beth
  • 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. - Mogie
  • 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. - Kylyssa
  • 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. - Obama Bush Sharlatans
  • 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. - Kylyssa
  • 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. - Collin
  • 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? - Kylyssa
  • 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... - M
  • 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. - Kylyssa
  • How did you manage to get a job to write this article? - Billy Bob
  • 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. - Jean Bakula
  • 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. - Kylyssa
  • 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. - akphilly
  • 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. - ohhaiitsrachel
  • I have seen addiction to drugs and alcolhol do most of the damage - sweetstickyrainbo
  • I think that the homeless need a lot more help, and we are all responsible. - DavidBradshaw
  • 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! - Brian211978
  • I been homeless although I always had an address and stayed clean got up and moved on.. there are a bunch of misconceptions...all the homeless people I know all had phones and stayed in a homeless shelter and got jobs as well as back on their feet..but unless you know the situation you can't say either way.. there are temp jobs that will hire anyone..but you have to know people with phones..I am one of the lucky ones now I own my home..everyone offers a temporary situation to a permanent problem.. that needs to change. someone needs to build a homeless shelter that will build skills life and job wise..so they can get back on their feet and won't be back out on the streets 6 months later..if you want to do something about it than by all means do it but otherwise don't judge it could be you next time around it only takes one forclousure a dirvorce or whatever to be just like them and then what - romy67203
  • I put yes, but obviously this isn't true in every case. A lot of people are homeless because they have made poor decisions for themselves. I know of several people who would be homeless if they didn't have relatives that were kind enough to put up with them, due to their laziness. - GuitarForLife LM
  • Homeless people not lazy.am not accepted . - kathleencl
  • Some homeless people refuse to get a job because they have seen first hand that they can make it asking for money; others simply aren't qualified to get a job. - mtaylor92
  • Activeman, you'd be shocked by how many people actually believe that homeless people could just get a job and stop being homeless. Many of those same people, who think homelessness is caused by not trying to get a job, are only a few paychecks from being homeless themselves. Veterans have it bad. The government tries to wiggle out of compensating vets for combat related disabilities and generally doesn't provide the help many veterans need to re-integrate into civilian life. - Kylyssa
  • GET REAL! This question can only be answered by people who are so well-off, stable, or wealthy that they have no idea or what it is like to not have a job and place to live. First of all, there are very few jobs available, I know; I am a vietnam veteran with years of experience in word processing who has been out of work for 6 months. There is serious discrimination going on here with employers....they want who they want....usually for the wrong reasons. Now that you can't find work....eventually you end up homeless....or possibly on Section 8 like me....then the landlords discriminate against you.....there are ridiculous personal information you now have to provide them.....then after about a month....they don't approve you anyway....so now you are living in a homeless shelter....if you can find a bed available...and once the employer finds out your address.....more discrimination....OHHHHH look where he's living....the snobbishness in this country is so underrated....and disrespectful....they are treating veterans like they are criminals....the bottom line now is you can't get jobs due to discrimination which no one seems to be honest above....and now you can't even get a place to live....because now that you are homeless your credit number isn't high enough....more discrimination....what are we just numbers....what is wrong with this country...and why are veterans being treated as if they are criminals???????????????? - Activeman
  • It is easier for them to say that these people are just lazy.Than to admit there is something wrong with the society its self.There are so many discriminating requirement's you face when you go to get a job now, that you didn't have 50 yrs ago.They are making it harder for people to get a job. - coolrayfruge
  • No, I don't. I think a lot of young kids leave home because of abuse and start a pattern they might not escape. Others are cast out when rents are too high, bankruptcy and or divorce overtakes them. There are many causes and all too few solutions. - norma-holt

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

Questions & Answers

    © 2009 Kylyssa Shay

    Why Do You Think Homeless People Don't Just Get Jobs? No Swearing Allowed.

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        davari 5 weeks ago

        hey now thats rude now what if you was homeless what would you do dont you want a litle money first

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        hairyhyde 5 weeks ago

        When you find a place...most places want a 2 month depoit..then a gas deposit, water deposit, electric deposit..if you drive car insurance..car repiars..maitenance..gas...phone bill..medical insurance..food...on top of any passed bills you have..dental..glasses..lots more..ect

      • Kylyssa profile image

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

        Hey, for most homeless people, it's walking around putting in job applications, trying to find something to eat, then sleeping in the day to stay awake at night to avoid rapes and beatings from homed people at night. Some homed people will rape or beat them in broad daylight, but the risk is lowered by sleeping in the day.

        Have you ever had a conversation with an entitled white guy? They roll their eyes, don't stick to the topic, and might beat you up if you look too poor. They'll assume you're a drug user if they act intimidating and it frightens you or if you try to brush them off to get away.

        In the real world, landlords won't rent an apartment to a bunch of poor people together. Obviously, you've never filled out your own rental application before, or you'd know it involves minimum incomes (rent must be less than a third of the total income) and credit checks, and that there are laws governing how many people are allowed in an apartment. Breaking the rules by having an extra roommate will result in eviction.

        Family usually does the least to help. Friends desert you as soon as you have no money. I've seen countless elderly people whose middle class families left homeles once their health went and they couldn't work anymore. Most homeless teens are homeless because of their families, close to 40% because their homed parents abused or threw them out for being or being suspected of being gay. Most learning disabled homeless people were deserted by their families.

        Many homeless adults are veterans with PTSD, which would likely look like extreme drug use to someone like you who gets your facts about life from movies.

        And your percentages are bullcrap. If 75% of homeless people stayed homeless,we'd have millions and millions of them dying like flies in the streets. Around 80% of homeless people manage to escape it within a few months.

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        Al Soto 2 months ago

        Hey, for 75% of homeless, it's sleep all day, bum some money and goof off at night.Continuous drug use can kill your brain activity, causing you to become a "Living Brain Dead" person. Have you ever tried to have a conversation with a drug user? I have, they are flighty, with eyes rolling back and forth, and it is a little hard to get them to stick to the subject. As for he other 25% they can be helped, not by any government agency but by their families or friends. As far as being able to rent a small place, they have to work together, room mates! It's just too expensive for 1 person to live alone. But together they can build a better life. And as for the real mentally ill, that is a tough call. Watch the movie " Promise" staring James Garner and James Wood.

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        Me 2 months ago

        Seeing homelessness in my own family kills me. I can only imagine how hard it is for people with no family to lean on, with kids that depend on them for food, to find jobs, or even just find a place to sleep for the night. Living in a 4 season state is so hard for the homeless. Having the biggest snow coats you can find, but then having shorts and a tee in the summer. I help everyone I see. even if its a simple token of good luck. I have taken a few people into a fast food restaurant and told them to order anything they wanted. Karma is a real thing. I saw a family of 4 order a $10 meal and not have enough money on their card. they walked off with pure terror. I told the cashier not to cancel that order, and I added $15 to the order; paid for it and ran outside to see them sitting under a tree in the shade. I walked up and handed them the food. The dad started crying and told me I was the kindest person ever. I walked away feeling good about myself. Fortunately I do have a roof, car and a job. Because of my situation I help out anyone I see. I hope anyone who reads this jumble of a mess and be inspired to help out too. even if it doesn't involve money. I promise it is the best feeling in the world knowing you just made someone's whole day. America itself cannot help this problem. It involves all of us individually. The family I helped with their meal, I asked the father to apply to work there. I went and talked to a few people I knew working there and told them that he has a family that he needs to feed. Now every day (anytime of the day) I walk into the restaurant I see him working, and without a fail I always get a smile and a thanks.

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        Bongstar420 2 months ago

        Rich people are entitled to what they want...if they want you hungry and homeless, they are entitled to not doing anything about it and blame you for not being what they demand.

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        Jack 2 months ago

        We have all had tough times but worked our way out of them perhaps a group should be formed for cheaper housing just one rent to pay but more people contributing and carefully choose who is in the group- only honest hard working people and be quick to get rid of loafers

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        Daisy 6 months ago

        I just wanted to add my 2 cents. Everything you posted in your article is so true. It is so sad that society lacks compassion and empathy for these people. I suppose it is easier for some to just believe that these people chose this other than help the situation. Most, also, don't realize how quickly one or two bad decisions and/or unfortunate and uncontrollable events could easily land them in the exact same position.

        I am an elementary teacher. I carry a MS in education and have 10 years of experience. I have a daughter who is college, a son who lives out of state with his partner, and a special needs daughter who is 5 years old and lives with me.

        I have struggled with depression and anxiety for over a decade. This caused me to miss a lot of work and eventually I was hospitalized multiple times and had to resign from my position to try and get my health in line. During that time, I was in an emotionally and mentally abusive relationship. He is a passive agressive. When I lost my job, he conveniently lost his as well. Then we lost our home, the car, etc.

        One night shortly before we were to be moving, he got drunk and was trying to push me off of our porch (about 15 ft up from the ground). I defended myself by punching him. He laughed and kept coming after me, so I bit him. He called the police and had me arrested. While I was in jail, he threw away all of my clothes, my and my childrens' beds, and destroyed a lot of my belongings.

        My baby and I were able stay with my best friend. During that time, I tried to find a job, but now I had a criminal background (this has since been expunged) that made even landing an interview in teaching impossible. That coupled with my absentee record (but my students performed well and I always had excellent evaluations).

        Although, I struggled with my illness, I loved teaching and was very good at my job. Now, I have a lack of references-funny how "friends" disappear when you need them most- these people that I'd been friends with for years. People are so uncomfortable with "mental illness," even just depression, that they will abandon you.

        With my Masters degree, entry-level jobs would have nothing to do with me. I guess for fear that I'd leave as soon as a better opportunity arose. So, I could find nothing.

        Eventually, my ex found me and tried to vandalize my car. My friend was no longer comfortable with me living there because she was (rightfully so) afraid he'd wind up damaging her property.

        So, my little girl and I moved in with my sister. This did not work out as her youngest daughter did not like my little girl (my little girl "got on her nerves"-my little girl is special needs), and my sis asked us to leave. I had no choice but to return to my ex, which is where we are now (it's here or the streets). I try to just stay out of his way, and have been deperately seeking ANY employment. I am capable! I can take care of us, if someone would just give me a chance!

        This is so frustrating, and something the article doesn't mention is falling into despair! When you try and try and everything you attempt fails, and it becomes more and more difficult to believe that things will ever get better. If I could just find a decent job. I will work!!! I've had several interviews, but no job offers. For now, I work online teaching ESL and making teaching materials to sell, but it's very inconsistent and doesn't amount to more than a few hundred dollars a month. Just enough to pay the bills I have. So, I continue to apply to any and all jobs, hoping and praying for that second chance.

        And that's the sad reality and the unspoken desperate plea of MANY homeless people...I just need a second chance! I WANT to work! I WANT to make enough to save and get us out of this hole and provide a home for us.

        I am sorry this is so long, but I think many are so naive about how quickly they could find themselves in the same predicament. Be careful who you judge. You never know, that could be you someday.

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        Lance fair 7 months ago

        Im homeless in NYC and have been for a few months...this is only true for about maybe 1 out of 10 of the homeless you see on the streets.... The other 9 are lazy junkies or completely mentally ill discussing humans who reject help and treatment ....some people like myself try to get help and employment but it's hard without showers or identification but the other 90 percent are just animals filthy animals ..... the lowest of the low will defecate and urinate in a payphone with a bathroom two feet away yell curse and spit and choose to sleep on the street instead of inside because they might get a 20 dollar bill for heroin while they sleep ....the drug addicts stay out here to get high the others are just lazy discussing losers lowlibes I saw a couple of fat homeless couple get handed 300 dollars last week and they didn't get a hotel room or clothes they bought Vapes and new cell phones without plans so they could sit on their lazy butts all day and watch movies ..that night they asked me for food and a blanket. Of course I gave them both even tho I have only a few blankets for my girlfriend and I and barely any food ...but like this couple lazy discusting and incompetent are the majority or they are fiends ...my rant is all over the place and full of grammatical errors ...that being said NYC needs a purge the lazy and the junkie need to be either arrested or in rehab the mentally I'll need treatment or in my opinion they don't deserve to live among normal people they terrorize innocent people and the small percent of normal people trying to fix their situation are so small that I understand the homeless stereotypes .. .f**ck nyc homeless thank you goodbye

      • Kylyssa profile image

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


        There are many flaws in your plan, most of which you would see if you were to read the article above. Also, how is it that you'd get that job with no ID and no address? How would you get around your criminal record if you'd been convicted of any crimes like loitering, trespassing, vagrancy, or sleeping in public? Don't you think an employer would prefer someone they can hire legally who has a car and a place to bathe rather some vagrant?

        In no particular order, here are some flaws in your plan, assuming you could magically get a job without ID, front teeth, a decent credit history, or an address:

        *Landlords check your credit history.

        *$1160 is not at least three times your fantasy home's $500 rent, so most landlords would not rent to you.

        *Landlords often charge a higher deposit to anyone who has ever been evicted, foreclosed on, or homeless. It may be double the usual first and last month's rent. That is, if they'll even rent to them at all.

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        Larry 7 months ago

        I have done some math and I thought it would be easy to get out of being homeless. If you go to Kentucky the minimum wage is $7.25 per hour. If you can get a minimum wage job that gets you 40 hours a week you can make about 1k per month. (7.25 x 40 x 4 = 1160) You can get a house that is rented for $500 per month over there. Then you have 500 left for the month to spend on food and etc. Is there a flaw in this plan? Please tell me if there is.

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        Anonymous person. 8 months ago

        From being homeless off and on all my life I have found that there are different types of homeless some are just lazy and don't want to work. That is not all of homeless people. Many do have jobs and are hindered by one or more obstacles to get there own place. The absolute hardest struggle in overcoming homelessness is a multi-part struggle reliable phone number, transportation, and a stable address. What blows my mind is homeless and criminals were the focus of the teachings of christ. Those ideals are what churches founded on are supposed to help. Many will see you as less of a person for being homeless. Granted the capacity to help is restricted to the amount of money on reserve to help. But there is so much more that could be done to help.

        There is no easy solution to being homeless only patients and that wears thin with the struggle.

        I ask one thing if those of you would consider it that read this article my life is crumbling a lot of it my own doing due to very poor choices. I've chosen to want to change this. I'd like to return to my wife who has my daughter (yes we are currently divorced). When I left we were fighting pretty bad, I thought the only option I had was to leave so I left. Oh such a graven mistake I made. But for those that will please pray for me I can use all the prayers I can get right now.

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        Paula 8 months ago from Beautiful Upstate New York

        Kylyssa. I found your article to be most educational and I appreciate the time and attention you invested in presenting this realistic information to your readers. IMHO, there is nothing that can replace the actual facts from someone who has "been there" and experienced first hand.

        As for some of the heartless, ignorant and useless comments from a few individuals here......I see I have more to be thankful for......these people are thankfully, strangers to me. I'm very grateful that "ME" is not my sister!

        Peace, Paula

      • Kylyssa profile image

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

        So, does your sister also tell you she enjoys the sexual assaults, beatings, harassment, and getting treated like she isn't even human by her Christian conservative family members like you? Let me guess, she told you she loves getting treated like crap, too.

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        Me 8 months ago

        I have a sister who prefers to be homeless. And after reading this article, what i found is a bunch of excuses why they aren't working instead of seeing excuses why they are working. I still talk to my sister weekly, and what I have found out from her directly and other homeless people that are around her is that it is contrary to what the article says. In fact most, but not all, that I have talked to are in fact too lazy. The common denominator of the excuses that I've heard from them is why should I bust my butt working when it's given to them.

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        Eleanore Ferranti Whitaker 12 months ago from Old Bridge, New Jersey

        This is a very silly question and a simple one to answer. Go to NY City and you see homeless people. Or in Newark NJ's airport. The answer to why they don't just get jobs can't be oversimplified.

        Many homeless are victims of Reagan's ideas of "integrating" the homeless to empty out shelters and mental institutions. Make no mistake. Many homeless are mentally incompetent. Would you hire them?

        Then, there are the military vets who have for years been homeless as a result of the cuts to Veterans benefits.

        But let's act like just because we have jobs and mental acuity, well that means EVERYONE else does too, right?

        I had a female friend who ended up homeless. Why? Her old man threw her down a flight of stairs and left her in a coma in a hospital for over 3 months with her jaw wired and catatonic. Should she have run out a gotten a job?

        Then, she was finally released from the hospital only to find out her old man had sold their home, dumped her daughter off on her parents in another state and bought himself a business using their son as his assistant.

        It is time for the McMansioners out there to stop the Conservative nonsense that all homeless can just get jobs. No. They can't. When she tried, she had no address and was living in her car. When she found a homeless shelter, she was nearly raped, her purse was stolen and she decided sleeping in a car with locks on the doors was safer.

        But Karma is always there. Her old man died of throat cancer and although he cut her out of his will entirely, she found a lawyer pro bono and ended up with over $1 million in his money. Now, she is homeless no more.

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        sfguy 12 months ago

        Why get a job when you can just sit around and get high all day and people still give you money and food?

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        JakeStanton 15 months ago

        read through some of the comments. in my experience I've had no problem getting work but I've always had valid documents and never told anyone my situation. as long as you're capable of accomplishing the tasks of the job then i don't believe anyone needs to know.

        currently working a semi-skilled ticket through a temp agency. if i stick with it and they hire me i could easily get off the street. i just don't know if it's really what i want though.

        giving away $5/hr for rent to the billionaire club has never appealed to me. guess that's why i been homeless for so long. I'd rather save that money for something else than give it to a landlord for the right to lay my head.

        perhaps I've spent too much time with the natives but in my mind nobody should be forced to pay for the right to lay their head.

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        Penelope Rose 15 months ago

        What an incredible human being you are. Thank you for creating this page. Your love for people, after all you have been through is testimony to your strength, and humanity. I love you.

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        15 months ago

        I would love to help the homeless, but how do you really know who they are. My son..(God rest his soul) was an addict. One day he made $200.00 in about 5 hours. I think of this when I see more and more asking for help.How do you know who to help?????

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        JakeStanton 16 months ago

        I've been homeless off and on for 27 years. Currently been homeless 1.5 years living out of a tent.

        I think one thing people don't realize is their are many more homeless than you could possibly imagine. The majority of homeless don't panhandle. Most work part-time and you'd have little clue they were living out of a car or some other shelter. From my experience only the drug addicts panhandle or occasionally people that are temporarily desperate.

        I suffer from anxiety that has made it difficult to hold a job long-term. Been working temp agency's for over a decade with the occasional full-time job in-between. One hurdle many have to overcome to obtain work is current documentation. A friend lets me use his address or it would be more difficult for me to work.

        I'd love to get out of this situation permanently but it's just so hard for me to stick with the same job long-term.

        I keep clean with sponge baths. Wash clothes at laundromat and stay well hidden in the woods.

        Only family i keep in contact with is my mother (out of state) and a couple friends.

        Many homeless might be new to the area. If you want to help someone in need without giving valuables, the best support is information. When i first came to south Florida i had little money and no clue where to find help. In fact, i didn't even know help was available. Give a homeless person information to soup kitchens or food Pantry's. That info will keep them alive until they can figure out the next step.

      • Kylyssa profile image

        Kylyssa Shay 16 months 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.

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        John 16 months 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!

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        Rick 18 months 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.

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        Question 19 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 22 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.

      • profile image

        Wesley 22 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 2 years 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 3 years 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.

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        Penny 3 years 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 3 years 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 Badder 3 years 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 3 years 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 3 years 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 3 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 3 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 3 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 3 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.

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        susank33967 3 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.

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        pmiw 3 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 4 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 4 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 4 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!

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        chris-stols 4 years ago

        @CuppaJo: redicilous

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        anonymous 4 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 4 years ago

        Enlightening lens. Thank you so much.

      • EpicEra profile image

        EpicEra 4 years ago

        Thank-you for your wonderful work!

      • pbrandon65 profile image

        pbrandon65 5 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 5 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 5 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 5 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.

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        courtney-odonnell-58 5 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?

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        anonymous 5 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 5 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.

      • profile image

        anonymous 5 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 5 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.

      • profile image

        anonymous 5 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 6 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.

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        anonymous 6 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.

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        anonymous 6 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.

      • profile image

        anonymous 6 years ago

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

      • profile image

        anonymous 6 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 6 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 6 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.

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        anonymous 6 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 6 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 http://www.havenforhope.org 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.

      • profile image

        anonymous 6 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 6 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.

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        anonymous 6 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.

      • profile image

        texasmegtorelli 6 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.

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        anonymous 6 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 6 years ago

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

      • lesliesinclair profile image

        lesliesinclair 6 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 6 years ago

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

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        Adrijan 6 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 6 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 6 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.

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        anonymous 6 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...

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        anonymous 6 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.

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        ifuturz 6 years ago

        People need to stop blaming

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        anonymous 6 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.

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        sherioz 6 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.

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        anonymous 6 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!

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        anonymous 6 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 :)

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        anonymous 6 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 6 years ago from Minnesota

        This is a nicely written lens. Good job!

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        Edutopia 6 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.

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        anonymous 6 years ago

        There aren't many good jobs available and even with minimum wages jobs employers are being way too picky...it'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 6 years ago

        the whole situatiuon is screwed up.. in general.

      • David Dove profile image

        David Dove 6 years ago

        a new insight, thank you

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        neoglitch17 6 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!

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        anonymous 6 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 6 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 6 years ago

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

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        anonymous 7 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.

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        anonymous 7 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.

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        anonymous 7 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.

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        anonymous 7 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 7 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 7 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.


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