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All the Perl that's Practical to Extract and Report

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  • ... had your mail delivered to the local Salvation Army, or a church, or any number of charities' offices, or a friend's house. You could have given their phone numbers too, and they'd take messages for you. Sorry, still no sympathy.

    In a civilised society (and I'll admit I don't actually know whether you live in one) there is enough help from the state that no-one need live on the streets, no-one need eat other peoples' rubbish. Therefore I conclude that anyone living on the streets in a civilised soci

    • In a civilised society (and I'll admit I don't actually know whether you live in one) there is enough help from the state that no-one need live on the streets, no-one need eat other peoples' rubbish.

      Right. Sure. Try it. It's interesting that those outside of a situation often have a peculiar idea about the situation of those inside of it.

      Having an address is not about having mail delivered. It's about being able to put something down on an application so the prospective boss doesn't realize you're homeless. Putting down "Salvation Army" or "Church of God" makes it pretty clear right off the bat that you're homeless and more than once I had potential employers turn me away once they caught on. The phone number's often a giveaway, too. If they're already suspicious and you don't have a phone, you're sunk. (And many employers of low-end jobs want you available on an "on call" basis).

      Given how easy it is to identify a homeless applicant, why would you want to hire something you "knew" was a loser? And frankly, who can blame you? You've already assumed they're all mentally ill or lazy. Why would you want to hire someone like that? There are many people, like you, who are prejudiced against the homeless and want nothing to do with them. It's an awfully deep well to crawl out of and your simplistic analysis of a situation I doubt you've personally experienced does not do it justice.

      Of course, you've also not addressed the hygiene issue. When you're homeless, it's very tough to hide. You slip into a store and try to wash up in a sink and security comes and tosses you out. You go to a homeless shelter only to find, again, a sign on the door saying "full". When you apply for a job, having the boss wrinkle his nose is not a good sign. Of course, you could scurry to a Church only to find that America, one of the most religious nations in the world, donates an astonishingly small amount of money to charity per capita. The church can't help you (tellingly, those who earn the least in the US tend to give more to charity as a percentage of income. Once again, those far removed from the situation have a curious notion of it).

      Quite frequently there are no "friend's houses" available for them to use as an address. There is no "family" to turn to. Some of the folks I met were ex-cons. Some had made mistakes that burned bridges and now regret those mistakes but have nowhere to turn. A few of them are loners who decided to see the US but have been robbed, ran out of money, took ill, or any of a number of things that have left them stranded in a strange, hostile city. One woman was a wife who married young and never had a job but whose husband left her and she didn't know what to do. Yes, some are mentally ill and one couple I met were, as you said, just plain lazy. But many were not. Society despised us. Frat boys would sometimes spit beer on us. Business owners would chase us away and people would not look us in the eye (for the record, I never panhandled. They still wouldn't look at me).

      But you've already condemned the homeless as lazy or crazy, so why do I bother to write this?

      • Right. Sure. Try it.

        I know for a fact that in *this* civilised society it is possible to claim income support and housing benefit, and to get help finding a home of some kind from the local council. That home might be a room in a manky "hotel" it's true, but it's a roof, with an address and a phone. Please remember, I did say that I don't know whether you live in a civilised society or not. Judging by your comments in this post, then you probably don't.

        Yes, I agree that asking to have your mail sent

        • Therefore I conclude that anyone living on the streets in a civilised society is either mentally ill and incapable of helping themselves (in which case they should be in hospital, and I pay the state to take that responsibility) or is there by their own choice (in which case they don't want my help).

          I really don't know how to read that other than to accuse the homeless of being lazy or crazy. Of course, you do say "civilised society", so perhaps that's a way out. I would definitely argue that the US i