Saturday, July 25, 2015

Homeless Village

http://www.gofundme.com/homelessvillage

This guy is getting close to meeting his goal to create a homeless village.  Go to the site, linked above, and if you find this to be a worthy cause too, then make a big donation.  OK?  OK.

Thursday, July 23, 2015

Mistakes

Mistakes, I make them.   Just understand what I'm trying to do here, so when you read a passage of mine that doesn't make sense, know that it was just a grammatical error.  Funny how you can leave out just one little word and it changes the entire meaning of an article.   I'm gonna do some editing now and fix some mistakes I've made.

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

Helping The Homeless

Has this blog actually helped anyone?  Has the condition that homeless people find themselves in  improved any because of my efforts here?  Are people more empathetic and less judgmental towards the homeless? Are there more opportunities for the homeless to escape homelessness?  Has anyone been listening, or have I been talking to a brick wall these past 13 years?

I'm still living on the streets with no hope of things getting better.  And the wear and tear of this life is taking it's toll.  Body parts are starting to break down, losing their function to keep me healthy and alive.  I may be wrong, but I feel like I wont be around much longer.  My time is up, my turn has been taken.

When I was a kid, I saw a sign in a lawn mower rental shop that read "Please return it in better shape then you received it."   It's good advice for all of life.

Thursday, July 16, 2015

Financial

I have only 75 dollars left until next month.  That's just 5 dollars a day, for the next two weeks.  If you can help with a donation, I'd really appreciate it.

Thursday, July 9, 2015

The Condition My Condition Is In

For several years I have had an issue with swelling ankles and calves.  But usually, after a night's sleep, the swelling would recede.

Then a couple weeks ago, the swelling came on big time.  Both legs from the knees down swelled up like balloons, except they weren't balloons at all. They were heavy and hardened.  They turned red and became hot.  And a night's sleep does nothing to alleviate the issue anymore.  I was also feeling weak and achy.  Then on the 1st, when I received my SSI check I bought some compression socks.  They helped a little bit.  But after a couple days they'd no longer stay up on my legs, but would slide down to my ankles, creating huge indentations in my legs around my ankles.

Since then I've worked at changing my diet and that seems to have helped.  Swelling still persists, but not as bad as at first.  There is still some pain in my right leg which may have been caused by my fall when getting into the trolley last week - not sure though.  I'm also walking more.  Getting heavily involved in computer stuff, I was not aware that I hadn't gotten any real exercise in a long time.  My weight had spiked too, recently, but in the past week I've lost several pounds for the walking and change in diet.  I'm guessing a diabetes/kidney issue is at the root of this.

No, I have not yet gone to a doctor, but I will if I get scared enough.  But the situation, though not completely healed is getting better.

Friday, July 3, 2015

The Homeless Guy: A Reintroduction

I am a 54 year old native San Diegan who has experienced homelessness for the majority of  his life.  I share what I've learned from my homeless experiences in this blog.  I have been blogging about homelessness for nearly 13 years.  I currently live homeless in San Diego, mostly in the East Village area of downtown San Diego.  I am currently experiencing health issues related to my age and "life style".  Being homeless I don't eat well, nor do I get much sleep.  Sleep deprivation is very common among homeless people.  At 54 years of age, I have reached the average life expectancy of homeless people.

I was born at the Chula Vista Community Hospital in 1961, when my parents had a place near the airport.  We moved a couple times until my father bought the house I grew up in, in Claremont Mesa.

The combination of Aspergers Syndrome, and the emotional problems that developed due mostly to  people not understanding the cause of my 'odd' behavior, (ie my parents considered me a disciplinary problem and thought that punishment would make me behave in a manner more to their liking), I never developed the skills necessary for independent living.  Regardless, my father promised to kick me out of the house when I turned 21.  I attempted to hold down a job and a place of my own, but within a month or so I had lost both.  Believing that my problems  were mainly environmental, I got as far away from San Diego as I could and ended up in Nashville Tennessee.  I lived in Nashville for the following 30+ years.  During my Nashville years I did attempt things like joining the military and attending college, but failed at all that and more.  At one point I did get married to a local girl from Antioch who happened to work in the downtown area.  Our marriage lasted for about 6 years, and was the most stable I'd ever been in life.  After the divorce I returned to the streets.  In 2002 I started writing this blog.

Some of the positive things I have done while homeless include creating a homeless newspaper that was sold on the streets of Nashville, had several showings of my photographs - (a volunteer at a shelter knew of my interest in photography and so lent me her camera.  With money I earned selling blood plaza, I bought film and processing.  Some time later I moved into a halfway house for the homeless, and got a job as a cashier at a convenience store.  With money I earned from that job I was able to have my photos framed and made ready for the showing.)  I also sat on the Nashville Metro Homeless Commission and the Mayor's Task Force on Homelessness.  I've also given talks at area colleges and universities, including several times at Vanderbilt.  And when able, I attend national conferences on homelessness.

In recent years, some very exciting advancements have been made in ending homelessness.  They have a proven track record and I fully support those endeavors - they include the "Housing First", and "Rapid Rehousing" programs.   In communities that are serious about ending homelessness, these programs have been very successful.  Sadly, most communities are reluctant  to participate and so homelessness lingers.

Me Now

I went to see a movie last night. The cashier didn't even ask me my age, she just gave me the senior discount anyway. Today, getting onto the trolley, I tripped and fell. I couldn't catch myself. My momentum had me sprawled on the trolley floor. Several people came to rescue me. I could hear them asking, "are you all right", but I couldn't respond right away, prompting them to continue asking. It was taking me a while to assess my condition. I remember thinking that I needed to get my leg out of the way of the automatic door. I wanted to sit for a while on the floor of the trolley, but people had their hands on me trying to lift me up.  My shin  throbbed in pain and wasn't wanting to move until I had a better idea of how badly I was injured.  People around me seemed to want to move me along faster than I wanted to go.  Then someone actually hit the call button to the trolley driver.  (The trolley was still parked, but they never stay parked for long.  "you sure you don't want me to call an ambulance?" the driver asked.  "I'll be fine."  "You sure about that?"

     I'm old.

Thursday, July 2, 2015

Never Say Never

Some have asked, and though I really don't want to talk about it much, my health issues are related to my kidneys.  But I ain t dead yet so I might as well blog some while I still can.   Know that I will not be online nearly as much as i use to be.  Sitting on my ass for the past 15 years playing on computers has "surprisingly" some negative side effects.  I will blog when I can.

Saturday, June 27, 2015

My Health

My health has taken a turn for the worse.  So, this will probably be my last blog post.  That is, unless things get better, to the way they should be, but I'm kinda doubting they will.   I tell ya though.  it's been a long hard life, and wouldn't mind finally getting relief from it anyway.  Take care.  Be good.


(ps there are thousands of blog entries here to read - check out my archives)

Be Kind

Be kind to homeless people.  The root word of kind is "kin" which means family.  When you are being kind to someone, you are treating them like family.   So often I hear from people looking for family members who have become homeless.  They are looking for them so to bring them back home, to help them overcome their problems, to have them back in the family fold.

Sadly, people will treat a homeless stranger with indifference, and perhaps even a bit of disdain.  Why being family makes a difference is something I've never really understood.  The person is still in need of help, whether or not they are in your blood line.

Please, when considering the needs of the homeless, and what you should do to help, always be kind.

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Who Can You Talk Bad About

In today's society, which group of people are we still allowed to talk bad about in public without suffering negative consequences?

  1. Women
  2. Blacks
  3. Mexicans
  4. Jews
  5. Homeless
Yes, this was a rhetorical question.

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Dealing With People Who Complain About The Homeless

People who have legitimate complaints about anything will address the parties involved, and will use their communication and problem solving skills to solve their problems.   As the saying goes, a problem solved is no longer a problem.

But I've seen many people who complain about the homeless who do nothing to solve the problems they complain about.  To me it is obvious that their motivation for complaining is not so much to solve their problems, but something else.

If the internet has shown us anything, it's that haters are a real thing.  They hate for the sake of hate, bringing with them all sorts of bias and prejudice towards anyone who is not like themselves. I'm guessing that these are the people who, as children, never learned to share, or had serious problems when they were forced to share.  They never quite learned the lesson of, or even the benefits of, sharing the world with others.

They do, though, understand that  society has deemed hate as a bad thing, and so they go to great lengths  to justify their hate.  This is where their complaining comes in.  If they can convince others that their complaints are legitimate, they will feel that their hate is justified as well.

To combat this hate, you have to bring the truth.  Factual information will be your guns in this battle.   The complaints that people voice against the homeless usually erroneous and full of illogical conjecture.  Aim for these unfactual parts of their complaints and hit them with a barrage of the truth.   Of course, this will require that you to learn as much of the truth as you possibly can about homelessness.  For Example, when people complain that the homeless are lazy, you hit them with facts about how much homeless people work, (50% of all homeless people are employed at least 20 hours a week at legitimate tax paying jobs) and about how much work it takes just to survive being homeless.

When complaints arise concerning the homeless, a good dose of logic and reality will neutralize those complaints.  Offer up logical solutions to the complainer's issues.  If they continue to press their complaints further, in spite of the solutions you offered, then begin deconstructing the arguments with a healthy dose of factual information.   When he starts a sentence with the worn out phase, "Those homeless people....", return by asking, "which homeless people?"  Point out the fact that there are many different types of homeless people, and that he is over generalizing, which is a sign of being disengenuous..  Prompting the complainer to delineate the different types of homeless people, will cause him/her to stumble and hesitate, exposing their understanding of homelessness.   When someone complains that a certain crime was committed by a homeless person who has not been caught, ask them for proof that the criminal was indeed homeless.  Of course he won't be able to and hi complaint will lose its momentum.  Also, for good measure, point out the obvious fact that most people who commit crimes have homes.

Get ready for the complainers before they arrive - anticipate what they will complain about and have ready answers for anything they may bring up.  Research homelessness thoroughly, and know the facts.   At the start of formal debates you may hear the participants greet each other with the salutation, 'may the best person win."  This is nothing but platitude.  The people who win debates most often, are the people who are most prepared.

Complainers

Being homeless is a very difficult way to live, and complainers only make things worse for the homeless. Let me tell you about this one guy in particular.

He runs an athletic club, they are very popular here in southern California.  But this guy bought property just two blocks away from a homeless service provider that is very popular with the homeless.  This service provider offers everything from mail service to shower facilities, and other things that no one else offers the homeless, (and that's a problem unto itself).  The property this guy bought was relatively cheap because of it's proximity to the homeless service provider.  And that was his main reason for buying the property - it was cheap.  Yet, since moving in, he's done little more than complain about the homeless in the area and is pressing the city to do something, namely, finding a way to move the homeless out of the area.  The issues he talks about are actually pretty minimal, but he complains about them as if the world is coming to an end, (a common trait of complainers.)  And any negative thing that happens in his neighborhood, he attributes to the homeless, even if he really doesn't know who the culprit was.

In a recent FB page on homelessness in San Diego, he complained about independent groups that come to his neighborhood to feed the homeless. He said that these feedings often cause an issue with litter - and he had photos for proof.  The thing is, looking at the photos objectively, one would think it a minor issue.  More recently, someone broke a large glass window in the front of his place.  His place has a lot of valuable equipment in it, and though he offered no proof as to who did it, he claimed it was done by some drunk.  The following is what I wrote in response to his complaints.

Lets be clear about a few things. Sorry about your window, but it wasn't as if all 900 homeless people in downtown had a vote and decided to vandalize your place. Like you said, it was some asshole. One asshole. Lets find that asshole and arrest it and get it off the streets, because I guarantee, if he's making life hell for you, he's making life hell for all the other homeless too. Another thing, I am one of the homeless who sleeps on the sidewalks of East Village. I am quiet and courteous, and I obey the law. Just like most other homeless people, I don't shit or piss in public but use what facilities are available. I do, though, see a lot of humans with pets that shit and piss so much as they walk the streets that they are killing the trees and other plants that line the streets. Of course that's ok. Just don't let a human do that, right? The true culprits of crimes in East Village, are all the people with homes who party it up downtown, get stinking drunk, and then, as they wander back to their cars, cause all sorts of mayhem. They pick fights with other people from the clubs, they pick fights with the homeless who are only trying to sleep. They do damage to vehicles parked on the streets, they tag buildings with graffiti. And at least once a week, these assholes with homes will attempt to assault or harass me while I sleep. They kick at my tent, or try to pull it completely over. They threaten to kick my ass, they threaten to kill me. They say I'm living the 'good life" because I have a tent to sleep in, even though my tent is on the sidewalk. There is no "fun" being homeless, only suffering. If you want homelessness to end like I do, you'll have to do what's necessary to end the suffering.

This paragraph is just about the Internet in general.
The age of the computer has brought us many new wonderful things, most notably, the Internet.  And this age of the Internet has brought us many new wonderful things as well.  In the past two decades humans have been irrevocably changed because of it.  We live differently, we act differently, and we have developed completely new perspectives on life and everything in it.  Sadly, not every change has been positive.  The internet has also heralded in the age of the complainer.  With it's combination of quick expression via chat options, and with it's built in anonymity, people feel freer than ever to speak what's on their mind.  There is potential for a person to publish every single thought they have.  Yet, not every thought a person has is positive, and for some, they rarely have a positive thought.  Griping and complaining are no longer occasional events but have changed, due to the internet, into  common events, often dominating conversations.  Those who excel at complaining have actually been able to make careers with it.  Complainers have become a source of entertainment, from blogs, to television talk hosts who have been strongly influenced by the internet.  Complaining has never occupied such a large part of who we are.  For so many of us, complaining is not longer an option, but an obligation.  Whatever leaves us unsatisfied, we feel we must complaint about it.  Even to the point of complaining about complainers.

Monday, June 22, 2015

To Understand Homeless People

Lets get some things straight.  Nobody completely understands homeless people, and why they are homeless.  But worse than that, most people know next to nothing about homelessness - and that includes people who work in the homelessness industry.

Yeah, I understand that I may be coming across like a condescending know it all, but I admit that I don't know everything.  Others are not so honest about their shortcomings.  And it's not like I'm super smart, it's just that when I hear other people talk about homelessness, including the so called "experts", their ignorance makes my head hurt.  Trying to make sense of their non-sense is taxing.

 Know this - just because you work in the homelessness industry doesn't make you an expert on all things homeless.  Feeding homeless people doesn't educate you as to why people become homeless.  Providing nightly shelter to homeless people doesn't educate you as to how to end homelessness.

People who run rescue missions and other large homeless services facilities are no different than any other person who administrates a large organization or corporation.  They are consumed with the American capitalist notion that bigger is better, and that other similar facilities are not partners, but competition that needs to be eliminated or neutralized.  And, this is true of nearly all homeless service providers, whether they be faith based or secular. (I say "nearly" only because I have not seen all service providers first hand.  But, all that I've seen so far are this way.)  All this, of course is detrimental to the homeless people they serve.  When such organizations adopt new policies it's always to the advantage of the organization, regardless of it's affect on the homeless.  If the people who ran these facilities actually understood this, they wouldn't be doing it.  I hope that's the case, anyway.  Still, I do not doubt their sincerity in wanting to help the homeless, but so often they do more harm than good.  This could only be because they don't truly understand homelessness and homeless people.

Across our country, in just about every medium to large size city, there is a movement underway - a somewhat secretive movement - a plan for getting rid of the homeless.  In all these cities, there exists a downtown area in which many of their homeless reside.  Also in these downtown areas the larger businesses have joined together, creating "downtown partnerships" in which they collectively use their financial and political power over their cities to get what they want.   One thing common to all these downtown partnerships is a belief that the existence of homeless people is detrimental to making profits.  Of course this isn't really true, but it's hard to convince them of it.

Successful business people are a funny breed.  Once they have achieved success in one aspect of life, they begin to believe that they'll be successful in everything to endeavor, and that all their ideas are good ideas.  So, when these downtown partnerships seek out help in dealing with the homeless, they don't go to homeless experts, but to those people who tell them what they want to hear - what they like hearing.   So know, for nearly two decades, these downtown partnerships across the country have been meddling in the affairs of the homeless and achieving absolutely nothing - all while wasting a great deal of money that could have been used to actually help the homeless.   They hire private security firms (Block by Block) and local off duty police, to harass the homeless, think that this would drive the homeless away.  That didn't work.  I could have told them that, if only they asked me.  They don't ask me for advice.  They prefer people to blow smoke up their butts.

Ending homelessness requires a true understanding of homeless people, why they become homeless, etc.   So, as long as people come at homelessness with pre existing beliefs and agendas, they will never see clearly enough, beyond themselves, to see homelessness for what it really is.  And homelessness will remain.

Sunday, June 21, 2015

Like My Blog? Please Donate

Support my homeless advocacy efforts with a paypal donation to thehomelessguy@gmail.com Thank You. 
(Happy Father's Day!)

Morning Is Always A Welcomed Sight

There was no small amount of anxiety whist setting up camp last night. But with no other option, I headed to my spot of sidewalk - after the cafe closed for the night at 11pm.  I was thankful to see one person already sleeping near by, hopefully a deterrent to the random passing miscreant.

Revelry these nights seems more intense.  The weather has finally turned warm, and school is over for the season. Youthful exuberance and alcohol makes every one loud and obnoxious, and for some, their genetic design for assholian potential is electrified, a la Frankenstein's Monster.

And yet nothing happened to me or my tent last night.  Still it was difficult staying asleep with road traffic and people passing close by, and the fear of something happening.

At 4am I awoke to urinate, after which I stepped out of the tent, so the empty the cup, I then became aware of two young men walking along the sidewalk on the other side of the street, yelling and growling, and aggressively displaying their dominance over the inanimate objects they passed.

They punched a car and then bent back the hatch to it's gas cap.  They kicked and jumped on the metal gates that protected shops from looters, remarking how such things did not deter them - all while peppering their language with profanities and laughing.

If I had not been standing next to my tent as they neared,  the tent may have become their next target.   I got back into my tent and they continued on.   Once past the immediate area they started shouting, "Wake up! Time to get up!" at the few trying to sleep in the vicinity.   A moment later and they were out of sight and sound.  Following this, I enjoyed two hours straight of peaceful sleep.

Saturday, June 20, 2015

Again With This Crap

The past few nights have been relatively quiet and I'd been able to catch up on some sleep.  But last night someone came by my tent as I was drifting off to sleep, and kicked at it.   As is my usual response, I yelled, "HEY!" in a gruff voice.  It usually scares people off.  But last night, after my "HEY!" the person who kicked my tent just yelled it back at me, and then attempted to turn the tent over.  There was too much stuff inside for that to happen.  And as soon as that failed, I could hear the guy running off.  I wanted to catch the guy but the damn zipper to the tent flap door stuck.  He was out of sight by the time I got out of the tent.  Thankfully the tent assembly, though light weight, is strong and resilient against strong winds and harassing drunks.  The tent poles had come loose from their pinnings, but the tent still stood, though a bit askew.

I fixed the tent and stood outside it for a while, watching to see if anyone was coming back for more. After a half hour, I got back into the tent and tried, not so successfully, to fall back asleep. (I have taught myself to sleep with my sharp pointy defense thing in my hand, just for such instances,)  Then about 4am I was again awakened bysomeone making noise.  It sounded like the guy from before, but I wasn't sure.  He was making a high pitched whining sound.  I was out of my tent within a few quick seconds, pointy thing still in hand, and tucked in my pocket.  A couple people were milling about but they did not seem to be interested in me.  I walked around for a while, though not out of sight of the tent, saw some people who were hiding in the shadows, but no culprit.

A few minutes later I heard the familiar sound of crews power washing the sidewalks.  They come around about once a week or so.  They are good at pushing dirt from one side of the sidewalk to the other.  Anyway, I could tell they'd be coming down my street soon enough so I decided to just pack up and get started on the day.  It was 4:30am by this time. McDonalds had already been open a 1/2 hour.

There is a chance this person will come back tonight.  I'll try to be prepared.  Hopefully, instead, I'll be able to get some sleep, and this stuff won't escalate.

I always try to set camp around other homeless people because of the added security.   And usually at this location there are a handful of others.  But I was the only homeless person sleeping in the area.

Friday, June 19, 2015

Commentary On Current Events

The only way, and I mean the ONLY way for society to change for the better, is for society to allow the system to work as it was designed. (yes I know that some people have not been treated fairly by the system, but that's not the fault of the system, but the fault of those currently in charge of the system) Reserved, intelligent, considerate deliberation in a timely matter will bring the facts to bear and a proper judgement will be arrived at. Showing up with pitchforks and torches at the door step of your enemy, regardless of who you consider to be your enemy, will only perpetuate the base, ignorant, reactionary climate we are currently living in. We will never evolve so long as we behave no better than those we find offensive.

Once, When I Was A Kid

Anyone my age or older will remember those loud and clunky movie projectors used in elementary schools to show educational films. With those machines we watched all sorts of films, including nature stuff. The time lapsed films were always the most interesting - cells dividing, flowers blooming, butterflies hatching from cocoons. The one thing that frustrated me about those films was that they never told us the time frame in which these things occurred. Were the cells dividing in a matter of seconds or days? Public education was always disappointing to me. One day, playing in my yard I found a cocoon, and I broke off the stick it was attached to and stuck it in a mason jar. Finally, an opportunity for me to see for myself how long the metamorphosis lasted. I put the jar on my window sill. The very next day when I got home from school, I checked the jar and saw that the cocoon had opened. I was very excited. BUT there was no butterfly. I turned the jar all around, and saw nothing. I was heartbroken. Once again I found myself attempting something, and failing. I knew my mom would want her jar back and so i unscrewed the lid to dump out the stick and leaves. As the stick fell to the ground, I noticed something out of the corner of my eye. flat against the underside of the lid was the butterfly. It was as if it was hiding. And as soon as we caught sight of each other, the butterfly burst out, fiercely flapping it's wings. Out the window it flew and up into the tree in our front yard. My experiment was a success after all. It is one of my favorite memories.

Wednesday, June 17, 2015

Please Send Donations To My Food Fund

My food resources have been depleted.  Please, please, please, send a donation to thehomelessguy@gmail.com through PayPal.   Thank you.