Re: Homeless refuse shelter only because they want to drink &

Tom Boland (
Fri, 6 Nov 1998 06:58:15 -0400

>> The article below states that most homeless people who refuse shelter do so
>> because they want to drink, do drugs and avoid mandatory showers.

"Wolfie =^..^=" <> wrote [in part]:
>Well, speaking from my own experience when I was homeless, I would have to
>disagree....[S]ome people are especially fearful of strangers
>and they keep to themselves as much as possible. What could be scarier for
>like that  than the prospect of staying in a strange place full of people
>they do
>not know??

Yes, and it can feel and be safer to sleep in a park with friends than to
stay at a shelter with strangers.  If homeless people ran our own shelters
and camps, or -better yet - housing, they might be safer, because many of
us would know each other from the streets, and many of us would work to
keep each other safe.  We would still have security problems at times, but
I think we could handle them as well as shelter staf or cops.

An example of "peer-peacekeeping rathering than policing" happens at
Rainbow Gatherings.  Rainbow peacekeeping is called Shantisena, and is the
responsibility of everyone present.  [Maybe another Rainbow person on HPN
could explain Shantisena peacekeeping process in more detail.] I personally
feel safer with the roaddog hippies camping at Rainbow Gathering than I do
on a city street with police on the beat.

>...It bothers me that people with addictions are being portrayed as people
>who are in
>control of what they are doing and are doing it just for the hell of it!
>There is
>obviously no understanding at all of mental illness and addiction issues
>by the
>author of this article. This just serves to perpetuate the myth of
>homeless people
>being irresponsible, lazy bums who want society to take care of them while
>have fun getting drunk and doing drugs.

The "homeless as bum" myth blocks us from getting the means to survive,
permenanyly housed in a safe community that helps us give back our best to
our neighbors.

The bum myth also justified cutting the welfare safety net, so that tax
money can go instead to the Pentagon and to corporations.

The bum myth also justifies "troll-bashing" by police and vigilantes, on
the assumption that we deserve to be beat, at least until we consent work
long hours for low wages to pay high rents.  This may be good for bosses
and landlords, but I don't think it's good for low-wage workers or homeless

>...[T]he number of homeless people compared
>to the number of shelter beds is ridiculous. It also bothers me that the
>have limits on how long people can stay there....

It seems that shelters are designed to keep homeless people uncomfortable
and starve us to the conclusion to work long hours just for mere the basics
of survival.  If we are to survive ans thrive, maybe we need to look into
ways to detach from the wafe-rent economy, for example, by pooling our
resources to buy and share land and microhousing.

Wolfie, thanks for your reply about the "drunken homeless bum" stereotype,
and why some peole avoid shelters.  Also, thanks for your INTRO about
yourself and your "email support group for the mentally ill at:
   \      /
    \     |      |     /
    /     |               ICQ# 893896

I hope others will also comment about the representation of long-term
homeless people as "treatment resistant".  Write on! -- Tom Boland

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