The Reasoned Review

Just another weblog

(Very Briefly) Why People go Homeless

with 4 comments

A doorman in New York City explained to me briefly the path to homelessness:

“Well, people just give up, you know? Life is a hassle. Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, you gotta get up, go to work, buy groceries, pay rent, do a million other things. The whole time you’re worried: ‘What if I can’t make rent this month? What if I get fired from my job?’ You learn to accept it. Becoming homeless is like a process – and that’s the first step.

Most people is just tired. They’re tired of being behind on their rent; tired of their landlord yellin’ at them, tired of working a shit job for shit pay; tired of the whole grind.

So say they get fired. Happens to a lot of people nowadays. Maybe it takes them a while to get another job. Maybe they don’t look as hard as they could’ve. Well the landlord – he don’t care if you’re depressed; first of the month comes around and you don’t have your rent, well buddy, you outta there!

So he gets kicked out. Maybe he applies to some shelter programs or whatever, but maybe he says “all that paperwork is a bother – and this city ain’t done shit for me yet”. So he’s on the street. One week, two weeks, all of a sudden he’s not washing. He smells. So who’s gonna hire him now?

Then maybe he gets in some trouble, drugs, fighting, whatever. Now he’s got a record, and ain’t nobody gonna hire his ass. You got a felony, even a misdemeanor, you gotta put that down on your application. I know somebody who lied about that stuff – he got the job, but they found out in like 2 weeks and said ‘see ya!’

So now you’re really on the streets, been there for a few months. You got no bills, but you also got no income. You gotta sleep on the subway, live off of whatever change people give you. You see a cop, you gotta move in the other direction. But worse, you don’t care. You’re used to it. You can barely remember life used to be different. Especially once you get into drugs and that shit, it becomes a cycle. Now you definitely can’t go for help.

It all starts with the apathy, y’know? People just give up. I see it a lot. That’s why you gotta find some reason to be happy, some reason to be thankful, every single day. Because a lotta these guys – once they dig this hole for themselves, that’s it. They never gettin’ out. You gotta stay positive.”

Written by pavanvan

September 1, 2009 at 2:57 pm

4 Responses

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  1. Great post


    September 1, 2009 at 3:32 pm

  2. sounds like an easy entrance to a life of homelessness.

    thanks for the inspiring finishing words.


    September 1, 2009 at 9:10 pm

  3. Very interesting post! Glad I found your site.



    September 1, 2009 at 10:13 pm

  4. Part of this process is the feeling of having no one who cares. We all go through ups and downs to varying degrees. But family and friends pull are especially important to get us out of the pit.

    When one starts to feel no one cares whether he/she lives or not, it is easy to go down the slippery slope and let go.

    If one feels like people care and would notice, there is always a way to climb back up.. a helping hand or a break is all that is needed.


    September 5, 2009 at 8:59 pm

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