Thursday, October 04, 2007

Homeless in A-merry-ca

"..I do have one question though, whats up with all the homeless people? DCs had a boom on our homeless population, and we're still trying to figure out why, but whats up with Philly?"

That quote from a commenter (lola) from my last post got me thinking about our homeless population here in the city of "brotherly love." Lola is right, our homeless population is getting worse.

Seems there is a homeless person on every corner hitting you up for money. And our homeless people and beggars aren't like homeless people and beggers in other cities. They will sing for money, tell jokes for money, and damn near rob you at cup point if you let them. We have white bums,black bums, old bums, young bums, female bums, I mean you name it, we got em. I haven't seen children yet but I am sure that's coming....although we do have the Girl Scouts with their cookies. I guess that's a form of begging when you think about it.

Our homeless problem has gotten so bad that the city has finally started to notice. And please believe that when our city government finally notices a problem, then you can bet your last penny---if you didn't give it to the bum--- that it's too late.

Oh and speaking of bums; remember when I blogged about one particular homeless guy by my plantation? I promised to find out more about him, and I never got back to blogging about it. Well, sad to say, I haven't seen him in awhile, and someone told me that he might have passed away. I kind of miss that guy, and I sure hope he just got his life back together and is doing alright.

**Finally, since I am following up on shit. Remember when I blogged about the sister who gave me a hard time at the Criminal Justice Center? Well, I had a chance to watch her a little bit this past Monday, and now I have to apologize to her. Because girlfriend was hard on everybody. Everybody had to show their credentials, and she made no exceptions. So I was wrong, girlfriend wasn't singling me out, she was just doing her job.

Damn that felt good. First Anita now this. I feel like a new man.


Lola Gets said...

Oh Lawd, I inspired a post on the FNs site, lol.

As I said in my earlier comment, DCs had a boom in our homless population. Such a large jump that theyre even setting up encampments around the city - one even near the Capital! I was going to blog about that because as a response to these encampments, DC has begun forcibly destroying them, and I have a bit of an issue with that.

Because Ive been homeless before, I have lots and lots of thoughts on the homeless "problem", damn, I guess Ill have to blog about it. Well, Ill let you know when I do!


The Christian Progressive Liberal said...

I have to give it to you, Field, when you're wrong about something, you admit it, and apologize, if it's called for. Kudos, because that's what "real men" do.

Regarding the homeless problem, I'm willing to bet Philly's taking notice, because it's probably interfering with tourism. We had the same problem out in San Francisco (where I worked for five years before moving to DC).

The homeless in San Francisco were invading everything, everywhere. This was probably due to the fact Reagan closed down the state mental hospitals when he was Governor, and put all the mental patients on the streets.

The Civic Center area of Downtown San Francisco is the worst. Not only do you have to beat off the homeless coming out of the BART stations there, but you also have to watch where you walked on the sidewalks, because the homeless would shyt in the streets, and you might step in it on your way to your office. The streets turn black from being urine and shyt stained.

When tourists started complaining about not being able to enjoy the sights of San Francisco, because they were either stepping into piss and shyt on the streets, or were actually being beaten up by homeless people, and tourism went down by some 30%, that's when Mayor Willie Brown sprung into action (because a third of San Francisco's economy comes from tourism).

SFPD started sweeping the streets and locking up the homeless, until the county jails became too crowded to house real felons. So now, they're creating homeless shelters funded by the City's Department of Public Health, and the City's Department of Human Services (where the workers, of which I used to be one, got overwhelmed with little funding and a lot of responsibility).

At least 50% of San Fran's homeless need to be in state mental institutions because they are mentally ill. As long as the state of California had state funded mental hospitals, San Francisco and the Bay Area overall, had very few homeless people, which changed when Reagan's edict took full effect.

Some of the homeless in San Francisco are "professional" homeless people. What I mean by that is the fact they refuse to get a job, when they can spend 8-12 hours on the street with a cup in their hands to panhandle for money. One fool actually went on the local news and bragged how he managed to earn $60K one year, through pandhandling. Field, I used to see this bastard on the corner from my office every freakin' day - looking HOMELESS.

But, he cleaned up good for TV. Afterwards, his gig in front of Civic Center dried up because all of the Civic Center employees watched the local news. Brotha got straight busted and was last seen panhandling in the Financial District (corporation employees earned more, and hadn't seen the local news segment which featured him).

It can go either way. Thanks for letting me share.

Mena said...

Im glad that the black lady wasnt just hassling you cause you were black. Thats a refreshing feeling. Although, I am in nyc and I walked up to this black lady and asked her something about the trains and she gave me a straight attitude. I mean whats the deal? I just chalked her up as being a douche!

We have homeless people around where I work who move in shifts. Im inclined to feel that its more or less a racket, many could get help but refuse to seek it.

Christopher Chambers said...

Hey man, this is going to sound right wing as hell, but I'm much more inclined to spend tax dollars on RE-OPENING state run psych hospitals, as well as old fashioned orphanages, than the mess we go now regarding a huge chunk of homeless people (though being broke and homeless can make you crazy, I believe the vast percentage of folk already had mental and drug problems). Likewise our foster system is warehousing and killing more kids than helping them. We're subsidizing the lifestyles of some people who just take in kids for the buck; we have chance to pull even kids who have a home out of bad ones, give them a safe place and an education. Call me stupid but I think some Cider House Rules or Boys Town type places can actually build a whole generation of new adults with a purpose, rather than keeping them in the same hoods and homes that f*cked them up in the first place.

Yeah, i sound like Ebenezer Scrooge, but damn it, if you do it right, you take a lot of homeless folk and crackheads off the street, and you give a lot of kids and babies a shot. Not everything can be solved by shelters, or a "family setting."

field negro said...

See lola, inspiration comes from everywhere:)

Christ. prog. as usual, you hit the nail on the head. Yes the tourist are starting to complain. And that is EXACTLY why my fair city is taking notice.

And like it was in Frisco, there is a large population around the convention center. The homeless people aint stupid, they go where the money is.

LOL at the homeless hustle. Hell, no taxes? I might consider that shit.

Chris, I think you are transforming into a right winger right before our eyes :)

But it's all good. I do agree with some of the shit you say.

Lola Gets said...

Actually, I concur with the Christian Progressive Liberal and Chris. The Regan-era approach to mental illness helped create the modern homeless problem.

Ok, so its inhumane to house and treat the mentally ill in large institutions, but its human to let them live in filth and squalor in the streets??

Like I said, I feel a post coming on, so Ill let you guys know when it does!

Hathor said...

During the Richard Thornburg days as Governor, the mental institutions were closed too. There had been a horendous scandal at one. His idea was for group homes to house and maintain medication. One thing he forgot was than many had an instutional mentality and group homes weren't suitable. Housing business sprang up,that took government money, but didn't provide any supervision or medication. Shortly thereafter there were many mentally ill homeless. Since there were more drug and alcohol addicts who lost there shelter because of their life style and some families losing housing; the mayor, Wilson Goode created a city agency to provide shelters for them. The agency is still active. I thought that there were programs to help those that could, get back on their feet. It would be a problem to put the mentally ill in an institution now, because of the laws that protect their civil liberties. Having more drug rehabilition places might help.

Hathor said...

One other thing, If America still had enough low skill manufacturing jobs, they might help some, even the addict. I think there are functioning addicts that could hold down jobs.

Luscious Librarian said...

Hey Field,
Well I'm in Atlanta and we have the reputation as being damn near #1 when it comes to treating homeless like dirt. We have just as many homeless people as other cities, but as lola and Chris pointed out the city was boosting tourism so they outlawed panhandling in the downtown area.

I'm not sure where all the homeless went, but they can't get it done downtown so I'm assuming they're more on the outskirts.

I've been wondering lately what will happen to them though, because hardly anyone carries cash anymore.

Homeless folks don't take credit ya know.

WildMagnolia said...

YAY! Thanks for reporting back on the sister. I'm glad you weren't being singled out.


Mark said...

I was in Philadelphia just before new years, and after I gave a homeless guy a little money, he asked me if I was "goin' struttin'" on New Years Eve. A great expression that I hadn't heard before.

dc_speaks said...

hey, FIELD! How the heck are you? I loved this post.

too funny!

rikyrah said...

The homeless for me fall into four groups.

Group A: There are some homeless that are mentally ill.

Group B: There are some homeless that are drug addicts.

Group C: There are some homeless who are 'professional homeless' people.

Group D: Then, there are the homeless, that if, we as a compassionate society, would give them a HAND UP, would be up and out of ' The System' in a year -18 months, TOPS. These are people who truly have had bad breaks, and just need a little compassion.

What drives me crazy about the Social Services Industrial Complex puts Group D ON THE BOTTOM, when they would be the EASIEST TO DEAL WITH AND ELIMINATE FROM THE SYSTEM.

But, they're willing to give SSI Checks and Housing for Group B, ahead of everyone else.

Woozie said...

Do what South Park did and convince all the homeless to move to California.

Regarding the mining thing at the pop of the page, in Africa it was just a power outage that killed the elevator, and I guess they didn't have stairs to the top. I would have been shocked if someone actually died in that situation.

As opposed to the Utah thing, where that was an actual collapse, and then another collapse during a rescue attempt. Plus that fat guy was too busy talking about "evil mountains" to actually do anything.

Raven said...

About adult (as opposed to teenage) homelessness, I believe that so much of it is about availability of affordable housing stock--and the extent of disconnection and alienation within a population.

Detroit teaches me about this. Detroit is an urban area with a large poor population. Yet, Detroit has a very small homeless population. I attribute this to the affordability of housing--and that so much of Detroit's population is stable, with few newcomers or transcients.

I don't believe that this results from Detroit/Michigan simply providing more beds. Detroit is nearly bankrupt, and the state of Michigan far from flush--or sensitive.

There is also the issue of weather. I think this is a factor for teen runaway homelessnes. The failures of foster care play a role here too.

About Field's field observations of the sister----How great! Winning brothers over--one at a time.

field negro said...

"Homeless folks don't take credit ya know." That little thing you see above my head is a light bulb :) Portable credit card machines..Mmmmmm

mark, that particular homeless guy sounds like he was transported from "the big easy"

rikyrah, what does a professional homeless person do?

Wazaap dc_speaks, nice to see you back my brother.

woozie, you are right about the SA mining incident. But you know me and hyperbole :)

raven, I never thought about that angle you presented,but it makes sense. It weould explain the homelessness in places like LA, New York, and Frisco, where the cost of living is bvery high.

Even hear in Philly housing is expensive.

Yout point about a stable as opposed to a transcient population influencing homelessness is also dead on.

rikyrah said...

Professional Homeless are Hustlers, FN. Nothing wrong with them..They are Group D, but have decided to not try and get out, and just hustle.

field negro said...

Got it!

august said...

that was a funny post. The guy in the pic looks like sadam.good day everyone

august said...

oops just read his sign.

field negro said...

Actually august that's a good observation, because I think it's one of those photo-shop deals of Sadam.

Note the sign says "will dictate for food"

Blinders Off said...

The Glass Castle a memoir written by Jeanette Walls will give one insight why some people are homeless. In this book the author and her sibling grew up with parents who where homeless by choice. I read the book a year ago, a couple of months ago Oprah had Jeanette Walls (who is very successful) on her show.

I watched Oprah show that day because I wanted to know if Jeanette Walls parents were still alive, her father is not, but her mother is. She refuses to live with any of her successful children she prefers to live on the streets.

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