Friday, January 8, 2010


There is a part of my Sociology class that deals with the homeless. The author of my textbook believes that homeless people would rather not be homeless. Based on my own personal experience with dealing with homeless people I disagree. I think that some homeless people want to be homeless. It is a lifestyle choice that they make based on a cost benefit analysis. They are willing to pay the cost of living on street to have the benefit of their freedom. Freedom from a job. Freedom from middle class rules and obligations.

This morning I read an article about how homeless people are refusing to move to shelters with our current bitter cold. One fellow said that he was happy in his cardboard box and for everyone to leave him alone.

Of course there are exceptions. People who are temporarily homeless would rather not be homeless. They truly want a job and a warm secure place to live. Another one would be homeless mothers with children. They do not like their situation at all.

The people I am talking about are the chronically homeless. Some of the people were formerly in the military or in a mental institution. Both places where they could manage a certain degree of independence. Sometimes when veterans are discharged they wander for a while. When patients are discharged from a mental institution they stop taking their meds and refuse to go back to the hospital.

Some but not all panhandlers fall into this category. Some panhandlers are running a scam and actually have nice cars and nice homes. Lots has been written about these folks. But some panhandlers do it to get money to buy alcohol or drugs. Offer them food and you will see what I mean. They eat out the the trash containers outside of the restaurants sometimes on half eaten prime rib and lobster. How many of you could say that you eat that every day?

Kris said it best in Me and Bobby McGee. "Freedom is just a word for nothing left to lose." The chronically homeless have all of the freedom in the world and certainly do not have nothing left to lose.

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