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  • #139906
    shadowwolf
    Participant

    hello all =) About a week ago i was looking around at rjk and saw a topic about homeless and what to do about them asking you for money and so on and i looked around here but didn’t find any thing like that so here we go =)

    Ok i first want to say that i am a former homeless person. i was homeless from winter 2005 to winter 2006. I wanted to bring this to ur attention not to shove it down any ones throat or any thing i am sure everyone get’s that plenty in their day to day lifes =) I brought it up becuase i was looking for some new ideas and hoped maybe that by passing idea’s around we could all gain a new view on the life those people have to live and how each one of us can help in our own way  ;D

    Ok well the main topic over there was what to do when homeless people asked for money or food or the something of that like. I saw many cool ideas over there like if some one is performing or some thing there at least exchanging something. Or another i really liked and fully agree with from both a jedi and a former street person was that i help out if the force or god what ever way u wish to see is pulling me 2. Added on to that look them in the eye i mean sure even i will admit that alot of homeless that are are asking for money for food may take it and use it for beer or illegial substances but i really think that the eyes are the window in to the heart and if you take time to go near them and look regardless of their smell and looks you can truly see the inner pain and know in a second if that person will use it for what they say or not but then again and i know that this goes against what i just said but there are some out there that are good at making controling there emotions and sadly use them to i guess use the good hearted person and for this one there is only one thing i can advise and that is to use the force use your feelings listen to your heart i guess is the right wording.

    #155896
    shadowwolf
    Participant

    ok sorry this is in 2 diffrent posts but my laptop was acting strange on the last one.

    Now i don’t want this statement to back fire on me or any thing and hope everyone understands what i am trying to get at =)

    Is it really our job to help out??? I hate to ask this becuase i full hearted say yes!!!!! but i saw this question some where i don’t rememember where and i don’t fully remember what the author was trying to say and i don’t know if this guy was nuts or something but he said that no where does it say that we need to help out the homeless and that they should be able to help themselves. Well i must say that some of the homeless are just lazy slobs that can work if they just make themselves i also very much argue that some of them out there can’t. I was really hoping to see what you guys and gals got to say to that =).

    Hope this topic gives people something to think on and helps out in there daily lifes :)

    oh and here’s a song i found that fits this subject very well

    #155903
    Jax
    Keymaster

    People who blame the homeless and say they are just lazy simply doesn’t know and is generalizing based on their own bias.  Look at the statistics and it’s clear laziness isn’t the problem.  There are some interesting statistics online here.  What people don’t realize is that it’s hard work to be homeless.  It’s not what we traditionally think of as hard work, but it’s draining on all levels.  It’s also incredibly dangerous.  People are almost never voluntarily homeless.  In my experience (which I admit is limited) the lazy people are more apt to drift from house to house crashing on people’s couches. ;-) 
    If you haven’t seen the discussion Peteshido started (How far would you go) check it out.  The last few posts on page 1 discuss this idea of helping or not helping.  You’ve also mentioned that you need to go with how you feel.  Do you feel it’s right to help them?  If so, go for it.  You’ll probably find the person is more grateful than expected.  Personally, if someone directly asks I often give a dollar.  I figure the dollar doesn’t make a big difference to me, but it does to them.  I don’t care if they use that dollar to buy alcohol either because if they are choosing their addiction over food then they clearly are in need of more help than I can provide.  At least I can hopefully prevent their doing something desperate to get their fix.  But that’s my decision and not one I would require from anyone else. 
    I know a lot of good people who have been homeless for a time in their life.  I know how easy it is to end up there.  I’m blessed to have supportive family who would never let me be homeless but many people don’t have that safety net.  So I don’t judge and try to do what I can.  In the end I think the only thing required of a Jedi is to not judge or make assumptions.  Help or not help as the Force moves you.  Just don’t forget they are human beings.

    And thank you Shadowwolf for sharing your experiences.

    #155904
    Anonymous

    Homelessness is a complex subject – and an important one in both social/ethical/cultural terms.

    For adults in the U.S., really, homelessness is a choice.  I do not mean short-term homelessness, or homelessness of the mentally ill, or those escaping “this or that”.  And many, many people who should have care and shelter are homeless.

    It’s a national tragedy – and I have very strong feelings about it.

    That said – there are also those who choose it.  It may because of a lifestyle.  It may be a time of growth and change and a freedom that is needed.  There are groups of homeless people who are culturally homeless – and it’s a valid functioning culture.  

    I consider it as those two ways – most simply.

    My personal experience in homelessness was when I had a warehouse.  The homeless slept out behind the dumpster but for the very coldest weather.  They had bicycles, and parked there, and could hide and sleep there.  I had clothes from our retail business and shoes/bags which I “threw out” knowing they would use them.  I gathered the bottled to leave at the dumpster as well.

    In return the guys (and I suspect two were mentally ill and one was a drug abuser) would help me unload the truck (and I’d pay them for their work) and we exchanged pleasantries, talked about the neighborhood, but I also kept a distance and kept it what I guess would be “professional”.

    I looked out for their sleeping spot- and they looked out for my warehouse/van.  

    My greatest concern is for the mentally ill homeless.  The guys I knew were functioning and knew how to care for themselves and went to shelters in winter.  But the really mentally ill, sometimes the very aged, and those AFRAID (and sadly there are many escaping something worse for homelessness).

    I’ve never been anywhere near homeless.  I’ve been flat-broke – and one year I was not too proud to eat left-overs on the plates of people I served at a restaurant.  I had to pay my rent, and I scrubbed toilets, and made my way, but I was  close to having to go home.  I had a home with my parents – but after eighteen who wants to do that?  heh…

    Very complex, important, and INTERESTING subject.  There are quite a few Jedi I’ve come to know who were homeless for a time – and even some for many years.  

    Without getting personal or detailed – and if I may ask – why were you homeless Zoran?    

    I do think it’s a valid choice, sometimes a need, sometimes cultural, and so very often purely tragic.  But there is a culture for it – and will always be…

    (****Again – the mentally ill and those who must escape for whatever reason are truly victims – and in the US it is a horror that so many do not care.)

    #155905
    Kol Drake
    Moderator

    For whatever reason, some folks can not seem to fit into the ‘happy home and job’ scenerio or have a moment and totally crash or… something pushes them over the edge.  When I worked in Philadelphia, there were many homeless who slept on the air outlets from the subway — cool air in the summer and warm in the winter.  Some were truly homeless and lost.  Others were known for cruising the tourists areas and pretty much pulled in 1-2,000 dollars a week in ‘begging’ / playing music on street corners, etc.  They dressed in rags, smelled to high heaven.. and rode the public bus to their apartment each night.

    In Austin, we had opened our shop door to a handful of homeless who used a spare washroom to ‘clean up’ before going to the clinic or to the doctors for checkups.  It worked for six months and then ‘word spread’ and anyone who was ‘in the know’ showed up for more then a wash-up — they wanted food, clothes, and money… something we had never given out to begin with.  It got so bad we had to basically stop it all together and the police had to cruise by due to vandalism and more.

    In West Texas, one fella and his dog had ‘his corner’ for the folks driving home from work and another for mom’s taking their kids home from school.  The dog was well fed so some money (and assistance) seemed to be coming his way.  His sign read “Will work for food”.  The local news station got a crew out to talk to him and made arrangements… told him if he would be on the corner at his normal time, there was a job offer waiting for him.  He never showed.  Sometimes the ‘homeless’ do NOT want to give up what is sometimes an easy buck scheme.

    My hat goes off to those I’ve seen on youtube and news shows who are ‘street ninjas’ — who go about and leave bag lunches and water and/or gloves, scarves and jackets for those on the streets.  Some folks are feeding 100-200 folks a day out of their own pockets… becoming pretty much ‘second full time jobs’ to make, distribute, and check on all of their ‘flock’.

    What Should a Jedi Do?
    Whatever they feel they can do regarding time, money, and safety.  Volunteer with a local food bank to collect goods to parse out to those in need.  Work at a church’s soup kitchen … once a week, a month, whatever.  Do neighborhood or school ‘drive’ to collect second hand clothes for summer or winter wear.  Sew a blanket.  Make a scarf.  Hammer a roof for ‘Christmas in April’ of Habitat for Humanity.  Plenty of more ways to ‘give to’ the community, the less fortunate, those in need due to life or crisis.

    #155907
    shadowwolf
    Participant

    well AstaSophi and no it is not to personal or any thing my experiences are there to be learned from after all =) i was homeless do to the pure stupidity of my home state. To do this in a nutshell when i was 15 i was put in foster care do to a abusive situation and do to that had very little “real world” experiance and do to that and mix of a lack of skill in the foster care of my state and housing ended me up on the streets. One thing i have to say now is that while i very much agree it is a very sad thing i think there are so many lessons that can be learned from out there. I know for a fact that i would not be a jedi or what ever i am if not for what i learned there the faith in god and the force and the survival skills. Oh and it would be very cool to get to know some of those other jedi that were homeless if that’s possible at all =)

    #155911
    shadowwolf
    Participant

    well kol u pointed out the one true flaw in the streets and what puts so many true honest homeless people in very hot water the fakers. This is why i mentioned the whole look them in the eye and use what ever tricks you may learn to see if there true. And the whole offering a job and not being there is just…. messed up for nice words. I can’t belive that some one would do that. And i very much agree with the street ninja idea i had 1 run encounter with one and it ranks in my top 5 best moments in life just to know some one out there is trying to help in there own little way it’s amazing what that can do for the human spirit

    #155946
    huffmanm
    Participant

    Shadowwolf it’s very touching to hear your story. I have been a foster child advocate for years (due to my own personal story/reasons) and I’m acutely familiar with the challenges emancipated adults face once they “age out” of the system. It’s so good to hear from you as a fellow survivor.

    After I aged out, I devoted much of my young adult years to studying the psychological challenges faced by foster care survivors and trying to rework the broken foster care system. After several studies on emancipated adults, we found that 2 out of 3 emancipated adults were homeless at one point in the first three years out of the system. Unfortunately, the biggest challenge I’ve seen many homeless foster care kids facing is the judgement and assumption by other adults that these kids on the street are just “bad” or did something to deserve being kicked out, etc.  :(

    I approach homelessness with this view, and is something that I teach new adoptive parents in my outreach: It’s not whether or not someone is successful in overcoming homelessness… rather, it’s whether or not they were given the CHANCE to be successful in overcoming homelessness. At the end of the day, personal accountability is key to establishing a stable home structure and accomplishing goals. But as a proponent of the Force, I feel that it’s part of my job to make sure anyone who needs help is given the education to understand how to get out of their disadvantaged situation (whatever that may be).

    How do I practice this in my everyday life? I know where the local homeless shelters are in town. If I see a homeless in dire straights or am asked for help AND if I choose to give physical assistance, I only give them essentials: water, food OR a cab ride to the nearest homeless shelter. I never give money, because you never know if that money will only go to hamper that person’s mental stability, psychological health, physical health, etc (i.e. drugs, prostitution, etc). And I participate in local volunteer activities with high-risk individuals (i.e. foster care children, displaced mother, etc) to ensure they are aware that they CAN and HOW to get out of a bad situation…. using my own life map as an example.

    Now, I definitely do not give assistance to every person I see… I wish I could, but as you know, that’s impossible.

    #155957
    shadowwolf
    Participant

    -bows-

    Thank you for the kind and very true and powerful words  ;D  ;D  ;D It is very very nice to see some one who was there and did that =) And also to see some one who devoted their time to understanding this stuff i thought i was the only jedi out there that did that =) wow as i read what u wrote once again i could swear u took the words right out of my mind that’s how fully i agree with what u say and ur approach is just wow… cool =)  Ok i only have one point to respectfully debate here. I see it as if u do no give money to some you may be taking away the chance they need. I do agree that some of them are gonna take it and do as u mentioned but i think that as long as u tried and gave them a chance u will have done ur part and can go and move past them with peace in ur soul. But i also think what if u don’t give them any money or what ever it could mess them up maybe. I am not trying to use this as a attack or any thing i got full respect for u and ur ways but here’s something to think on. What if u didn’t give them let’s say 5$ and they save that and put it together with other stuff they get from other’s and get a hotel room for one night get cleaned up and go to a job interview the next day and nail it and u end up being one of the reason’s that person’s life turned around =) That to me my freind is way worth the chance of them using it on bad stuff. I will admit that is a rare chance but is it not a jedi’s job to give that chance? Maybe i see it wrong but that makes perfect sense to me =). And yes i do know that is not possible sadly but we can only do so much and hope they step up

    -bows- once again thank you for the amazing post =)

    #155960
    huffmanm
    Participant

    Hey thanks, you’re very kind!! You’re definitely not alone out there and I’m all ears if you ever want to chat.  :D You’re a survivor and both of us as Jedi have a special responsibility for outreach to our disadvantaged brethren. People like us give them hope and I hope that makes you feel really good about yourself as a survivor of the system!

    I love your opposing idea and it’s something I’ve found myself struggling with before as new situations arise. I tend to use math in my everyday life WAY too much, and so in the past, I handled the cognitive dissonance over your very valid points with thinking about risk. The thought process in my head is something like this… What is the risk that person will use monetary funds for harm rather than good?

    On one hand, I do agree with you completely that it’s worth the risk to give money if that in fact ends up turning someone’s life around. On the other hand, I’m still not so sure it’s worth the risk when you consider how much human damage that results from the drug industry specifically. What scares me is the harm that can result from the other subset of people who won’t use that money for good… even if a person decides to buy a drug, they’re not only harming themselves. They’re fueling an underground industry that uses human trafficking to transport drugs, creates street wars that kill our young people and entices disadvantaged youth to a lifestyle wrought with… just awful things that end up tearing apart whole families for generations.

    Perhaps my views should be more situation-dependent. For example, if I’m approached by a homeless person who’s clearly drunk/high/”methed out”, then I’d probably be less apt to give them money. But if I’m approached by a homeless family or a person who’s clearly not intoxicated, the situation is different.

    There have been times where I’ve asked people what they’re going to do with the money when they ask on the streets. Anyone else?

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