Half a croissant, on a plate, with a sign in front of it saying '50c'
h a l f b a k e r y
non-lame halfbakery tagline

idea: add, search, annotate, link, view, overview, recent, by name, random

meta: news, help, about, links, report a problem

account: browse anonymously, or get an account and write.



Queer Eye for the Homeless Guy

Compassionate reality show...
(+7, -7)
  [vote for,

Instead of picking normal, functional adults as subjects, why not pick homeless people as the subjects of a series of "makeover" TV shows... perhaps they would end up as normal, functional adults as a result of it.

Reality TV with a positive purpose.

zigness, Jul 16 2004

Cleaning the homeless http://www.halfbake...ng_20the_20homeless
[James Newton, Oct 05 2004, last modified Oct 17 2004]

Homless housing http://www.halfbake.../idea/HomelessHotel
[James Newton, Oct 05 2004, last modified Oct 17 2004]


       Sorry, but it baulks to imagine a number of well-paid tv-executives exploiting the homeless in order to make cash through a falsely motived, cheap and cynical reality tv show.   

       'Bum-Fights' could have been (it wasn't, but pay an executive enough and it could have been) described as an altruistic attempt to fuse entertainment and charity.   

       And it is less than likely that anyone is going to become a //normal, functional adult as a result of// the experience.   

       Why not pick desperate junkies and get them to fight one another in order to recieve some paltry reward and provide the rest of us with 20 minutes of advert-addled distraction?   

       Or persuade young, expectant, and disabled single mothers down on their luck to compete in a game show for the star-prize of enough cash to have a private abortion conducted at the private clinic of their choice?   

       Can't we try and inject a bit of taste into the otherwise increasingly sickening and cynical society of ours?
zen_tom, Jul 16 2004

       Well intentioned, but I don't think it works. Find a person who has no money, shower, bed, etc., and therefore looks scraggly. Pay for the person to have a good shower, haircut, manicure, facial, new designer clothes. Get him/her looking nice and quite stylish. Then send the person on his/her way, to go live on the street again, with nothing gained other than remembering what it's like to *look* moneyed for one day. See how it doesn't really benefit the person any in the long run? Real help is a place to sleep, job training, drug counseling, I don't know...
Etymon, Jul 16 2004

       I'll give it a [+] on the basis that the TV progam would agree to rehabilitate that person into a selfsustaining lifestyle improvement at their expense.
tasman, Jul 17 2004

       Anything that creates some vacant living space under bridges gets a + from me.
dpsyplc, Jul 17 2004

       [Etymon]: Your comments show your disconnection from the reality of the homeless. SOME homeless people would probablyend up back on the streets, yes, but MANY are there more due to bad luck or lack of training. A FEW are there by choice.   

       The hardest thing for a homeless person to get is a shower. Believe me, I know; I was one of the few. You could do a LOT of good by offering one shower a day to a respectfull and worth bum.   

       Next hardest is job training, resume and interview advice. But fasion consulting, beauty tips, or hair styling would also make a huge difference. This idea is darn fine and anyone who doesn't think so, probably has NOT worked with homeless people.   

       Also, I do think it would have commercial appeal. There can't be a greater difference in before and after pictures than what you would see here.   

       It would also be a great public education. Show how the applicants are screened, maybe have a little contest as to worthyness, and then do a follow up. Warning about the dangers of picking the wrong homeless person to try to help and the usual "don't try this at home" stuff.
James Newton, Jul 17 2004

       i'm in favor. not to say that they really pick "normal" people, but i think you're right about "functional" sheesh, yeah how about queer eye for the elderly or queer eye for the ghetto ooh, oh, queer eye for the queer, that would mess them up, but I knoe way to many socially (not to mention aesthetically) disfunctional homosexuals to believe that the scope of repair bust be restricted to straight men.
imthatwillguy, Jul 17 2004

       There's little distinction in the suggested approach and the current crop of TV makeover shows, i.e., "Who would go out in public looking like that?" becomes [< applause >]. Only difference is, you save a marriage you prevent several people from ending up on the street, you save a bum and most of the time its back to the family anyway. Following the reunion you have to save the marriage, because the homeless one's presenting problem is rarely the root cause of the homeless condition.
dpsyplc, Jul 17 2004

       Why not homeless whack-a-mole? You have a contestant, and 3 or 4 homeless people. You have a large stage with holes in it. The homeless people get electric shocks unless their heads are sticking up through the holes. The contestant gets money for each time he whacks the heads with a broom stick as they bob out of the holes.   

       All seriousness aside, please don't feed the homeless. It only makes them multiply.
bobad, Jul 17 2004

       // A lot of homeless people have mental disabilities, addictions, or other socialization difficulties that cleaning up their bodies alone won't cure. //   

       Exactly. Probably 50% of homeless people should be in mental institutions, 40 should be in jail, and most of the rest really deserve help getting on their feet.
bobad, Jul 17 2004

       //Probably 50% of homeless people should be in mental institutions, 40 should be in jail, and most of the rest really deserve help getting on their feet.//   

       90% Hmmm... is that based on a scientific study or just your gut instincts based on your immense depth of understanding of homelessness?
zigness, Jul 17 2004

       47.2% of statistics are made up on the spot.   

       Some statistics from a survey (reliable?): 38% have an alcohol need, 64% have a drugs need, 36% have a mental health need, 35% have a physical health need (I'd question to what degree). How many look like hell and need a makeover .... I can only view this idea with some amusement.
dpsyplc, Jul 17 2004

       // Some statistics from a survey (reliable?): 38% have an alcohol need, 64% have a drugs need, 36% have a mental health need, 35% have a physical health need //   

       That's totally compatible with my gut feeling statistics. My main point is that only a few are primarily homeless. Most homelessness is secondary to an ailment of one sort or another.   

       Oh, and the only thing wrong with statistics is that weenies like you can't imagine a wide margin of error. Statisticians admit to this if asked properly instead of being ridiculed by the unknowing.
bobad, Jul 17 2004

       I'm really happy to see how comfortable some of you are with the excuses you have come up with to avoid involvement.   

       I WAS homeless, I am an alcoholic (12 years clean an sober, married, 5 kids, stable job, own 2 houses, starting a business, etc...) and, yes, I KNOW there were others who were never going to make it out; at least not without accepting the same sort of treatment I got. This isn't for them. But there were people who were only homeless because they ran into some bad luck. And once you are down there, getting back up is damn hard.   

       I wouldn't have benifited from "Queer eye for the homeless guy" until after I got sober with AA. But screening for the homeless guy who has got it together would not be that hard.
James Newton, Jul 17 2004

       I'm a little more gay for having read that.
dpsyplc, Jul 17 2004

       Mr. Newton: I'm curious, how would you screen for the homeless guy who's got it together? Is there any way the average person could mentor and support such an individual to enable them to climb out of the hole they've landed in? (I'm not qualified to give them the kind of support that you received)   

       Oh, and the homeless have things tough enough without subjecting them to the "fab five". Don't be cruel.
half, Jul 17 2004

       [half] How to screen? Easy (I think, I haven't done it) and quick. Just ask them how they became homeless and look for them to accept personally responsibility in some way. e.g. "My boss was a real jerk and I made the mistake of thinking I could stand up to him. If I could do it over, I would keep my head down and just work"   

       For a deeper check, there are many psyc tests, e.g. MMPI, tests for dyslexia, etc...
James Newton, Jul 18 2004

       I have hired a few people that were "down on their luck". Never again! I'm sure a small number of these people are deserving or really want to change their lives, but chances of finding deserving people is a long shot. Many people would be glad to help the genuine homeless, but just about everyone over 40 has had bad experiences with their sort. Either they're frankly crazy, or they play by their own rules. In their world, it's OK to lie, steal, and hurt people. Sorry, but they'll have to stay in their own world.
bobad, Jul 18 2004

       It might be interesting if it went beyond the shave and haircut and new suit, and actually attempted to help these people turn themselves around. Things like getting them into counseling for whatever sort of issues were necessary (eg. substance abuse, mental health issues), re-establishing contact with friends and relatives, helping to find a place to live, a job, etc. If these were the real goals of the show, I would forgive the exploitation aspect.
waugsqueke, Jul 18 2004

       You know, [waugs], excellent idea. I actually think you're right. In fact, what if the show helped out, say, a couple of dozen for everyone that they actually aired. It could be a good thing. As far as the "exploitation" goes -- I just see that as advertisers paying the way to help out some people.   

       Also, these arguments that "these people" WANT to live this way... I discount those out of hand. They have nothing to do with the reality of homelessness.
zigness, Jul 18 2004

       Some of you people live in never-never land. You naively think you can transform homeless people into happy, productive citizens. In real life, this just insn't happening. Most of them have personality disorders or psychosis. Many are criminals. Working with them is like trying to make a pet out of a badger. They are hard to communicate with, they can't be trusted, and they would be very pleased to separate you from your wallet. A precious few are salvageable, but most should be in mental institutions and jails. They do not belong in the streets, where they are dangerous, unsanitary, and attract more homeless people. Most homeless people are either sick or they're bums. Treat the sick and force the bums to work for a place to sleep. The harder you are on them, the better a job and home will look to them.
bobad, Jul 19 2004

       [James Newton]: I will defer to your experience on the subject. However, I will clarify that I was opposed to the seeming superficiality of the idea, not to the spirit, and I was NOT (as your first anno seems to assume) suggesting in any way that homeless people are there "by choice" or that trying to help them is futile. From the wording of the idea, I assumed that all this program offered was a few cosmetic aids, provided once, with no basic needs like food, a bed, or employment assistance. It seems a moot point to ask whether or not the person will end up back on the street, because the idea doesn't seem to help the person OFF the street to begin with--there's no mention even of a place to sleep for a night. Similarly, as you say, "one shower a day" might indeed be a true help, but to me the idea sounds like it offers ONE shower, and that's it. The person walks in, gets cosmetically made over, waves to the camera, and walks out. If the idea were more what [waugs] proposes, and included more substantive help or help for a more sustained period of time, I'd be all for it. Given the way I'm reading the idea I'm interested to know if you still disagree with me...and apologies to [zigness] if I'm misreading...
Etymon, Jul 19 2004

       [Etymon] After re-re-reading your post, I see I may have been harsh. Yes, give the average homeless person one make over and it is not likely to do much good. The true cost of helping another is always far higher than we think.   

       [bobad] is also not entirely wrong. Homeless people usually need mental help, tough love and all that more than anything. But the best way to lie is to tell only part of the truth.   

       There ARE a portion of these people who really would benifit from a makeover. Just one job interview in a good suit with a professional hair cut, shave an smelling good could put them right back on top. And the boost from seeing what they COULD BE would last longer and help more.   

       Dont use the stereotype to avoid doing something for the exceptions.
James Newton, Jul 19 2004

       I would vote for this if, instead of a makeover, it consisted of hooking someone up with the appropriate services to help them turn their life around (like job counseling, mental health clinics, drug treatment, etc.). *After* these underlying issues are being treated, there could be a makeover so the protagonist could present a new face to the world.
evilmathgenius, Jul 19 2004

       Mr Newton, all respect to you, sir.   

       There was a time when one wrong move could very well have seen me on the streets, and I'm a well educated, healthy professional. It's easier than most of us imagine. A little more understanding wouldn't go amiss sometimes.
egbert, Jul 19 2004

       Has anyone read 'The Wonderful Ice-Cream Suit' by Ray Bradbury? The story is of a group of down-and-outs who aquire a clean, beautiful suit. They take turns going out in the evening in it and are transformed from wandering bums into what they'd always aspired to be. It's only a short story, but well worth a read.   

       Thinking about it, a day spent dressed up could do wonders for someone who's been at the bottom of the pile, however, I am still uncomfortable with the idea of televising the process. Charity should be for charities sake, by mixing in any motive other than helping other people turns it into something else. It's a principal thing.
zen_tom, Jul 20 2004

       Most harmless folks could use a professional informediary as well, to help them promote themselves without the (eminently laughable) stereotypes associated with down-and-out survival, i.e. 'professional panhandler', 'between vents', 'seeker of proof', etc. Some attributes like, "Secured shelter and sustinence for 14 months by lifting tips from a diner and scouting vendaloo coin returns" signify that a person may step outside the comfort zone of public assistance.
dpsyplc, Jul 20 2004

       Maybe the show could display a phone number where viewers could call and make cash donations to help the person out. I think that helps solve the taste vs. charity issue.   

       It's a gamble. Some people won't make it, sure, and end up back on the street. But some might make it. And it would be worth it to see the success stories.
waugsqueke, Jul 20 2004

       They could make clothes out of back copies of The Wall Street Journal and be encouraged to move into designer label cardboard boxes. Given the fact that many homeless people are starving - I'm sure that plasma screen TV cartons would do nicely. These could then be stacked liked multistorey flats and all their friends would join them.
xenzag, Oct 01 2005

       There is a homeless man who spends all day at a street corner not that far from my place. Always the same street corner. Just sits there and watches life go by. Oddly, Pontiac Rescue Mission is less than a mile away. He's not really after anything that I can tell; if he was after donations, he'd pick a different street. I'm quite sure he's a bit touched in the head. Not certain what to do for him.
RayfordSteele, Jun 23 2006


back: main index

business  computer  culture  fashion  food  halfbakery  home  other  product  public  science  sport  vehicle