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bums life

little things that help out poor people
  (+19, -5)(+19, -5)
(+19, -5)
  [vote for,

Publish a book about how to be homeless. The economy will promote sales of this documentation. The book will explain the full details of public restroom "sink showers" and ideas like how to re-use Q-tips by placing a tissue paper over the Q-tip; cleaning your ears, disposing of tissue and making another round with the still clean Q-tip. This is so you don't have to go deaf like my good friend Jimbo-B, using a bobby pin. 99 ways to stay resourceful when your down and out. This book will also be an asset to traveling salesman; request your copy today!
abadon, Nov 06 2007

Survival Guide to Homelessness http://guide2homelessness.blogspot.com/
[jutta, Nov 06 2007]

And here's a version for Veterans http://wanderingvets.wordpress.com/
[jutta, Nov 06 2007, last modified Nov 07 2007]

Ace Backwords: Surviving on the Streets http://www.paladin-...detail.aspx?ID=1397
"How to go DOWN without going OUT", Loompanics, 2002 (now sold via Paladin Press) [jutta, Nov 07 2007]

Down and Out in Paris and London http://www.george-o...d_London/index.html
[pertinax, Nov 09 2007]


       Having really clean ears is a major concern of the homeless?
hippo, Nov 06 2007

       Chapter 1: Sink-showers and Q-tips
Chapter 2: Getting hold of booze and drugs
Chapter 3: How to keep smoking even with no money
Chapter 4: 100 ways to avoid help from state, charities, family and friends
Chapter 5: Having no real excuse apart from a refusal to clean up and work hard Chapter 6: The hypocrisy of selling the 'Big Issue' whilst actually being the cause of the 'big issue' yourself due to Chapter 5
Chapter 7: How to give mental health excuses and gloss over the fact that no doctor has diagnosed or treated your 'clinical depression' and even if they have you've not followed the medication or advice given
Chapter 8: Blaming someone else for you being homeless but somehow not having a legal case against them for this evil act.
vincevincevince, Nov 06 2007

       Homeless folks would love this. Can you mail copies if I get you their addresses?
baconbrain, Nov 06 2007

       Ahhhh! vincevincevince, you're once, twice, three times a callous and ignorant clown.
Murdoch, Nov 06 2007

       (sits down next to Murdoch, muttering in a curmudgeonly manner) I count eight times. It's nice that you live in a world where homelessness only happens to bad people who have only themselves to blame. Have you ever even thought about speaking to a homeless man?
david_scothern, Nov 06 2007

       How much would this book cost the homeless? Maybe shelters could have free loaner copies.
37PiecesOf Flair, Nov 06 2007

       Having recently experienced the world of homelessness, shelters, food pantrys, mental illness, substance abuse, etc, I think my perspective might be of assis.   

       While I was going through this stage of my life, I discovered, at the shelter where I stayed, a sort of "sub-culture". It was as dynamic as any other culture I have ever visited, and for the most part, the only outstanding difference I noticed was that in the shelter environment there was no mention of "costs".   

       I considered, (when my circumstances changed and I had the freedom to entertain such thoughts), moving from one town's shelter to the next, and then chroncicalling in book form my experiences. The cast of characters were as diverse, intense, rich, and as spellbinding as any other group of strangers I've been thrust into unexpectidely. (Including conferences and meetings in unknown surroudings and such).   

       I'm neither stupid, nor lazy or insane. I'm simply a person who made some unwise life choices. A [vistors]guide to help me out would have been very helpful.   

       Many of the homeless seem to quickly develop a very keen paranoia about sharing ANYTHING, including helpful hints. (It took me a week to figure out I could use the bathroom handryer to dry my hair and my clothes.)   

       So a bun for you abadon, if your idea is genuine and not mean spirited, and a bone for vincevincevince for perpetuating ignorance.
blissmiss, Nov 06 2007

       hooray for the wonderful sentiments of [blissmiss], which I somewhat agree with. I think the *book* is not really the best format for a homeless person. Showing, telling and sharing in person would work much better, in my opinion.
xandram, Nov 06 2007

       The book is more a helpful hints, like sharing to ease the stress about how to live uncomfortably, while trying not to pester the individuals around us about simple needs. Thanks for all your input, I think the book should be free to anyone; but it will be sponsored by major contributers, so they can advertise in the survival guide.
abadon, Nov 06 2007

       Wow. That sounds like some pretty intense stuff, bliss. It's probably quite a facile thing to say, but I genuinely hope you got through it all relatively unscathed. Best wishes, is what I suppose I mean.   

       + for the idea, [abadon]. Maybe there should also be a "Compassion for Dummies" manual and a "Beginner's Guide to Empathy" book for folk like tripleyvince.
lostdog, Nov 06 2007

       blissy, you are always welcome at mine - it's not much but its home.   

       //vincevincevince// so great they named him thrice.   

       anyone can take the wrong road at any point in their lives and find themselves up shit's creek without a paddle...
po, Nov 06 2007

       Compassion is a two way street. Show me the homeless person who is spending all his time and energy Monday to Saturday going to job interviews and going door-to-door pleading for work and goes to Church on Sunday then I will show a lot of compassion.   

       There are homeless people like that and they don't stay homeless for long at all. We're talking days not even weeks in most cases. The offences of loitering and vagrancy were a good ones as they stopped those outside of gainful employment from having an easy time of things.   

       My original chapter headings do not apply to such people who work hard to change their situations. They apply to the drunks, addicts, lazy and stubborn long-term homeless who fail to do all that is in their power to change their own situations, yet expect the rest of society to support them.   

       There have been a few months during building my business in which I would have been homeless were it not for working consecutive 110 hour weeks. Things don't always go the way you plan them in life, but there are always ways to get back on track if you are willing to really work hard on them.
vincevincevince, Nov 07 2007

       vincevincevince is going to be the person whom employs the homeless person coming for work .
wjt, Nov 07 2007

       "The Art & Science of Dumpster Diving" is a very relevant, practical, and entertaining book, but alas is out of print. It's available at many libraries though.   

       And, not all homeless can read, so definitely look for other ways to get the message out.   

       Corporate sponsors would not be the most trustworthy.... I'm thinking more like a wiki/hitchhiker's guide style would be much more suitable.
sophocles, Nov 07 2007

       vincevincevince - you say, "The offences of loitering and vagrancy were a good ones as they stopped those outside of gainful employment from having an easy time of things." I assume you mean people like, errrm, Paris Hilton or Britney Spears, for example.   

       The fact that you work hard doesn't make homeless people all the things you claim they are. It just means you work hard. And compassion is NOT a two-way street. It should be offered freely to any who need it, not in exchange for whatever YOU want from them and on your terms. I'm glad I don't go to your church.   

       Bugger off back to the world of business, where you have, it seems, learned to apply the rules of trade and profit to human interaction.   

Murdoch, Nov 07 2007

       Murdoch, thanks for the personal attacks. And thanks for just attacking me instead of suggesting where I might be wrong such as providing a good example of someone living rough who should not be actively trying to find work and better himself. I may sound cold hearted to you but to me it is just as cold hearted to make down-and-out so comfortable that people never feel the need to get up-and-in again.
vincevincevince, Nov 07 2007

       Sorry if you take personally my disagreement with your (in my opinion) distasteful points of view . This is where you're wrong: "The fact that you work hard doesn't make homeless people all the things you claim they are. It just means you work hard. And compassion is NOT a two-way street. It should be offered freely to any who need it, not in exchange for whatever YOU want from them and on your terms" - but I said that already, didn't I. Here's another example: "Down and out" is, by definition, uncomfortable.
Murdoch, Nov 07 2007

       Well stated and I do understand your feelings if not agree with your taking it personal. //not in exchange for whatever YOU want from them//. I think our perceived disagreement comes from that. What I want from them is that they get their lives back together so that they can reintegrate with society. It's an issue of moral hazard, making being down-and-out easier makes it happen more and last longer if that easing is not both focused and conditional upon being on the fastest route to recovery.   

       To put it another way, helping the homeless in an unqualified way is just helping the homeless to be homeless.
vincevincevince, Nov 07 2007

       I think you're confusing being down and out with being a workshy waster who's happy to subsist on state benefits and handouts - not the usual state-of-mind of a homeless person. "Focused and conditional" sounds more like use of criteria than compassion, which isn't necessarily a bad thing.
Murdoch, Nov 07 2007

       Don't give a man a fish and you don't feed him for a day, don't teach him how to fish and you won't feed him for a lifetime.   

       And take the fight to another forum, but keep the idea here, I like it.
4whom, Nov 07 2007

       It's not a fight, 4whom - it's a difference of opinion on this idea and is on-topic, unlike some irrelevant and unamusingly mangled piscine pudding-headedness I might have recently read.
Murdoch, Nov 07 2007

       What [po] said. I'm not sure it's especially easy to get a job when you're of no fixed address - everyone assumes you're a head case.   

       If I was looking to lead a lazy, workshy life, would I stand outside in all weathers yelling "Big Issue!" at disinterested passers-by? I think not.   

       [Vince], in my opinion your mistake lies in taking the full credit for your own success, and thus deducing that anyone who is not successful can blame only themselves. Neither is true; circumstances have a significant role to play.   

       For example, I'm doing reasonably well at the moment. I have a good job which I enjoy, which I got because I have a degree from a good university, which I was enabled to go to by good results at school. My ability to get on with my schoolwork was due, in part, to a childhood home in which my parents loved one another. Had that not been the case, I might not be where I am now.
david_scothern, Nov 07 2007

       Up until the day, the moment, the nano-second, you have walked in my shoes, you have no right, nor sensibility to judge me, nor anyone else, vvv.   

       I was in the shelter for a month.   

       //Compassion is a two way street. Show me the homeless person who is spending all his time and energy Monday to Saturday going to job interviews and going door-to-door pleading for work and goes to Church on Sunday then I will show a lot of compassion.//   

       That'd be me, so you can start being compassionate today. Toss in two meetings a day to maintain my new found glorious state of sobriety, the bus system that takes forever to get anywhere, and ya get my point. (I hope). The homeless are but you, on a different day. They appear to come armed with the same coping skills, excuses, ailments, bitches, etc, that we all have in the "homey" world.   

       No, being humble and without is not easy at first, but the gifts are priceless. And I am better prepared now for life's speed bumps, custard filled or not, than many.   

       It's all the same really. Just a different set of walls around the same stupid head. no duh ;-)
blissmiss, Nov 07 2007

       Your scathingness is hilarious [Murdoch] - Crazy fool!   

       [d_s] - Well put.   

       [bliss] - Hiya darlin! Glad to hear your life is peachy at the mo. Keep it that way.
wagster, Nov 07 2007

       oh, blissmiss. i'm glad the lesson's learned and over. i just wonder where your loving support was to try to pick you up again?
k_sra, Nov 07 2007

       Mental health should be a priority for jobless folks and it takes someone besides yourself to boost your confidence; however when your in that atmosphere you find that not everyone is trustworthy and councelling with non-professionals; just to get your feelings out, can instigate their negative ideas, making health issues worse. Bonding with someone on your same level happens a lot of the time and is usually keeping yourself in that drounded state of mind. (Tunnel vision style thinking) Health issues also plague jobless people and cause pain and irrationability. Example teeth problems have effected the majority of people, its hard to be confident getting employment, especially when your mind is thinking about a nagging pain or possibly bad breath that can't just be covered up by toothpaste and chewing gum; I've noticed people with extremely bad breath and usually tooth decay hardly have a clue their as rank, as I detect. Wisdom teeth anyone? And to parents for being a good example, for how do we make the right choices without good up-bringing or influences. Parents have a tough time schedule. Because to make ends meet, parents need to be working all the time... then where is enough time to show good ethics to the next generation. I remember what was said about a "fixed mailing address" thanks-(david_scothern), well jobless people sometimes do not have these things.The requirements for my previous job applications are as follows: ID, SSC, address, phone #, and be presentable. If you might have slept(or barely slept) outside last night do you Qualify for being hired? How many homeless have phones? where do they charge the battery? My employers usually WANT's to call you to set up further interviews. even fast food, but get lucky, and keep persistant. I believe Persistance Is an outstanding attribute.
abadon, Nov 08 2007

       A bun for the idea Abadon. Add a chapter on keeping the faith, when you have to cope with the dispare as the *** dream vanishes. and you are no longer valued for what you can spend
Iridium7, Nov 08 2007

       The showers only have cold water, but you still can get clean.   

       The shelter has a P.O. Box, which solved the "no address" issue.   

       Support systems come and go, mine were gone.   

       If there were a generic sort of "how to" guide out there, I sure could have used it.
blissmiss, Nov 08 2007

       So called self-help books sell by the millions and are a dime a dozen, ex inflation. It would be wonderful for a line of books to recognise the situation you are in, and give reasonable advice. I am reminded of a skit, titled something like; "So you wanna be a Ho." Good, sensible advice to those contemplating prostitution.   

       Sure, some might consider it piscine drivel. But where the fuck are these reality based books? Something along the lines of: "Pull yourself up by the bootstraps, for Dummies." I like it! I also have a feeling Mr Badon (Baden) might have already been there.
4whom, Nov 08 2007

       sp: Bum's life or Bums' life. Please include the possesive.
4whom, Nov 08 2007

       There are 2 factors that contribute to (my) laziness.   

       1) I was raised up to think that money and material possesions don't matter, and that I should not pursue anything that the material world has to offer. (I think it most certainly does matter now though! My dam resume leads employees to believe that I'm lazy.... actually, I just never saw any point in trading my precious time on Earth for money in the form of a job.)   

       2) I was never allowed to do anything that I wanted to do, so I just learned to not want to do anything. (I am dam good at sitting and thinking, but not so much at doing stuff that requires physical animation or social interaction. I suppose sitting and thinking qualifies me as superior to an inanimate object though, perhaps on the level of a human computer.)   

       This is why I am now an atheist. My new religion is to experience as much as I possibly can in life and to score points in this life by doing whatever the heck I wanna do and when I wanna do it.   

       Unfortunately, I could have become a bum if I kept on with that previous lifestyle of trying to get into heaven by undeserved means, what a crock that way of living is! Anyway, that is my 2 cents worth for all my fellow bums out there. Oh, that and don't do drugs because they'll just make you lazier or crazier, which is what all religions aspire to anyway (unfulfillable promises never really get you where you want to be in life either so, despite what you're told in church, 1 - you have to make it on your own willpower - and 2 - your mind can handle reality if you just listen to your rational side and you stop blindly accepting unproven things that appeal to your emotions based on faith).   

       Yeah, this "Bums Life" book looks like a good survival guide. [+]
quantum_flux, Nov 09 2007

       // The shelter has a P.O. Box, which solved the "no address" issue.   

       A guy we looked after at our church (he's since died) had this problem with shelters - with help he'd kicked his drug and drink addictions, but found that this meant he couldn't stay in shelters because the ease of access to drugs was too tempting. Life is not straight forward on the streets, but you can still make choices. At least we can make sure the showers are hot!
TheLightsAreOnBut, Nov 09 2007

       //shelters ... ease of access to drugs was too tempting// Did the police not make arrests? In my experience, calling the police does get results against drug use, especially if you call them every single time.
vincevincevince, Nov 09 2007

       They can't even get drugs out of the prisons, never mind shelters
TheLightsAreOnBut, Nov 09 2007

       Arresting people doesn't get rid of their addictions, vvv. What is this "my experience" you cite?
Murdoch, Nov 09 2007

       Getting way off topic! To be short; having called the police on drug users repeatedly myself and achieved lasting results, I believe the strategy works.   

       Perhaps the guide book should point out the fact that drugs are not welcome and not to take them into a shelter.
vincevincevince, Nov 09 2007

       Bun - for even starting the conversation. For those out there that haven’t seen it, I’d suggest the “Pursuit of Happyness”, and from those with some experience I’d like to hear a review of its authenticity. I think it should be a book or pamphet at libraries where people who aren’t homeless can see the world from a different viewpoint. I am an Objectivist who believes that no one should get something for nothing, but realize that human life has inertia that carries you like a current up or down and we can only swim so well. If you make some bad choices you can be dragged all the way down and it is in everyone’s best interest to give people assistance to fight the current. We should all want everyone to make their contribution but sometimes that just isn’t possible and also there are bound to be some who are just not trying hard enough. We have to give and hand to those who are trying, but not so much that the ones who aren’t just to get an easier life.
MisterQED, Nov 09 2007

       What were the "lasting results"? Do you mean they went to prison? Saw the light and overcame their addictions?
Murdoch, Nov 09 2007

       //[quantum_flux] Good answer. Now what was the question ?//   

       There wasn't a question. I just thought I'd provide some material for this book that [abadon] wants to publish, just some personal insights that I have about what might turn people into the lazy kind of bum in the first place.
quantum_flux, Nov 09 2007

       Thanks to 4whom, I'm just not all good at grammer, gonna leave it alone but will get better with time. Thanks Quantum flux for insight, and LightsAreOnBut has a good point, drugs are everywhere; its like not a battle of drugs but why there; done to nullify things. My councellor says we are supposed to feel 'bad' sometimes. I guess feeling out the 'bad' is good for healthy ballance. The thought of rebelling is an important one to tackle because its like instinct. The instinct gets us initiated in being around them (drugs) or to even try them? Am I right? Today in my hometown paper, announced a first small shelter will be built, I objected the idea well before this article; eating at the soup kitchen was like flocking birds of a feather. Where I was introduced to people who wanted to "help me" survive, mostly they were pretty absorbed into their routine and just wanted to show a youngster the ropes(its true about how everyone enjoys being around the energy of youth). They would forget the -help part pretty fast and be offering beer, cigarettes, or talk about drugs. (Its challenging to go there just for food and not a conversation) I slept nearby the regulars at first, invited to their camps, but sometimes would be on their emotional side; and end up with a knife to my body, contemplating why the irrational process of my initiation, and if I would be calm enough to survive the situation. I started carrying more personal protection, not sure if it would even be helpful at the spur of the moment. The shelter would have been a step up for accesibility to obtaining a job, and believe it should incorperate community involvement, however challenging, as a payment to access this highly sought refuge;(maintenance speeches editorials) whatever you are tallented at could be your access to temporary shelter. I have heard much from all walks of life about manipulation of such programs. With help, I will most likely publish homegrown versions of this discussion for the shelters use if approved. Thank you all - makes me feel so good, -that I may make a difference in my community.
abadon, Nov 10 2007

       [vvv] - You solved who's problem, yours or theirs?   

       [abadon] - You've earned my bun.
wagster, Nov 10 2007

       For [visitors] to this way of life the book would be helpful as they will probably be able to read, however, how many others can read?
xxobot, Nov 11 2007

       //[vvv] - You solved who's problem, yours or theirs?// The point is in reference to the effectiveness of repeated police attendance at a location against drugs at that location. If it can work in a shelter (daily police search) then it will mean less exposure to drugs for those who are there.
vincevincevince, Nov 11 2007

       You're so right. The police have absolutely nothing better to do than spend their time following outlandish suggestions for keeping those pesky scrounging junkie homeless wasters out of decent folks' way.
Murdoch, Nov 23 2007

       Hi. Very interesting discussion. I'm Ace Backwords, the guy who wrote the book "SURVIVING ON THE STREETS: How To Go Down Without Going Out." Its sort of all the things I wish I had known when I first hit the street scene at age 17, but had to learn the hard way. I'm not sure ow effective it is as a how-to guide for street living. (You'll probably have to learn your lessons the same way I did.) But people seem to find the stories pretty entertaining. Check out the site on www.amazon.com if you wanna see what the readers have to say about it.
acebackwords, Feb 21 2008

       "A [vistors]guide to help me out would have been very helpful."   

       Not available from AAA.   

       A coworker - now deceased - once said that the vast majority of everyone is only three months away from homelessness. Lose your job, miss some payments, and boom: hello sidewalk. It isn't that difficult to do.
elhigh, Feb 27 2008

       We keep our showers hot. The food ain't gourmet, but it isn't Alpo, either. We say Grace over the meals because even if our clientele don't believe in God, He still believes in them.   

       All the toilets flush. What gets flushed goes away. The laundry washes every sheet every day - that's about 900 sheets, and two fabulous washing machines.   

       There are fights. There are complaints. There is much disillusionment and there are vainglorious volunteers working alongside - or usually somewhere in front of - stalwart, committed volunteers. There is mental unhealth, and lots of it. There are a great many wounds, visible and hidden.   

       There are a great many people staggering from one step in their life to the next, with no idea what direction they are going, or how to finish this awful step to get to the next one.   

       One very large, hope-filled (but not Obama-flavored) bun for this idea. If it got a single person off the street and back into productive society, it would be worth it.
elhigh, Feb 27 2008

       El High: Sounds like you got the right attitude. I'm sure you do a lot of good for a lot of people. There's a tendency to stereotype The Homeless. They're either a.) worthless bums, or b.) martyred victims of society. Fact is, they come in a lot of shapes and sizes. Probably half of them are just out-and-out bums and neer-do-wells, the types that show up in all societies at all times. Others have mental and physical disabilities. A lot are from broken, or no, homes. Some are adventurers a la Kerouac, digging the Open Road. And the newest entries to the homeless street scene are all the normal people, with nothing "street" about them, who just happen to be "one paycheck away from the streets."
acebackwords, Feb 28 2008

       Sounds to me like you're using the actions of one guy to confirm your prejudices about a whole sector of society. He was an asshole - clearly, but the next guy might not be. These people aren't "homeless people" - they are all individuals, each with a different story, personality and attitude.
wagster, Mar 08 2010

       As usual, it's hard to draw conclusions from single examples, even a string of them, but i have had people sleeping rough offer me money on a number of occasions.   

       As to the idea, i'd expect those things to be passed on by word of mouth for free.
nineteenthly, Mar 08 2010

       Very well said, [wagster], and I echo the sentiment. As a perfect example, I give you myself;   

       The first comment I made on this idea, I was just a month out of the shelter, and but two months out of rehab.
Fast forward to the present and you will see, as evidenced by other bakers who graced with me their presence for a brunch, that my life now is as far removed from a homeless shelter in Hartford, Connecticut, as a life could be.
I didn't get any smarter, less so, some would say. But I made some different choices based on different options placed before me. Had not a thing to do with my brains or my energy, or probably anything much under my control at all. My life just turned out that way. (If this makes any sense.)
blissmiss, Mar 09 2010

       That's really interesting, [blissmiss], because it makes me wonder if you're in a position to confirm or deny a claim i've heard about homelessness in the States. Is it the case that there's a rapid turnover of homeless people? That is, are people generally homeless for a short period of time before moving up in the world, as it were? That doesn't seem true here.   

       Also, are you saying you're lucky?
nineteenthly, Mar 09 2010

       Again, it's what [wags] said. It is so different for so many, and for so many different reasons. There is no "homeless" person type here, in the US. So many factors, and so many variants, and so many moments of chance or choice. The geography of the homeless one is usually a big influence as well.   

       There just is no way to define a " homeless" person, other than to say it's a human being with no house. All the rest is prejudice and seemingly, a paranoid disdain, I think.   

       I personally don't believe in luck, as much as what happens is what is meant to happen, and our paths are already paved. But that's just me.   

       Serendipitous moments, and holding on to life's curves, and bends, and really being open, seems to me to be the answer to rising from one rung to the next.
blissmiss, Mar 09 2010

       OK, thanks. I'd say it's somewhat the same over here, though there is something of a pattern in that there are more than the average number of ex-servicepeople, people whose parents have died and who weren't used to paying the rent and people fleeing violence or other abuse. However, i'm sure those are all stereotypes too.   

       There's no reason, i suppose, why you should know more than anyone else.   

       Incidentally, the government here are considering making insurance compulsory for dog owners, which struck me as a particularly nasty thing to do to the homeless.
nineteenthly, Mar 09 2010

       Did anyone else hear that piece on the Today programme this morning with the kid from Hackney talking about his dog? He was talking in the kind of street-talk affected by many of today's youth, and he was talking about keeping a potentially dangerous dog, but he also seemed to genuinely care for the animal. Back at the studio, you could almost hear the scorn dripping from the faces (this was radio) of Humphries and co - quite an ugly moment I thought.
zen_tom, Mar 09 2010

       Yes, that's the piece which made me think of this. Definite class division, i thought. It's apparently OK to price supposed personas non gratas out of the market through insurance, and there's an agenda of the Other. "We" are the people who make and listen to Radio 4 and "they" are beyond the pale.
nineteenthly, Mar 10 2010


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