Living Amongst America’s Homeless

Over the past 30 years Americans have grappled with the problem of homelessness on a large scale. As many of us drive by them on the corner, or step over them on the sidewalk, it’s hard to avoid the feeling that we live amongst the homeless.

When analyzing this problem, many fall back on the political blame game. And yes, although the federal cutbacks in mental health services and affordable housing in the 1980’s created a spike in homelessness at the time, it’s hard to just blame Republicans for this problem. Since that time, both parties have failed to restore the social service safety net while also radically altering America’s economy. The changes in our economy have created much uncertainty for both the middle and lower-middle classes.

In the past 30 years inflation has taken a toll on real wages as automation and globalization have changed the job landscape. These factors, when combined with the credit and debt boom, have created a situation that results in many Americans with very little or no savings. As a result, there are many homeless who were pushed into this life after losing a job. What sometimes starts as a temporary setback of living out of their car often turns into a several month ordeal that changes their life forever. Sadly…some find that once they lose their housing, they’re never able to recover. As opposed to thinking of the homeless as mostly scam artists or drug addicts, we need to recognize that many of them would prefer to be employed and living a normal life.

As typical with many political issues these days, neither political party can be relied on to totally improve the homeless problem. As with many political topics, actual solutions require creative thinking involving both parties putting the interest of America first, and the dogma of their party second.

Interestingly, President Trump’s protectionist economic policies have actually helped supply a boost in employment. Although these protectionist policies will eventually give way to the globalist trend well established, it needs to be recognized that improving employment opportunities can definitely help the homeless situation.

However, boosting employment alone will probably not bring America’s homeless to as low a level as it was in the 1970’s. To achieve this we need to also improve the budget for affordable subsidized housing. In line with this, as a way to reduce the stigma with subsidized housing, policies that allow renters and owners to take ownership and have responsibility for the appearance, cleanliness, and maintenance of these dwellings should help. These policies can help reduce the stigma of subsidized housing while also improving the value and safety of the properties.  

Since many homeless have mental health problems compounded by the drug crisis, we should find ways to improve the budgets of mental health service on all governmental levels. This makes sense since it’ll help to not only get many mentally ill off the streets; it’ll also give some a chance to normalize their life. In line with this, looking for ways to reduce access to opioids and other hard drugs such as methamphetamines and LSD, will help.

American history shows periodic spikes in homelessness that has often followed wars or economic dislocations. Obviously, our 30-year period of high homelessness needs to end soon for this to be looked at as merely a spike and not an American way of life.

Since employment helps people focus on improving their lot, it’s worthwhile to look at continuing some of the employment-boosting free-market measures now taking place. In addition, it’d also be wise to create a government workforce that can be used for infrastructure maintenance. This government workforce can employ some of the homeless that show aptitude in both temporary and permanent jobs.

As with any political problem, there are solutions to the homeless crisis. However, although the solutions are right before our eyes, finding the will to look for in-depth and concrete political solutions is difficult. If we want to put America truly first again, we’ll need to put our heads together from the left to the right, to reach solutions that are best. Combining all political ideas from across the spectrum is the only real way that we’ll start getting the homeless off the streets, and into homes.


38 thoughts on “Living Amongst America’s Homeless

  1. Certain people are too busy spending tax dollars to feed the thousands coming across the border. There’s nothing left for our own children and homeless. As the years progress, the US is becoming a country fewer and fewer citizens working and paying taxes, but the amount of people being supported by welfare programs increases in leaps and bounds. The country keeps borrowing money from other countries to the point where our debt can never be paid back. Take a look at the ever increasing national debt….

    1. Hi GP, I’m so glad that you stopped by my blog to comment. I’ve learned much over the past few months from your blog + appreciate the time you put into making WW 2 history come alive.

      Yeah…I hear your justifiable concern about our debt + the fact that the immigration situation has become so complex + political. Without a doubt, if someone is trying to keep our debt down + is looking for ways to take care of our own homeless problem it’s disconcerting to realize that we’re supporting people who are not yet paying into the system in the form of taxes.

      Since America has adopted debt-based Keynesian economics since the 30’s we’re kind of seeing it play out-debt-wise, in a way that even Keynes didn’t foresee. Basically, politicians add to the debt willingly without much thought to consequences often.

      The 1st blog post I did highlights this situation:

      Hopefully, we can resolve our immigration crisis in a way that doesn’t tear the country apart. In relation to homelessness, I feel it’s always best to have jobs available whenever possible to help create a situation where more people can become self-sufficient. In addition we need to address better the drug situation + realize that some of the mentally ill on the streets need treatment as opposed to being released back onto the streets.

      Thx for stopping by GP!

  2. Hey Perry, The solution is obvious. And every town and city in America will go for it.

    Many different suggestions include supplying them with little campers to live in. Everyone agrees that they should have porta-poddies of some kind so that they don’t have to go to the bathroom on the street. They should be given enough nutritious food so that they stay in good health. They should be given clothes for their back. They should be allowed to live out of shopping carts without getting in trouble for taking a cart from a store that doesn’t belong to them. They should be valued and loved, and accepted as equal and important members of our society.

    And the bottom line, which all of the above has been prefaced on, is one which every city, town or principality can agree on, The homeless should be provided all this and given whatever help then need in order to live productive lives in someone else’s town.

    We love the homeless as long as they are anywhere but here.

    1. Hi luvforall1959! So good to hear from you again!

      Even though I detect that your comment was a bit tongue-in-cheek 🙂 , you hit upon things that are quite relevant here.

      First off, the main thing that you hit upon was the fact that many people claim to want to help the homeless as long as they go to another town. This is a very important point. The NIMBY Concept-“Not In My Back Yard,” is something that’s very prevalent on many levels. And yes, although many of us want to do something about homelessness, the sheer complexity of the situation, when combined with the Us vs Them politics that we currently have, basically results in an inability to work together on solutions.

      I truly appreciate you pointing this out!

      Thx for coming by again luvforall1959. Interesting ideas as usual!

  3. It pains me to hear people say we are wasting our tax payer dollars on the homeless, the poor or on immigrants. Are we investing our money wisely? How we spend on the disadvantaged is worthy of debate. I cringe even more when I hear equal rights be the justification for stripping others of their rights or that we can solve these problems by taxing the rich. The reason I find a liberal bias more offensive than conservative bias, is because bias, based on a lack of information, is bigotry, plain and simple.
    I can respect emotions as fundamental to a person’s worldview. However, I am disappointed when I see intelligent people fanning the flames of emotionalism instead igniting the embers curiosity.
    The growing numbers of homeless and economic migrants are due to the inversion of investments from earnings that is driving the disparity of wealth around the planet. Historically, horses and fast ships have put physical distance between the spoils and the victims from whom they were taken. Asset investment on the other hand is the engine of sustainable wealth. Even so, the extractive method of wealth is now sublimely refined. All manner of legal, technological and physical protections exist to funnel resources from extraction to private holdings. No one is going to argue the motive needed for capitalism, but is this model sustainable?
    Frontiers were conquered and wilderness tamed by the endowment principle. Getting people invested in an area creates wealth and created nations. A person so vested, will move to protect that investment, thus, home owning citizens are more likely to obey laws and pay taxes. The disenfranchised, socially and economically displaced migrants aka, homeless, are not invested in any location or system thus have less of a reason to obey any rules that may further constrain their survival. That does not mean that all migrants and homeless are criminals, just to say they have less reason to be constrained, and even less so, if they have no hope of investing.
    The endowment principle is the same force of nature at work for any investment mechanism and is the basis for legal tort. A party must demonstrate their investment in order to have standing. The same principles are at work in our corrective systems. For persons in violation of social norms, if there is no way for them to redeem themselves, then there is little motivation to rehabilitate. Conversely, if given a chance to invest in socially appropriate behaviors with the promise of meaningful return, most will.
    There has to be motivation to do more than simply survive. To strive, to innovate and to excel, one must have a powerful incentive, but how can we sustain this when each unit of investment provides incrementally less per unit in return when distributed mathematically or fairly amongst the increasing number of investors? The horrors of forced socialization or communism are that motivation is lost when drive is removed by guaranteed sustenance. The same lack of motivation is seen in any status quo system, whether it be individual welfare, favorable corporate tax rates or protectionist trade policies; innovation stagnates.
    How do we deal with the homeless, migrants, the incarcerated, and the environment? We give them value and provide a way to invest that value back into the economy so it is sustainable. That should guide how we spend our tax dollars. The question of who pays taxes and how much, kind of misses the point. Why do we pay taxes? Why should corporations and individuals invest in fair and sustainable economic assets? Because we want solid financial returns, or, because we don’t want to end up physically and morally bankrupt? I think it imperative to note our founding fathers were well aware of the need for motivation to invest in a new nation. That investment was for the perpetuity of a perfect union, not the profit of one.

    1. Hey Tom…thx again for the in-depth comment!

      Yes, liberal bias can at times be interpreted as bigotry + it’s interesting to note that bigotry can exist in liberals. After all, the basic concept of bigotry is the inability to comprehend a point of view that’s different than one’s own. Often, bigotry is just looked at something conservatives have. In a nutshell, all of us are capable of bigotry at some time.

      Although equal rights is a worthy concept, it is interesting to note that some, although not all, liberals push for equality of outcome as opposed to equality of opportunity. As we all know, equality of opportunity is one of the cornerstones of the American concept. However, equality of outcome can veer at times close to the Marxist ideal of communism which has proved almost impossible to implement.

      Regarding homelessness, you’re so right to point out the big picture when it comes to things such as how we utilize our population’s productive capacity. And yes, I admire the fact that you aptly point up how the endowment principle needs to be looked at so that we can move beyond the “stuck in the mud” political landscape that we have now that reduces issues to caricatures on the right + left. These caricatures reinforce for some on the right that a totally free-market can exist to right all wrongs + on the left we have the caricature that a totally equal socialism can be had if only we envision it.

      As you cleverly point out, finding solutions to the homeless situation requires us to look beyond both stereotypes. After all,creating incentive within the individual is the key to everything. And yes, creating incentive need not be looked at as just a free-market concept. It’s a concept which empowers us all.

      Like you said + as I talked of, the economic changes in the past 30 years with globalization, automation, + the financialization of our economy, have created a situation of high debt + high risk for many middle class families. And yes, although we don’t want to create an totally equal society, it needs to be noted that the changes to our economy the past 30 yrs has created a situation where wealth inequality has increased to the point that a certain instability for the economy as a whole-especially the middle class, is setting in.

      Although many homeless are drug addicted or mentally ill, there are many who are in this lifestyle due to the high debt nature of our current economy. These people cannot afford to lose a job or else they become homeless. It’s these people that we hope to reach by working to creating a society that rewards + incentivizes all to work hard + save to protect themselves + their families.

      Simply put, total socialism-or communism doesn’t work due to lost incentives. However, a total free-market mindset ignores the fact that wealth has become even more concentrated, + ignores the fact that many with motivation are hampered. After all, it’s hard to pull oneself up from the bootstraps if one doesn’t have any boots on their feet.

      As I said earlier Tom, your endowment principle provides much to think about to help create a society where hard work + motivation clearly rewards all. This concept can be looked at to deal with the homeless situation.

      Thx so much for the input Tom!

  4. I can’t claim to know where the solution lies. All I can do is state my personal experience. Years of being homeless in the San Francisco Bay Area exposed me to an undying assault on my dignity. It was assumed I was unemployable. It was assumed I was mentally incapable of maintaining a decent place of residence. None of the social workers believed I was capable of pulling myself out of homelessness. The socio-economic factor that glares in the Bay Area was overlooked completely. The fact that the demand for affordable rentals far exceeds the supply in that neck of the woods was glossed over, if ever mentioned at all. Social workers referred to me as “riff raff” I and other homeless people were herded around like cattle at feeds and other service locations, and orders were barked at us as though we were criminals in a jailhouse. A person can only take so much of it. I took twelve years of it, and it took a particularly demeaning experience with a homeless shelter for me to finally tell myself I was bigger and better than all of that bullshit.

    I don’t want to make this a liberal vs. conservative thing here. Social workers come from right-wing Christian organizations such as the Salvation Army, an they also come, perhaps more predominantly, from a leftis perspective of do-gooding that unforuntately devalues the strength of the individual and doesn’t do much for the overall morale of the community they endeavored to serve. If I hadn’t have gotten a loan on a one way bus ticket to a lower rent district in a “Red” state, I would never have been thrust immediately into the position where it was generally assumed that I could and should get a job. I had a one year lease on an apartment and a part time job within a month after I moved from California to Idaho. I have paid my rent on time for over two years now, after not being able to hold down a rental in the Bay Area for more than a few months, over a period of twelve years, and always winding up back on the streets.

    Did a guy who goes by A.P. change that drastically on a 48-hour Greyhound trip to another State? No, he did not. What changed was I left an environment where nobody believed in me, and moved to a place where nobody had any reason not to. And that made all the difference — for me — in the world.

    1. Thx for the intriguing comment AP! Your story is testament to the strength + resilience of the human spirit! 🙂

      To me, this comment is illuminating since its not written by a journalist, academic, policy-wonk, or government spokesperson. Its written by someone who lived thru the experience of being homeless. And yes, because of that fact your insight carries so much more weight to me.

      Your comment hit on an overlooked fact regarding homelessness in the major metro areas. An important factor you talk of is the fact that the cost of living is so very high there. In addition, as you eloquently talk of, many people who become homeless can then fall into a trap of going thru revolving doors, both physically + mentally, that often reinforce the problem by adding to a sense of hopelessness.

      As a believer in offering people a “hand-up,” I do believe that one thing that may help in these areas is an increase in subsidized housing. However, as you allude to, a great + realistic option for those homeless in a major metro area is to pursue life in a more rural area where the cost of living is cheaper.

      AP, I’m so glad you were able to break this cycle + am so glad that you have the ability to take care of yourself. After all…such as I saw with your amazing piano-playing, you have many fine things to pursue.

      Thx for stopping by AP!

      1. No problem, Perry. I enjoy reading your intelligent, thought-provoking posts. I’m also impressed by the fact that you’ve served in capacities for both of the two major parties in our current two-party system. Me, not being a politically-minded person by nature (more of a “sensitive Artist type”) I hesitate to point toward possible political or economic solutions to this malaise.

        However, I think the Tiny House Movement holds a lot of promise, especially for the more independently-minded individual who may have found themselves becoming homeless (viz., Yours Truly). I personally would rather live in a small shack and retain my privacy and personal autonomy, rather that in one of those glorified jailhouses they call “homeless shelters.” And I’m pretty sure (though not 100% positive) that the establishment of tiny houses would be more economically feasible, per capita along a strata of homeless people, than subsidized housing. (Of course, increased funding for either would be greatly appreciated.) Here’s a pertinent Wiki:

        One thing I’ve noticed in the past two years of living indoors is that I am far from being the only ex-homeless person who is airing their views on the matter. I’ve tuned in especially to Ms. Adora Myers, whose recommendations on this pinned Quora post seem to me to be well worth considering, as well as is the detail with which she answered an offensive question without bothering to dignify it:

        You have to scroll down a bit to get to the detailed practical suggestions, once she finishes with citing the 13th Amendment, and all that.

        Thanks also for your appreciation of my piano stuff. I obviously never got a chance to practice when I was homeless, not to mention no one would have dared give a homeless cat a key to a church building with a Baldwin Grand. So maybe I’m making up for lost time — but I’m sure enjoying myself. Cheers –

  5. Hey AP…thx again for the thought-provoking comment! I’ve learned so much from you. Interestingly, you present some very concrete political solutions to the homeless crisis. As I said earlier…I’d much rather listen to your 1st person stories + ideas about homelessness, than listen to some talking-head.

    I agree with you 100% about the “Tiny House Movement.” In addition to your spot-on suggestion that someone who’s homeless should seriously consider going to a more rural + less expensive area, the small house movement also holds much promise in many ways as both rentals or purchased homes. After all, the smaller the house…the lower the cost. And I also agree with you that it’d be much better to be living in a small house environment where one can have some control over their destiny, than to possibly suffer the indignity of being herded around in bureaucratic homeless shelters.

    Thx for the link to the other article. Although a bit disturbing + dystopian, there’s a possibility that if the homeless situation continues to grow, that more of these uncomfortable ideas will sprout up. To avert these negative situations from arising, we need to listen to stories such as yours.

    AP…your story is an inspiration to the spirit of the individual. Now that you’ve moved on from the homeless chapter of your life, you can continue to refine your music. Being a musician myself, I saw much to admire in your piano video. You had a strong technique + sense of melody present + have a unique voice that encompasses blues, stride, + jazz. Keep it up + let me know of any more videos you have!

    1. Hey Perry. Thanks for your encouragement. On the piano videos, I try to post them every Friday. I did a version of “Killing Me Softly” this week — only in places it was more like “Killing Me Loudly” lol – — hope you like it.

      Though I’ve not yet run out of things to say with respect to the homless crisis, I’m getting pretty eager to focus on my musicianship. One drawback to being out in the country (and without wheels) is that there really isn’t a piano bar anywhere nearby – certainly not like the regular gig I enjoyed throughout the 90’s in the Bay Area.

      But all things in good time. I’m still about getting my chops back! Thanks for everything, and God bless.

  6. Hey Andy…great job on the piano piece! I loved how you built up + developed the melody. You’ve got some amazing piano chops there. Keep it up! I’ll make a note to check out your piano posts on Friday… 🙂

    Hopefully, you can get some local playing in where you’re at in Idaho.

    I play keyboards, bass, guitar, harmonica + studied classical piano to be a music teacher. Alas, I never became a teacher. 🙂 However, I enjoy a wide variety of music + am working on releasing some of my own music that has elements of rock + folk music. I do love the blues, classical, + jazz too.

    Take Care Andy!

  7. Your background is similar to mine, then — although I actually did go so far as to become a music teacher (elementary school level) for seven years at one point. Switched my emphasis from Piano Performance to Theory-Comp at the Conservatory after flunking piano my first semester. I don’t have the temperament of a classical pianist (not to mention hands are too small for Liszt) but the jazz improv solo stuff is down my alley (as well as suits my nerves). Like you, I’ve played the “studio instruments” – keyboards, bass, & guitars. I’ll look forward to your releases. Thanks for your comments on “Killing Me Softly” and for thinking to stop by on Fridays. Take it easy, man.

    1. Hey A.P, I’m impressed by your background in the Conservatory + am curious as to which one you went to. As for the size of your hands + playing Liszt, your hands look fine to me. I think that the great maestro Liszt reached about a 10th. That’s what my hands can do + it looks like your hands can do that too.

      I love jazz + rock + music with syncopation + rhythm. Likewise, I do love a lot of classical that has a rhythmic feel. I found that Beethoven + Haydn had had some syncopated parts that were almost a little rock-jazz-ragtime feeling. Haydn’s “Gypsy Rondo” is something I really like playing. I’ve accompanied my daughter on it while she played violin. It has some neat syncopation.

      Wow…7 years teaching music. You actually made the leap! I gave up after student – teaching. Take Care A.P. + till next time. 🙂

  8. Hi Perry – my comments below align with much of what you say, and also supported by some of the commentators….

    I read somewhere that San Francisco spends over $100M a year on the homeless issue for an estimated 7500 people living on its streets. That’s over $1000 for each per month. Seems like an amount that could majorly lessen the tragedy of this crisis. But all that happens is the problem grows…..

    The homeless are not a monolithic mass. Some are capable and the situation is temporary, having been forced into the streets by an unexpected economic downturn and an unaffordable housing crisis. Others have serious physical or mental incapacities and have been abandoned to the streets by family or friends or even agencies tasked with helping them. These are two separate issues, we need to step up and assist the later with a real sustained effort (and it sure seems that, as the SF expenditure figures indicate, we have the resources) and we need to guide the first group to a rational decision as to relocation to somewhere offering better employment opportunities and lower housing costs.

    I’ve driven across country, twice, and what an eye opener it is! Such beautiful land but so empty, where many small communities are dying because industries have moved on, with an aging population as the young move away to what they assume to be greater opportunity. I’ve heard that one of the biggest issues of development and growth in fly-over America is lack of workers, that the opportunities are in fact there, that its remaining businesses do want to grow, but cannot find the workforce.

    Why does everyone congregate on the coasts? Sure, there’s attractions and climate, but also crowding and costs. What a great opportunity to solve so many pressing issues as we attempt to halt the depopulation of the middle. America first policies can work to revitalize industries across the country, providing employment opportunities where they are needed most. The capable homeless would have the chance to start again. (Even immigration pressures can be alleviated by funneling the incoming to these areas, it makes no sense to settle immigrants in the overcrowded expensive areas.) And we expend our resources on the homeless who really need our assistance.

    1. For the record, I agree completely with PJ, and it is refreshing to hear this view. The monies allocated toward “helping” the homeless essentially only help them to *remain* homeless. Not that we shouldn’t be about feeding the hungry – when one’s personal starvation is imminent — but having been homeless in the Bay Area for years, I found that the overwhelming attitude toward the homeless was that we were ALL incapable of taking care of ourselves. When one hears that kind of thing repeatedly, over a number of years, day after day, night after night, one tends to believe it.

      This is why I linked to the Adora Myers recommendations. It may seem “dystopian” at first glance, but she also is a survivor of homelessness, and I believe she has some very practical ideas. And what P.J. is saying rings true, and if half the money spent on helping homeless people in large urban areas was spent on helping those who are able to work to find work, it seems it would be a wiser distribution of funds.

      Also baffled why people flock to the coasts, and to urban areas in general. There’s a sense in which “misery loves company” and so where there are already a lot of homeless people in the same boat, one figures one might fit in, and even perhaps “blend.” I see the homeless people in my very small rural community here. Five at the most are visible. The rest sleep in their cars or hidden away in deep seclusion. No panhandlers here, nobody “working the streets,” a homeless person will stick out like a sore thumb. And who, facing homelessness for the first time, wants that? People migrate to towns like Oakland, San Francisco, and Berkeley in order to BE homeless.

      Of course, I defer to Ms. Myers, whom I hardly know, and to PJ, whom I don’t know at all; because I feel that my own skills in the political arena are sadly lacking. I’m only a piano player, and my newest offering has just been posted at Enjoy.

      1. Excellent points again A.P.! I’m so glad PJ stopped by + you got a chance to hear his in-depth take on the situation. PJ has brought up many excellent ideas on my blog before.

        As both you + PJ point out, the money spent on the homeless situation would be much better spent on helping or encouraging people to relocate to rural areas where the cost of living is much cheaper. I’m so glad to have made your acquaintance to hear you reinforce this take on things. Likewise, PJ eloquently pointed out the odd political-financial nature of the homeless bureaucracy.

        Sadly, + as you say A.P., the bureaucrats in the homeless arena often reinforce a sense of helplessness with homeless people. For your sake, I’m so glad you were able to escape this! I imagine that it must have gotten pretty old for you to be treated in such a patronizing manner.

        The things that you have said here, along with PJ’s comments, Adora Myers, + others, goes to show me that some of the answers to the homeless crisis are easy if one cares to look. Simply put…its that if one finds themselves in this situation, they should abandon the coasts + the big cities. Therein, lies hope for many once this is achieved.

        I truly appreciate your piano-playing. I checked out your latest offering + left a comment. Keep it up!

    2. Once again PJ you make some very provocative points well worth considering + thx for stopping by again!

      As you talk of, + as the story of AP illustrates, there are areas in what’s known as “America’s Flyover Country” where there are not enough workers + where rent is cheap. As opposed to spending so much money on the homeless crisis in these large coastal cities, it’d be much better to encourage ways for these people to network so they can relocate to parts of the country where the cost of living is much cheaper + where there are jobs.

      Like we’ve talked of before PJ, once a bureaucracy is built up that reinforces a mindset, it gets hard to question its effectiveness since so many workers in a particular sector rely on the bureaucracy. This is what you eloquently point out with the homeless situation in San Francisco. Although much money is spent on the problem in San Francisco, it has not been very successful.

      And as A.P. talks of, the treatment that the homeless receive from the bureaucrats is often uninspiring + sometimes rude. What a shame…

      All in all, it’d probably be much better to encourage many of the people that are able to re-locate to a part of the country where they have a good chance at not only housing, but employment too. As for a government assistance program, it may be better to have them help provide assistance to relocate to the more rural areas. This may turn out to be more feasible than having them stay in areas that are extremely expensive.

      Of course, if the government doesn’t help encourage people to relocate, we can help in our own way to encourage many of the homeless in the coastal areas to go to the areas of America in the vast middle part of the country. And yes…just was with A.P., many of them may be pleasantly surprised to find opportunity there.

      Take Care PJ!

    3. So many of these comments point out that there is indeed hope for improving the homeless crisis. Interestingly, as some of these comments allude to, some of the ideas that work actually do not involve spending a lot of money.

      As some of these comments talk of, encouraging some of the homeless to forsake some of the large + expensive metro areas on the coastal areas of the country would help greatly.

    1. Thx for stopping by “America On Coffee!”

      I’ve been checking out your blog + am impressed by many of the thought-provoking pieces that have been posted. I’ll be visiting your blog often. Keep up the good work!

      1. You are so kind. Thank you for your most inspiring blog as well. There are lots of us networking against corruption. Many are just low-key. Coffee is a worded expression of ponder and timeout to do what is needed. How nice it is to make this connect with you, Perry Casilio Have a great week.

  9. The explanation of the name of your blog is intriguing! The title does indeed give one a chance to ponder. Likewise….I’m so glad to see that there are so many of us out there that are networking to find ways to lessen corruption.

    Have a great week also!

  10. I’ve just read through this conversation so my apologies for coming late to the party. I must say that the suggestions I’ve posed in response to a Quora question do not strike me as being DIStopian.

    The original Quora question ( was: Should homeless people be rounded up and forced into work camps? Thus providing business with a supply of cheaper labor.

    I responded with suggestions for alternative work programs that did not involve forced labor, mass incarceration or mass murder, which is the inevitable conclusion of concentration camps, historically speaking.

    Some people have suggested that these and other ideas are Utopian, but I disagree with that as well. IMO, they are simply pragmatic potential solutions to my interpretation of the proposed problem. take it for what you will.

    Sadly, the concentration camp idea keeps cropping back up, all over social media and sometimes within politics. That is truly a distopian future and I hope we can avoid it.

    Having said that, to my mind the most interesting part of this conversation (here on this blog) is the fact that poverty survivors – currently and former homeless, currently and former extremely poor or just-plain-regular-poor – are speaking out more about: 1) the actual sources of their problems, 2) the reality of surviving poverty, 3) the actual options for both surviving and escaping poverty, and 4) the solutions or resources they themselves have identified as being necessary.

    If you are serious about addressing poverty, then LISTEN TO THE PEOPLE WHO HAVE SURVIVED LIFE UNDER THOSE CONDITIONS.

    Just to be clear, that was addressed to the royal ‘you’ or anybody out there…I’ll stop shouting now.

    Whatever the political stance or economic philosophy, if you are going to find a solution to a nationwide long-standing crises, then you have to talk to the people in-the-trenches, on-the-ground, directly-involved and directly-affected. That’s where the real useful data and ideas will come from.

    Just my opinion. Take it for what you will.

    1. I guess I’m a retread on this particular party, but I did defend you Adora that your response to the Quora question was definitely NOT dystopian. Obviously not utopian either, but a practical / pragmatic response to a situation which desperately needs a practical, humane solution. And your recommendations were both: practical and humane.

      Also Perry does talk to those of us who have been homeless. Otherwise he wouldn’t be talking to me now, would he? But I do think it’s important you air this view. I’ve been writing for a news site in Spokane, WA lately, and my editor(knowing my background) really wants to comment on the homeless situation there.

      As usual, it was remarkable, and slightly disturbing, that all these people sitting in their offices with all their ideologies and visions who have NEVER been homeless were talking with each other, and hashing things out, and almost NEVER talking to the people who are actually experiencing homelessness, and who know first hand what that manner of life can be like.

      I told you this at the start on Quora We need more people like you Adora Myers because you not only have personal experience with the life in question, but you’re a pragmatic visionary with a heart for truth. Whatever office you run for, when you decide to run, you have my vote.

      1. P.S. Perry I must have missed your question from earlier. I attended the Conservatory of Music at the University of the Pacific in Stockton, CA. I didn’t thrive well in the student environment of the ultra- high tuition school, noted for accepting rich kids with poor grades. I was a poor kid with good grades from the hometown turf, my dad having retired in Stockton after his last tour in the Navy. I got in a 90% tuition discount because both my parents had jobs at the University. I immediately got along great with the professors and lousy with the students, and although I entered as a junior, did not see it through till graduation. Had a great theory-comp professor though, Stan Beckler, God rest his soul. I hung out with him till shortly before his death in 2010. My composition skills were greatly influenced by his style and philosophy. Thanks for asking.

    2. Thx for joining the discussion Adora! Your comments are very insightful.

      I most definitely agree with many of the points you make. Your ideas are very pragmatic + compassionate.

      First off, your idea that we all should listen more to the actual people that have been homeless is excellent. As with anything else, armchair theorists only have a limited view of the situation. This is where the excellent insight of A.P. is helpful. By actively pursuing improving the homeless situation from the viewpoint of someone who’s been there, A.P. gives a hands-on perspective that’s sorely missing. In addition, the amount of extensive + ongoing networking that A.P. has done allows for insights to be shared on all levels. Like you eloquently say, this is the only way to reach beyond the negative cliches about homelessness that are echoed in social media + in the political sphere.

      Like you, I’m not in favor of ideas that advocate anything that remotely resembles putting the homeless into forced labor camps. As for the alternative work programs that you talk of, I’m totally in favor of increasing valid employment opportunities for the homeless that help them regain their independence + lead to them to being able to find housing of their own.

      In line with this, + echoing some of your thoughts, public-private partnerships that help the homeless find meaningful employment + housing, are beneficial. As you know, some corporations actually try to provide employment that pays a market wage, to some homeless. In addition, valid + respectful government work-resembling the Y.C.C. Programs from years ago, would further aid the employment situation.

      Thx again Adora for adding to discussion! I look forward to checking out more of your writings + hearing from you again. 🙂

  11. I really appreciate all of the nice comments. I guess I was just echoing the sentiment that I didn’t see it as distopian. Mostly agreeing with you. 🙂 Also, it seems like we can’t remind people – all people – enough that poverty survivors are both key stakeholders and experts in the topic. Love the discussion and the support for the community. Cheers!

  12. Hi A.P. + so glad to hear from you again!

    As you show with your continuous outreach, finding solutions to improve the homeless problem is most definitely aided by people like yourself. As Adora exemplifies + you show, its only by listening to people who’ve actually lived the life of a homeless person, that we’re able to understand the nuances of the situation. Your current writing situation for a news site in Spokane is an excellent example of this.

    Also, thx so much for the info about your Conservatory experience. Being a fellow musician + student of music, I find your story fascinating!

    Take Care A.P. + I look forward to more dialogues with you! 🙂

  13. One consideration we’ve pondered was how some politicians, and the media, use “groups” of people to advance their cause. Blunt as usual, for I know no better way, it’s like this: If a person needs to feel like a helper and carer, even if better ways exist, some actually cause problems to fix. Others use those “groups” to pretend caring, but for the purposes of dividing and targeting another group. For instance, I see a good doctor as one who encouraged patients to take more responsibility and do a much for themselves, thus no longer needing the doctor. Another doctor provides all the help, medicines, and such, and the patient forever needs them, all in the name of caring. We know the political methodologies have hurt the homeless, and we believe they are kept their to be used as fodder for targeting common sensed and thoughtful people who see and don’t agree with those politicians and media.

    1. Excellent point Dolphinwrite!

      As you say, either due to a subconscious need to feel they’re doing something of importance – or whether they’re consciously setting up a group for political exploitation, there are politicians who follow the methodology you talk of. And yes, in some cases, one can say these politicians appear to create the very problems they then claim to be solving.

      As something with an education history, you’re well acquainted with the fact that theories of individual sovereignty + responsibility, as championed by John Locke, have been taking a back seat to collective theories lately. Although there’s some need for a certain amount of collective thinking in modern life, it goes without saying that there are still many things in life that the individual can take care of on their own without intervention.

      Thx for stopping by! 🙂

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