Tag Archives | Homelessness

The Hermit: Enlightenment From The Gutter [pre-order available now]

Gabriel D. Roberts

Gabriel D. Roberts

Disinfonauts! The long wait is over for The Hermit and pre-Orders are now available.

This book is my follow up to The Quest For Gnosis and serves as a memoir of the brutal trials that await the willing initiate who seeks to find living magic in the crucible of raw existence.

I give the brutally honest account of a depressed psychedelic vagrant in the struggle to transform while floating through the highways and cities of the American wasteland from LA to New York, to South Carolina, the Badlands, Seattle and the hills of Humboldt county, encountering violence, passion, absolute loss and the blinding light of personal revelation.  I hope you will come with me on this fantastic psychedelic tale!

“The bus ride was somber, the plane ride was somber; the color of the world had been sucked out and all I had was the emptiness of growing distance.Read the rest

Continue Reading

So You Want to Work at a Homeless Shelter?

Valerie Everett (CC BY-SA 2.0)

Valerie Everett (CC BY-SA 2.0)

When I first started at the shelter, they gave me Levi to work with. His previous caseworker was leaving and he needed a new one. I remember her sarcastically saying over and over again things like, “Oh, you’re going to have fun with him.” As a matter of fact, pretty much everyone that I worked with said something like that. It was like they all knew I had herpes, but I didn’t know it yet.

I hated Levi. He was a drunk and his pants always had shit in them. He would yell at me and call me a cunt. He would take out his dick and piss on the floor in the soup kitchen. They gave me Levi mostly because I was weird. They gave me all the freaks.

We were social workers. We cared. We smiled and we would give the homeless people fist bumps when they walked past us in the shelter.… Read the rest

Continue Reading

Everything I know about homelessness I learned from SimCity

David Blackwell. (CC BY-ND 2.0)

David Blackwell. (CC BY-ND 2.0)

Via Aaron Sankin at Kernel Mag:

In October 2012, a gamer posted a provocative comment to a forum run by Electronic Arts about its beloved, long-running SimCity franchise.

“There is one area I’d like to see as future expansion … the homeless,” gamer IanLoganson wrote. “Most cities have homeless … Some of the world’s biggest cities now are in the rapidly developing countries and one big problem [they] seem to have is slums. Let’s say you have a thriving commercial city full of landmarks, high-end jobs and high-end housing. Such city lights draw the dispossessed in search for hope and if there aren’t enough low-end jobs, low-end housing, or a social safety net, they end up on the street.

“A small homeless problem is no big deal, but as it gets bigger it brings down property value and discourages tourists,” IanLoganson continued. “You need to think of helping them with aid, providing more jobs/housing for them, or getting the police to kick them out of the centre.

Read the rest
Continue Reading

Are Homeless People Beautiful?

Osha Neumann writes at CounterPunch:

This very odd question occurred to me after Terry Messman, the editor of Street Spirit, suggested I write something for the paper in conjunction with the publication of my new book, Doodling on the Titanic: The Making of Art in the World on the Brink. Homeless people get the paper for free and sell it for a dollar on the sidewalks of Oakland and Berkeley. 

My day job as a lawyer, much of which involves defending people who are homeless, doesn’t give me much chance to think about beauty. I’m all about how to squeeze my clients through the loopholes of law and convince a judge that even though they sleep without a roof over their head they’re still covered by the Constitution.

Beauty doesn’t enter into it.

But here I am, sitting in court, waiting for the judge to take the bench and this question, Are Homeless People Beautiful, is roiling around in my mind.

Read the rest
Continue Reading

The Streets of San Francisco Are Covered in Human Shit

nynbys82m8ttdj5rfs3jAndy Cush writes at Gawker:

Poop on Mission Street. Poop between cars. Poop in the alley. Poop in the Tenderloin. Poop in the escalator—so much poop that the escalator breaks down under the strain of all that poop. Everywhere you look, San Francisco residents are saying, there is poop, poop, poop.

The latest doodoo dispatch comes via a New York Times op-ed by Allison Arieff. She begins:

This past fall, a project started called (Human) Wasteland, which maps reports of human waste throughout the city of San Francisco. Yes, a disproportionate amount of poop on the streets is not from dogs but from humans.

Some in the blogosphere tended to play this for laughs, but the reality isn’t very funny.

Counterpoint: it’s a little funny. There’s a nice poetic justice to the gilded paradise of new-money tech-dudes teeming with the inescapable waste of people left behind or displaced by the awful march of disruption.

Read the rest
Continue Reading

People as Livestock: The Cult of Fundamentalist Materialism and the Cheapening Life

Moyan Brenn (CC BY-ND 2.0)

Moyan Brenn (CC BY-ND 2.0)

Dan Mage, writing at OpEdNews, from 2011:

I first encountered the term “Fundamentalist-Materialism” in the work of Robert Anton Wilson; it appears in several of his non-fiction works, including “The Cosmic Triggger” series. As far as I know R.A.W. was the originator of this philosophical designation.”

 Is there any inherent value to an individual human life? 

Authoritarians of the left, libertarians of the right, objectivists, conservatives and even liberals and progressives fixated on “jobs” and “rehabilitation” of the socioeconomically dysfunctional give the answer “no; ” sometimes directly (as in the case of the Stalinist and the American conservative) and other times through actions, policies, and preferences (as in the case of elements of the “occupation” movement distancing themselves from “homeless bums,” “drug users,” and “ex-cons”).

Most of all, those with the power to set wages, prices, working conditions and societal expectation for those who have nothing left but their time and “docile bodies”*(Foucault) to sell, control and trade in human lives as commodities.

Read the rest
Continue Reading

Most Americans Are One Paycheck Away From The Street

If you didn’t receive your next scheduled paycheck, could you stay in your home? MarketWatch reports that most Americans would be out on the street:

Americans are feeling better about their job security and the economy, but most are theoretically only one paycheck away from the street.

Google pay

Approximately 62% of Americans have no emergency savings for things such as a $1,000 emergency room visit or a $500 car repair, according to a new survey of 1,000 adults by personal finance website Bankrate.com. Faced with an emergency, they say they would raise the money by reducing spending elsewhere (26%), borrowing from family and/or friends (16%) or using credit cards (12%).

“Emergency savings are not just critical for weathering an emergency, they’re also important for successful homeownership and retirement saving,” says Signe-Mary McKernan, senior fellow and economist at the Urban Institute, a nonprofit organization that focuses on social and economic policy.

The findings are strikingly similar to a U.S.

Read the rest
Continue Reading

Report: 21 US Cities Restrict Sharing Food with Homeless People

Franco Folini (CC BY-SA 2.0)

Franco Folini (CC BY-SA 2.0)

Happy goddamned holidays.  Deepashri Varadharajan writes at Al Jazeera America:

In the United States, 21 cities have restricted sharing food with homeless people through legislation or community pressure since January 2013, and about 10 other cities are in the process of doing so, the National Coalition for the Homeless (NCH) said in a report released Monday.

“One of the most narrow-minded ideas when it comes to homelessness and food-sharing is that sharing food with people in need enables them to remain homeless,” the report said.

The report was released a day before Fort Lauderdale, Florida, was set to vote “on the city’s third ordinance this year that will target the life-sustaining activities of people experiencing homelessness,” the NCH said in a news release.

“If the biggest crimes we had to worry about in this country were sitting, sleeping (in public places) and eating and sharing food, we would be in a freaking good state,” said Paul Boden, director of Western Regional Advocacy Project, the organization that launched the Homeless Bill of Rights campaign, an ongoing movement to introduce legislation in California and Oregon to “overturn local laws targeted to remove people from public space.”

The NCH report outlines different means by which various jurisdictions allegedly restrict food-sharing.

Read the rest
Continue Reading

Violence Against U.S. Homeless on the Rise

David Blackwell. (CC BY 2.0)

David Blackwell. (CC BY 2.0)

Ehab Zahriyeh writes at Al Jazeera America:

Despite a decrease in the U.S. homeless population, new research by an advocacy group for the homeless indicates an alarming increase in violent crimes targeting those living on the streets.

In 2013, homeless Americans experienced a 23 percent increase in violence compared with the year before, according to preliminary figures by the National Coalition for the Homeless (NCH). The U.S. homeless population declined over the same period, with 610,000 people going without shelter on any given day in 2013 — 20,000 fewer than in 2012.

The homeless “are targeted solely because of their circumstances,” coalition director Jerry Jones told Al Jazeera. “People who are in shelters and marginalized are often preyed upon.”

Because the NCH bases its research on reported crimes covered in news media, the actual number of violent attacks targeting the homeless may be much higher, since many go unreported.

Read the rest
Continue Reading

Employed to Survive

Employed to Survive

Photo I took going towards the tent city under the highway

I wrote this article for the SCAD (Savannah College of Art and Design) student newspaper District several years ago, its true message was lost by removing most of the article. I am posting it on Disinfo in full length to provide some perspective on the nature of homelessness.

Try to remember your first drink, how old, the setting and what happened [you will understand why I ask in a moment]. While drawing in Chippewa square, a few feet from where Tom Hanks as Forrest Gump famously sat, a stout, weathered, middle aged man approached me. He explained that one of my vertical lines was off and helped me spontaneously throughout the drawing. I had wanted to find a lead for a story concerning the homeless and Lonnie seemed to have a middle way about him. Through just touring the surface of his and a few other fellow human lives a personal apocalypse occurred.… Read the rest

Continue Reading