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  • Writer's pictureD Lane

Voilà: something stupid

Here’s something I read online from a local resident when the concept of permanent supportive housing as solution for people that are addicted and experiencing homelessness:

“So in order to get free housing, all I have to do is start shooting up, sell everything I own for drugs, get evicted, live on the streets and, walla, the taxpayers will bail me out and buy me a house.”

This is a sentiment that is often heard in the discussion about homelessness. (Except for the “walla” part, which I think was supposed to be “voilà”) Anyway, there is an idea floating around out there that the life of the homeless addict is not so bad. I think this is a stupid idea. And, no, I’m not going into the question of “bad choices” in this post. That’s coming some other time.) In simple terms, here are some of the typical features of that person’s life:

-Sleeps outside for months or more in squalid conditions. Cold, wet, dirty conditions.

-Has very few places to go the bathroom, and it is often either a dirty porta-potty or the bushes nearby.

-Is much more vulnerable than those that have a door to close and lock to provide safety.

-Has almost no place to wash on a daily basis.

-Often pokes around in garbage cans for food or stands in line for it.

-Spends almost the entire day every day scrounging, hustling, panhandling or stealing to find resources that will secure some drugs.

-Is ill on days when not able to find sufficient drugs to fill the addiction need.

-Is looked at with contempt by almost everyone while moving through each day.

-Is much more likely to die at a young age than a housed person (even than a housed person with an addiction)

-Is cut off from almost all family and friends from the time before homelessness and addiction.

-Has virtually no possessions from the time before homelessness and addiction.

So this is the easy life of the addicted homeless person.

And, when that person chooses to seek housing assistance, they first have to demonstrate that they are in very poor health or very vulnerable to harm. Then they have to try to gain a housing subsidy voucher, which are difficult to come by. Then they have to find an available place to rent and landlord that will both accept a housing subsidy voucher and a person coming from the streets.

Though I have a different sentiment, I can understand that some housed residents might not have sympathy or compassion with the addicted person living on the street.

However, to suggest that this is a simple and easy situation that someone would casually pursue is... voilà : STUPID.

The easy life?

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