September 7, 2003 12:07 AM   Subscribe

IHateMyLife.Us. Homeless advocacy and support, from someone who's been there.
posted by PrinceValium (26 comments total)
I became homeless in March of 2002 through a series of bizarre events (that I am not posting here as I am trying to sell the story or the screenplay). But it was a happy ending, I got off the streets April 1, 2003.

I was not (and am not now) a drug addict or an alcoholic.

Okay, so you leave us to wonder.

Were you part of the mob? An illegal scheme of some sort that went wrong? Did someone steal your money? Did you steal someone else's money and they took it out on you?

Or did you just decide to try it out?

If you won't post your story, then why should I have feelings one way or another about this?
posted by shepd at 12:28 AM on September 7, 2003

Interesting site, but damn is that dude bitter.

"When I was homeless the first question people would ask me is not, “Are you hungry?” “Do you need a place to stay?” “Do you need a doctor?”
Amazingly, it was always, “Where do you bathe?” I guess they were concerned that if I died in a gutter my carcass would be nice and clean."

Well, no, maybe they wondered, from times contemplating the situation themselves, how would I do this or that. This dude is constantly jumping to the negative conclusion about everyone.

Homeless? Depends on definition sometimes. I moved into NYC 20 years ago with $200 and a bike, stayed in a $75/week smaller-than-jail-cell 4'x6' shithole-hotel room and worked as a bike messenger until I got better work and a sublet (3 months). I always figured I could do that again if I had to, though it'd be impossible in Manhattan today.
posted by HTuttle at 12:34 AM on September 7, 2003


1. sell computer
posted by quonsar at 12:46 AM on September 7, 2003

1. sell computer

Tried it. Got enough to buy a sandwich.
posted by wendell at 1:13 AM on September 7, 2003

well, maybe if you didn't hang on to the TRS-80 for so fucking long.
posted by angry modem at 5:43 AM on September 7, 2003

It was my impression that he's not homeless now. The computer may very well be something he acquired after he got a fixed address.
posted by orange swan at 7:07 AM on September 7, 2003

Declare bankruptcy.  This will ruin your credit for 7 to 11 years, but once you declare bankruptcy you will be flooded with credit cards. This is because credit card companies know you can’t declare bankruptcy again, so they are eager to get their hooks into you.  Grab onto those hooks and get help yourself off the streets or into a better situation.

I'm guessing his new job is not at Goldman Sachs.
posted by stonerose at 7:16 AM on September 7, 2003

orange swan: Or stole from another homless person!!!
posted by sharksandwich at 7:42 AM on September 7, 2003

The week my unemployment ran out, and I had two bucks in my pocket I got the job at the magazine. They had no idea I was homeless. For the first month I worked at my job and slept in my car. After saving up money, I was able to move into an apartment less than two miles from where I used to sleep in my car.

He's not homeless - he got a job at a magazine and an apartment awhile afterwards. He also said he used public computers at the public library to look for jobs while he was homeless...
posted by catfood at 8:02 AM on September 7, 2003

Do not lose hope! A lot of people have been homeless too: Jim Carrey, David Letterman, Colonel Sanders, William Shatner, ME, and many more…

Wah? I never knew David Letterman was homeless... can anyone verify this?
posted by wfrgms at 8:20 AM on September 7, 2003

I don't talk about this much, in fact I avoid it, but I was on and off homeless around 14 years ago when my mom's boyfriend (her husband), threw me out. I was 16.

I fought my way off the streets, without government benefits, by living in a squat, on a train, and with people I had met on the job. I always looked for and found work - convenience stores and telemarketing mostly - and through doing great jobs at said work - built a group of people that were great references and sources of advice that have eventually led me to where I am today.

I would say his advice page WHAT TO DO IF YOU ARE HOMELESS OR POOR is on the money. I did without the government benefits - but there is no shame in taking them. The most important things to keep in mind are to stay clean, and for all business purposes, have front that makes it appear you have a place to live and are stable. That means having people be good references for you and act as your address and phone number. This is, of course, impossible if you are an asshole blaming the world for your troubles. People have little time for those who point fingers instead of taking responsibility for playing the cards we are dealt - no matter how hard they are having it.

I would add to his advice that you should find someway to purchase monthly public transportation passes, if such things are available in your area. Having transportation is crucial to finding and keeping work.

I have no idea how I could have done this if I had children. None at all.

And unlike this dude - I love my life.
posted by kmartino at 10:21 AM on September 7, 2003

"I hate my life" is the opening line on the album Chappaquiddick Skyline, which was made by essentially the same people as the album Big Tobacco (credited to Joe Pernice). "Prince Valium" is a song from Big Tobacco.
posted by Utilitaritron at 11:09 AM on September 7, 2003

9. GOING TO A DAVE MATTHEWS CONCERT - Who the hell is buying his records anyways?

One thing I can damn sure agree with.
posted by billsaysthis at 11:16 AM on September 7, 2003

Utilitaritron: Are you suggesting this site is a new-fangled marketing ploy?
posted by billsaysthis at 11:17 AM on September 7, 2003

i'm actually surprised at the negative responses to this, to me it sounds like the guy went through hell and made it out alive (probably more then you can say for most people who have a run of seriously bad luck). I mean, come on people, if you didn't have mommy and daddy to send you through school and basically support you until your 24, you know you could end up in this sort of situation. Sometimes i wonder if people have any appreciation for the amount of luck (and hard work) that it takes to stay alive and well in this world. Oh, and Kmartino i congratulate you on making it, i'm sure you appreciate your life more then half the trolls around here.
posted by NGnerd at 11:52 AM on September 7, 2003

i'm actually surprised at the negative responses to this...

And you've been hanging about MeFi for how long..?

(Homelessness, like certain other subjects, often prompts a guilt reaction in some people that they seek to quash by poopooing or belittling the entire subject, or by blaming the victim. All the easier not to deal with it...)
posted by Shane at 1:48 PM on September 7, 2003

awhile, but i've also seen the typical liberal baias of the filter...thus the surprise. of course we're all human so i guess i should have expected it.
posted by NGnerd at 5:12 PM on September 7, 2003

I didn't mean that as a snark, NGnerd. Not on you, anyway...
And has anyone told you your name brings to mind the Swedish Chef, Bork, bork, bork!?

posted by Shane at 5:43 PM on September 7, 2003

Something like that.
posted by Utilitaritron at 6:32 PM on September 7, 2003

Mel Brooks would beg to differ.
posted by PrinceValium at 6:39 PM on September 7, 2003

strangely though its best pronounced N G nerd, derived from engineer and nerd...so basically it's not quite creative enough to compare with the famous chef or the greatness of brooks.

back on subject, i wonder if the guy would prefer never having experienced homelessness or if he feels that he can appreciate his life more since he's been through the ordeal.
posted by NGnerd at 7:07 PM on September 7, 2003

I wonder what this guy's story is. The thing is, although there are lots of people who just scrape by through no fault of their own and live dangerously close to becoming homeless, they usually manage to avoid actually living on the streets for any length of time. Most people have at least a couple of friends or family members who will let them sleep on the couch for a few weeks (I've had various people staying on mine for a total of six months or so). And there are lots of government programs and charitable organizations set up to help people in crisis. Among adults it usually takes a combination of poverty AND a personal problem like mental illness or addiction before anyone winds up on the street - someone who isn't together enough to figure out how to access the programs and/or has wrecked all their social relationships.

But, good for him for climbing out of such a horrible way of life and for providing info like this to other people in distress.
posted by orange swan at 7:25 PM on September 7, 2003

No doubt mental illness and small social webs do contribute to much personal homelessness. My family moved every two or so years I knew no one to talk to for help at the time. I just thought "this is the way it is" strangely enough, and worked my way out of it.

These days, well I don't think I could handle, let alone fall into, a situation like that ever again. I have friends and family that would help and who I would help.

The reasons for homelessness are more varied however:
National Coalition for the Homeless.

I also recommend reading "Nickel and Dimed" by Barbara Ehrenreich for a good idea how close most working poor are to finding themselves on the streets.

And thanks NGnerd, I do have a great appreciation for life. Personally, I would never want to go through what I did ever again, but I recognize I am who I am today partially because of it.
posted by kmartino at 4:19 AM on September 8, 2003

I've read Nickel and Dimed, kamartino, and you're right, it gives a really good picture of just how precarious a minimum wage existence is. It was much on my mind as I wrote my last comment.

And I'm really quite impressed that you've done so well. Ever read "Diary of a Street Kid" by Evelyn Lau? Lau ran away from home at 14 because her mother was controlling and emotionally abusive. Social services kept telling her to move back home. She was too old to be placed in foster care and too young to live independently, so she got no help from them. Later they placed her in a dreadful group home, and finally in her late teens she got assisted living and a place of her own. But meanwhile she'd gotten into drugs and prostitution.
posted by orange swan at 4:39 AM on September 8, 2003

Thanks orange. Happy you've read "Nickel and Dimed" too.

I've never read "Diary of a Street Kid", but it's now on my must-read list. I know people who've gone through similar, in particular one who found assisted living a life saver and now he's as middle class as can be. Thanks for the suggestion!
posted by kmartino at 4:47 PM on September 8, 2003

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