Saturday, September 23, 2006

Blog on Homeless Situation in San Diego

Please see my blog, "Will Blog for Food," for my post, "Homeless May Get to Sleep Legally on City Streets."

Thursday, June 01, 2006

Get Some Love in your Life

Now that we've gone over finances and discussed the fact that as a homeless person you should be doing something constructive with your life whether it's working at a job, starting an entrepreneurial business, practicing an art or music, developing your athletic ability, surfing, snowboarding, or developing your mind by reading, we've come to a subject that's very important in life especially if you're homeless: love and companionship. Many homeless people are lonely and have very poor relationships if any. That's part of the reason they're homeless. A lot of the joy of life comes from relationships whether friendships or romantic relationships. In fact one of the purposes of this website is to hook up homeless homies of all ethnicities.

So you can leave comments or email me, attach a picture, tell me about yourself, and I'll feature you in a post. Just because you're homeless doesn't mean that you can't find a meaningful relationship in life. In fact, since you have access to the internet (as discussed earlier), you have access to the dating websites to the same extent as everyone else does. Also bear in mind that you needn't tell anyone including a prospective date that you're homeless. Your goal should be to operate in society just the same as anyone else.

Typically, when you meet someone online, you email back and forth for awhile to get to know one another. As a homeless person, you can easily do this using the library and a web based email address such as hotmail or gmail. No problem here. You're the same as anyone else. Eventually, you'll reach the stage of talking on the phone. No problem here either since you have a cell phone (as discussed earlier.) Now comes the time when you ask someone or get asked out on a date. Here you can play it by ear whether to take public transportation or not. You can always meet someone at a public place on the first date especially if it's just to get together for coffee and chat. No car required.

Now let's say you decide to go out on a real date. If you're a female, it's still no problem to ask to be picked up in a public place. In fact it's standard operating procedure for security reasons. If you're a male, you'll either need a car or you can use public transportation. If you decide you want to go the car route, you can always rent a car for one day. Check around and you can probably get a deal for about $30. You'll need to show your license and have a credit card (as discussed earlier.) With the budget discussed earlier, you should be able to afford one or two dates a month including car rental as long as you just go to a movie or a cheap place to eat. Mexican and Chinese restaurants are usually very reasonable. You have to do your research and decide how much you want to allocate to this project if you're a male because females will expect you to pay and provide transportation. It's not fair but that's the way it is. If you're a female, you can expect a free ride for the evening. Whoever said there's no such thing as a free lunch? Well, if you're female, maybe there is....

Now if you're a male, you have to decide how many times you want to date a particular woman before you make the decision as to whether this relationship is going anywhere. Otherwise, it could eat up all your budget, and you don't want that. Once you either drop the woman or become involved, your dating strategy should change. You have to level with her in one way or another since you don't want to go on using rental cars. Hopefully, by this point the relationship should be strong enough that she'll understand. If she doesn't, it's back to the drawingboard, but persistence pays off in the long run.

Now say you level with her that you don't have a car and ask her if she'd be willing to use public transportation from now on. If she has a car and a home, there's the possibility that you could do some hanging out at her house or you could go out using her car. Nothing wrong with that! Eventually, she'll get curious as to where you live. Here's where it's good to have a cover like a friend's or relative's house where you can say you live, but you don't really live there. If your friend or relative is accommodating, you could even have her over there on occasion, but your goal would be to have all your intimate moments at her house if she has one. If she doesn't, you're both in the same boat, and you should be able to take it from there.

So if you are successful in this approach, you should be able to finesse the twin issues of homelessness and carlessness. Of course, both these situations are temporary as far as you tell her. One thing you need to be careful of is not to let her cause you to spend more money than you think you can afford. Remember, you're on a very limited budget. Women have a way of running up your bills if you're not careful. They like spontaneity - spontaneously spending your money that is. Be forewarned!

Every human being has needs for love, sex, intimacy and companionship. Homeless people are very much at risk of not getting these human needs met and of languishing unloved and feeling no one cares about them or gives a damn. The fact of the matter is that you have to take the initiative yourself to make something happen in this regard. Be persistent! You have to learn how to handle rejection. If you're rejected, you have a free pass to just go on to the next one. Remember, you have as much right as the other party to reject them as they have to reject you. Eventually, you will find someone who you hit it off with.

As far as longevity of the relationship, your circumstances aren't necessarily conducive to a long term relationship. But who knows? It might happen, and, if not, you've had an enjoyable period of time with another person, supposedly, in one way or another whether it lasts a day, a month or a year. Because of this fact alone, you should feel better about yourself. A lot of homeless people have inferiority complexes and feel that they are unlovable. The more experience you have in relationships, the more confidence you will have in yourself regardless of the longevity of the relationship.

So go out there and meet someone. Whether it's, or or any of the other dating sites, the internet is the great equalizer, and many of the sites are free. You have as much chance at meeting the love of your life as anyone else!

Thursday, May 18, 2006

So What Do You Want To Do With Your Life?

Well now that you have ID, a bank account, a PO box, a cell phone, a transit pass etc (see previous entries), you have all the basics you need to function in society and a heck of a lot of free time. That is unless you already have a job or a business. Don't laugh. A lot of homeless people work either in their own entrepreneurial business or at a regular job. But let's assume you don't. You just don't want to fritter your life away. The next step is to do something constructive with your time and energy. That could be anything from looking for a job to reading a book to writing a book to selling stuff on ebay to starting a business to taking classes to sailing to becoming a championship athlete to auditioning for acting jobs to practising a musical instrument to rehearsing with a band. You name it. The possibilities are endless. And you have something a lot of people don't have: free time! You can decide your own future!

A lot of homeless people are scavengers in that they search the trash cans for aluminum cans that they can then sell to a recycling center. Hey! They are performing a public service. If they didn't dig them out of the trash cans, they would wind up in the landfill where they don't belong! Recycling is a fine way to make some extra money and perform a constructive service to society as well. Other businesses which are good are windowcleaning, painting, gardening, handyman service, housecleaning etc. These businesses require very little capital investment if any. Basically, all you need is a cell phone with message taking capabilities (which they all now have) in order to get in touch with customers and make appointments. Since you're using public transportation, you can't take a lot of gear with you, but windowcleaners, for example can take a couple buckets, a brush or wand, squeegees and a telescoping pole on the bus or trolley, and this is all you really need.

If you are an aspiring writer, musican, actor or artist, you will have a lot of time to practice your craft, and then, hopefully, make some money selling, exhibiting or performing. Remember that it's important not to appear homeless. Nobody has to know you're homeless. Your goal is to blend in with everybody else so that the issue of where you spend the night is irrelevant. Too many homeless people advertise their homelessness on their sleeve. They need a caseworker more than they need a home. The issue isn't where they sleep at night, but where their head is at. They need an attitude change.

If nothing else, you can improve your mind by checking books out of the public library and reading. You can check out CDs and listen to them on your walkman. Enjoy the parks and museums. The museums in Balboa Park are free on Tuesdays. Some are free the first Tuesday of the month; others are free the second Tuesday etc. Make Tuesday Museum day! Enjoy the beaches. They're free. Some of the best beaches in the world! If you surf, enjoy surfing. Be a beach bum, a ski bum, a snowboarding bum, but do something constructive with your life!

Monday, May 08, 2006

ID and Credit

You won't get very far in life if you don't have ID. In California, as I would assume in most states, you need a driver's license as your primary form of ID. Let's assume you don't have a car and you don't have a driver's license. You have to get one - a driver's license that is, but not a car. Cars are too damn expensive what with $3.00 a gallon for gas, maintenance which can run thousands of dollars a year, registration which is at least a couple hundred bucks and insurance which is a minimum of $100. a month. A car is a luxury you can't afford. Besides with a bus pass you can get anywhere you want to go. But still you need a driver's license just for the sake of ID. If you're a senior, you can get a senior ID throught the Department of Motor Vehicles. That is as good as a driver's license and can save you a lot of hassles. No driving test required.

If you're not a senior, here are a few options. Borrow a car to take your driver's test. You won't be able to rent a car to take the test because they require a driver's license before they'll rent you a car. Catch-22. Ask at one of the Social Service or Homeless agencies how you can make arrangements to use a car just for the purpose of taking the driving test. There's gotta be a way.

Once you have a driver's license as a primary form of ID, you're set. By the way you can use a PO Box as your address. You don't need a physical address as far as the Dept. of Motor Vehicles is concerned in California at least. You will need your ID to get a library card. Probably need it to rent a storage locker. Probably need it to get a cell phone. In other words you can hardly do anything without proper ID. If you can get ahold of your birth certificate, that would help. Military discharge papers or anything of that nature would help too as secondary ID. Certainly it would help for situations that require two forms of ID. In Maryland they have a special program for homeless people to get photo IDs through the Dept. of Motor Vehicles.

It's not a bad idea to make arrangements with a friend to use their address as a physical address for those situations that call for having one. This should cause no problems for the friend since no one is going to come there looking for you. The worst that could happen is that you would be sent a piece of mail there, but, since you're using your PO Box as your mailing address, your mail should always come there. Every agency that has a need to have your address will let you have a separate physical and mailing address. Most will not even require a physical address including the California Department of Motor Vehicles. Some states do require a physical address so you should be prepared to have one just in case. And make arrangements to be alerted in case a piece of mail shows up there. It's unlikely that anyone would call to check and see if you really do live there, but your friend should be willing to say you do. What's living there really mean anyway? Say you show up once a year and sleep on the floor. That's living there as far as I'm concerned. Are they going to station a detective there to make sure you sleep there every night? I doubt it.

Now that you've gotten your driver's license as your primary ID, work on getting a credit card as secondary ID. You may have terrible credit, but you can still get a credit card. Just keep calling around. You don't need a physical address to get a credit card. A PO Box will do. Just somewhere to send the statements. Use the computer at the library and the internet to get info and phone numbers of various credit card companies. You may have to deposit some money in a bank account in order to get one, but the important thing is to have that credit card as secondary ID. Open a checking and savings account. Use your credit card to make some small purchase every month, and that will help to improve your credit. You will probably have a low credit limit at first. Just make sure you pay off your balance every month on time, and you will qualify shortly to have your credit limit raised. Call them in 6 months and ask them to raise it. One of Bull's problems (from the last post) was that his credit was so bad that he had to pay premium rates to stay at a welfare hotel. He wouldn't have to do this if he had good credit. Establishing good credit will pay off in many ways not the least of which is that, if you want to get into an apartment or a rooming house someday, you will have a much easier time of it.

Now that you have ID, a PO Box, a checking and savings account and a credit card, you should be able to function in society like anybody else. You will not have to be on a strictly pay-as-you-go cash basis. This will open many doors for you and allow you to function like anybody else irregardless of the fact you're homeless. That should be your goal. You want to blend in with everybody else not stick out. You don't want to be identifiably homeless.

Monday, April 24, 2006

A Budget for Bull

I read an article today in the May edition of San Diego Magazine regarding homelessness. It seems that a reporter posed as a homeless person for two weeks to gain an understanding of how the homeless live. He hung out a lot with a guy named Bull. Bull bitched and moaned about how unfair the world was and how badly he was treated.

My problem with Bull is that he's an admitted meth addict, and he had a disability income of $800. a month. The unsaid facts of this case are that Bull spent all his money on meth and so had nothing that he might have spent on improving his lot. $800. a month is nothing to sneeze at. His problem was not that he was homeless, but that he was a meth addict.

If I found myself in Bud's situation, I would still choose to be homeless. Why spend $400-$600 a month for a room when your income is $800? However, I wouldn't spend any money on meth or on cigarettes which he also did. Here's a sample budget and strategy for a person with an $800. a month income.

1) Get a storage locker. San Diego Public Storage has a 5' x 5' storage locker for $83. a month. That will do. You probably can find cheaper. You could team up with a buddy and pay half this much.

2) Get yourself a transit pass for $60. a month. This allows you to get anywhere in San Diego County by trolley or bus. If you're a senior, it's only $15. a month.

3) Join the YMCA so you can shower and excercise every day. $36.50 a month. $27.50 for seniors.

4) Get a cell phone. You can get a T-Mobile plan for $29.99 a month.

5) Get a library card. Free. You then have access to the internet where you can get all sorts of useful information. Get a web based email address on Hotmail or Gmail for free.

6) Get a free meal every day, 365 days a year at Father Joe's Villages of St Vincent de Paul.

7) Scout out a safe place to sleep away from downtown or the obvious places homeless persons sleep. You now have transportation. You can get anywhere. You won't be hassled by the cops if you're discreet.

8) Get a Post Office box. About $5.00 a month

So far we've only used up $214.50, about a quarter of our income, and we already have transportation, sanitation, communications (mail, phone and internet including email), access to books and excercise facilities and storage. This is a great start and we still have almost $600. discretionary income to spend. We've taken advantage of free food and lodging, free email and internet access. We're clean, healthy (if we excercise), in touch by phone, mail and email, don't have to tote our stuff around in a shopping cart, can get anywhere by public transit. This is all the basic stuff anyone needs.

Now we can afford to spend $5.00 every day for coffee and a muffin at Starbucks ($150. a month), $5.00 a day for Mexican food at Alfredo's or Chinese food at Rice King or a $2.99 complete breakfast at IKEA. So for another $300. a month we are well fed along with our free meal from Father Joe's. We can afford to spend $20. a month for laundry. Now we still have over $150. left to buy stuff. What else do you need?

Tuesday, March 28, 2006

General Thoughts on Homelessness

Homelessness comes in many different forms. There are people who are mentally ill, who can't cope, who need to be taken care of. This blog is probably not for them. They probably wouldn't seek out the free access to the internet they could find at the public library in order to find it. Then there are people who are alcohol or drug dependent. The same could probably be said for them. Many homeless people are very low functioning and can't take much if any responsibility for themselves. This blog is not for them either.

Who is it for then? Well, this blog is for people who obviously have some access to a computer and to the internet. Public libraries usually provide that for the public in general. One need not even own a computer to avail themselves of the riches available on the world wide web.

This blog is for people who want to take some responsibility for their own lives. Homelessness need not be the determining factor in their lives. In fact homelessness can be an opportunity: an opportunity not to pay rent, utility bills, mortgage payments, property taxes and the various payments and outlays that renters and homeowners must pay on a regular basis. Homelessness may be an opportunity to save money for travel, the pursuit of an interest like art, music or acting, starting a business and a myriad of other purposes. One need not be homeless out of desperation, but as a matter of choice in order to pursue other interests than being a wage slave to monthly payments.

A homeless person may have a full time job, or a part time job, be self-employed, have a limited income from SSI, social security or disability which he or she doesn't want to waste on paying rent which is the single largest monthly payment for most people. So there are many reasons why a person might be homeless, and a homeless person may be very high functioning in society in terms of work and relationships. That's the rationale behind - to provide a website where homeless people can share their knowledge and find a meeting place and eventually form relationships because that is a primary need of everyone, homeless people included.

That's why we say that is a dating website for homeless homies because homeless persons need love too!

Wednesday, March 22, 2006

This is a website constructed for the purpose of providing a dating service for homeless homies. All races, nationalities, religious persuasions, creeds, codes, political views, ethnicities etc. are welcome. We will provide advice, answer questions, hook up couples and provide a general clearinghouse for the concerns and issues of homeless homies.