Putting the Stereotypical Notion of a Tightwad on its Tush

Yakezie Swap: What would you do if you were homeless?

A homeless person's shelter under a fallen Wil...Image via Wikipedia

This is a blog swap chain letter organized through the Yakezie network. There are 4 stops. Check out my post “A Homeless Plan to Guard Against Hopeless” at the next stop!

The following is a blog-swap guest post by CT, who formerly co-created Broke Professionals and now blogs about his freelance business and blogging at FreelancePF.com; CT’s personal finance blog is debtpayer.com.
For this Yakezie BlogSwap, we had to state what we would do if we were homeless to try and get out of that situation.  I decided to write it as first-person narrative fiction.  I hope that makes it a little more interesting, although I feel nervous writing about a subject I do not know about.  What I realized while writing this is just how difficult of a predicament this would be to get out of.  And yet it is something that faces a higher percentage of our population than we would ever care to believe.  Please comment on what you would do in that situation.      

I wake up to the smell of piss.  My metropolitan jail stretches out above me in towering skyscapers–where those who still have jobs will soon be starting their day of work.  I view it all through windburnt eyes.
I start up 34th and hope for a miracle.  People either cross the road to avoid me or walk fast while looking away.  I am a spector–one of many.  The numbers are increasing every day. 
How did I get here?  The question is too complex and time is the only commodity I have.  It can’t be wasted. You’ll just assume I’m an addict or a mental case anyway.  The more important question is how do I get out?
Who’s going to hire me?  Who would give me an interview?  What options do I have?
It’s almost summer now and that’s good.  I should stop walking to save calories–but what else is there to do?  I can’t stay in one place too long before I start getting bothered.  My gut no longer rumbles.  It knows the drill.  
As I walk I see so many people. 
What is it about this city?  It’s as though everyone became convinced there is nowhere else to live.  What promise does it hold for them?  The promise from past glory pays out less than the lottery.  I know it because in that way I am like this town.  Maybe I should save up what I can and move west.
Underneath a highrise where I use to live–and near where I used to work–I sit down and start contemplating my options.  Here’s the way I see it:
I can go to a shelter.
I can go to the government offices and review my options.
I can sit out with a cup and hope for some quarters to drop.
I can beg for jobs–perhaps offer to work for some charity to start.  Save up for some clothes and shower in a public sink.  Do my best to score an interview and start making an “honest” living.  I just need a few things to go right.  If I want back onto the grid I will have to take action.
The libraries offer free computers and internet.  That might be a consideration.  It’s better then what I have going right now.  I look  as homeless as I am and I do not have a hidden singing voice.  Expectations must be kept to a minimum. 
I trudge back to wear I woke up and am glad to make it through another day.  I huddle in my corner and think about previous lives. Then I reflect on this one: a lonely life amongst the masses.  But not without hope.

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2 Responses to Yakezie Swap: What would you do if you were homeless?

  1. I love the writing in this piece! You could be a book author with that voice! I was hanging on every word! haha Free computers/internet at the library is a good resource though. In my write up, I just sort of assumed I would have access to the internet, but that definitely isn't always the case!

  2. The odds really are stacked against the homeless. Lots of cities have ordinances against homeless but they're usually not enforced unless the property owners you're near make a complaint. Not having an address and a regular restroom for clean up is probably the biggest hurdle against finding a job. I think if you could scrape up enough money, rent a mailbox and use it as an address. But don't put "PO Box" in the front. It'll give you away. Some charities offer washing facilities to the homeless but libraries and parks have bathroom available too. For dollars here and there, I'll probably dig for cans, bottles and metal scraps to sell. I'll be hanging around apartments near universities too around summer breaks as students clean out their apartments for various things to sell online. I would love to dumpster dive for food but groceries around here put everything in compactors now.

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