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UE Location DB > Coleco Warehouse > What's the policy on the homeless? (Viewed 2431 times)
Poll Question:
Have you ever encountered a homeless person while UEing?
Total Votes:35
1. Yes1028.57 %
2. No2468.57 %
3. I don't know12.86 %

fiddlerjones 


Location: Houston, Texas
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The Maestro

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What's the policy on the homeless?
< on 1/18/2005 5:59 AM >
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If you have read my story "A Visitor from the Desert" you will see that I had encountered a homeless individual. Even though it may not have been a wise idea I helped him out anyway. My policy is that I will help a homeless person get the things they need, but I will not give them money. Anyway, I was just wondering if encountering homeless people happens frequently when Urban Exploring? And if so what is the usual policy on dealing with them?




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MatC 

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Re: What's the policy on the homeless?
< Reply # 1 on 1/18/2005 1:25 PM >
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This is a difficult situation. There is a "rule" in UE (as much as there are actually rules in UE) that one doesn't explore individuals' homes. This is common sense -- would you want someone coming into your house and exploring, even if they didn't do anything except take pictures? However, this rule gets iffy when it comes to the homeless because one doesn't necessarily expect an abandoned warehouse/subway/mine/theater/etc. to have occupants.

I'm not sure that there is a "usual" policy for dealing with homeless people, any more than there is for dealing with security guards -- it's more a series of guidelines, and not all of them are UE-related.

I'm with you, Fiddler -- I have been conditioned never to give money to the homeless. I feel badly for them, certainly, but a big percentage of them have substance abuse problems and I wouldn't want to be supporting the thing that is keeping someone from getting help. And although it seems like it would be common sense, I am conflicted about giving indirect help like giving or buying clothes. It seems like it would be a great idea, but you never know whether they'd be able to trade/sell that brand new jacket to other homeless individuals for drugs/drink. It's a more remote possibility, though, so I would feel more comfortable doing that than giving money.

The best thing to do, I think, would be to give these people the tools to help themselves. For example, instead of giving money, give them a card telling them where all the local shelters/food pantries/clothes banks are. And then give money to the shelter, or volunteer your time there.

Of course, that's more of a cerebral thing (a feeling that, "I've done my part") which doesn't really help when you pass someone on the street and s/he is shivering in the winter cold. But unfortunately homelessness is one of those problems that can't really be solved by applying logic from one's own life. After all, you think, "if I were living on the streets, I would want someone to help me out by giving me a coat, some money, etc." However, more often than not, it is something pretty unfortunate that will drive people out onto the streets -- familial abuse, substance abuse, mental illness, etc. And these are problems which the average person walking by on the street can't really help a whole lot with.

So, in my eyes, it's a matter of making sure you've done what you can in a way that won't exacerbate the problem and then treat individuals on a case-by-case basis, mostly by referring them to specific services where they can get help themselves. The unfortunate thing is that you can't ever MAKE someone want to get help. You can only point them in the right direction, and then they need to help themselves.

How's that for some dime-store psychology/sociology?

-- Mat



[last edit 1/19/2005 12:41 AM by MatC - edited 1 times]

"We shall not cease from exploration / And the end of all our exploring / Will be to arrive where we started / And know the place for the first time."

- T.S. Eliot, excerpt from "Little Gidding"
fiddlerjones 


Location: Houston, Texas
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Re: What's the policy on the homeless?
< Reply # 2 on 1/20/2005 9:00 AM >
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I think you are right on the money what a lot of what you said, but sometimes seeing someone suffer can erase all logic and you have no choice but to do whatever you can.




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MatC 

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Re: What's the policy on the homeless?
< Reply # 3 on 1/21/2005 12:07 AM >
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It's true that there's a difference between long-term solutions (such as donating time and money to shelters) and the short-term experience of giving money or clothing to someone. And, necessarily, they serve different purposes. If someone is lying in an alley and is shivering uncontrollably and there's snow coming down, then of course you'd be forced by the circumstances into a short-term solution (giving them a coat and warm food).

But I'm firm on my view that, long-term, everybody has to help themselves. Few people choose to become homeless, but they all choose what they do *after* they become homeless. Do they remain downtrodden and let whatever put them on the street (alcohol/drug abuse, fear of a parent/relative, etc.) keep them there? Or do they choose to live and better themselves by taking advantage of things like shelters and clothes banks and community programs and the like? Nobody can force people into these choices -- they have to want to go. (Of course they could be thwarted from making these choices by things like the situation that John mentioned in the story in this location, but I assume that's rare.)

The major exception I make in this is homelessness due to mental illness. Often mentally ill people have nowhere to go, as long as they are not so sick that they have to be committed or imprisoned. There are some halfway-houses, but certainly not enough to take in all of the mentally ill people whose families can't/won't take them in, or who don't have families in the first place. This is not a choice that they make, nor is it something they can necessarily do a lot about. They still have choices they can make, but I wouldn't put the onus of rising up from homelessness entirely on someone who does not have his/her full physical and mental capabilities.

Anyway, I hope this makes things a little bit clearer (though it might just muddy the waters).

-- Mat




"We shall not cease from exploration / And the end of all our exploring / Will be to arrive where we started / And know the place for the first time."

- T.S. Eliot, excerpt from "Little Gidding"
'Dukes 

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Re: What's the policy on the homeless?
< Reply # 4 on 1/21/2005 12:12 AM >
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I thought I could reply to the story, but I'll reply here instead.
I thought the story was great! It would have been real interesting to run into this guy on the 23rd!
Unrelated; I ran across a topo map with "Tryon State school for boys" and found myself interested. In Perth. But Bizzy informs me that its a juvie hall. The old fashioned name had me thinking I was onto something good.

Anyway, Great story. I can't imagine calling that hellhole "Home".




I got your tour winner right here pussies, at least he'd crash out trying.
MatC 

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Re: What's the policy on the homeless?
< Reply # 5 on 1/21/2005 3:41 AM >
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The thing I was most amazed about was that the guy would travel all the way from sunny California to freezing cold New York as winter is clenching its fists around the region. I mean, the whole story this guy was telling could easily have been bunk, but it seems pretty odd. I might be able to understand heading for NYC with the thought that there would be lots of services available for homeless people, or at least a lot of abandoned spaces in which to live, but why not head for San Francisco or Los Angeles? Those aren't exactly "friendly" towns if you're on the street, but Albany has got to be a pretty rough place when the lights go out...

-- Mat




"We shall not cease from exploration / And the end of all our exploring / Will be to arrive where we started / And know the place for the first time."

- T.S. Eliot, excerpt from "Little Gidding"
UE Location DB > Coleco Warehouse > What's the policy on the homeless? (Viewed 2431 times)


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