The Homeless Mindset

To survive homelessness, a person must develop a different mindset than the one he/she used while non-homeless.  Concerns, considerations, motivations, priorities, and more must all change, otherwise they might not be able to handle the vastly different environment that is homelessness.  If not able, or not prepared, a person becoming homeless might easily slip into a crisis mode.  Suicide among homeless people is much greater than in the non-homeless world.

So, when someone proclaims that homeless people are attracted to fair weather cities, or to cities with more services for the homeless, they are not taking into account what and how homeless people think about such things.  They are, instead, projecting their own thoughts and ideas onto the homeless.

The idea behind thoughts like “what’s in it for me” or “what can I get out of this situation” or “where can I get the maximum benefits” etc., comes from a more egotistical and self centered mindset.  It is the mind of the materialistic capitalist, that generates such thoughts.  And if person where really this egotistical, self centered and materialistic, they would never allow themselves to become homeless in the first place.  When becoming homeless, these are the first things that the person has to sacrifice.

If you were an addict, you’d dedicate your whole being, every effort, every penny earned, every thought, toward getting your fix.  Even if you thought that it would be nice to live in San Diego, your addiction would never allow it.   As you earned money for a bus ticket to San Diego, at a normal cost of over 100 dollars, that idea of not spending that money on your addiction would drive you to distraction.  If you Panhandled 20 dollars, you would not be able to hold on to it long enough to buy a bus ticket.  All because 20 dollars is more than sufficient for becoming inebriated, and you would not be able to resist spending that money at the liquor store.   See what I’m saying?

And if you happened to be homeless due to mental health issues, well then you might as well forget it.  Even if you were able to collect 20 dollars a day in panhandling… “Squirrel”  !!  You wouldn’t be able to stay focused on the task long enough to realize the goal.

Several years ago I helped to conduct an extensive survey of homeless people for the city of Nashville.  Some of the findings were:

Only 35% of homeless people ever traveled to another city.
Of those who did travel, the main reasons given were – to find work, or to be closer to family.
No one answered that question saying that they left one city for another for the sake of better homeless services, or because they were looking for a milder climate in which to live.


About Kevin Barbieux

I have been diagnosed as being chronically homeless. I write about my experiences and opinions of being homeless
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