(Originally posted 10/08/13.)
A lot of them are just like me: college graduates who have had professional careers, and then given issues in the job market and/or health issues, wind up in this state.
If at all possible, never let yourself become completely jobless.
My last job was at a dollar store where practically all of our white customers came from nearby homeless shelters. My impression at the time was that about half the homeless have jobs; what they don’t have is a job that enables one to have a place of one’s own.
40 hours per week at $7.25 per hour spells a weekly paycheck of $290 before taxes. Good luck finding any housing for $290/month. And that worker will probably qualify for food stamps. As to whether this is or should be what America wants for the minimum wage and food stamps, I have no opinion. It is what is. Even under socialism, there will be people who will not show up at any appointed place or time, and who will not follow anyone’s directions, even if food and shelter are at stake.
On the other hand, I have heard guys, who from their appearance I never would have expected to talk this way, talk about how good it is to be working, to stay busy with positive things, how it makes you feel better about yourself. And the guys on the crews the temp agency sends out normally show a good work ethic, taking initiatives, getting the job done.
About a third of the homeless have severe mental illness, and may or may not be taking their medications.