General Question

starbux's avatar

What's the biggest threat that a homeless person faces?

Asked by starbux (39points) October 8th, 2009

Being homeless is no picnic between the threat of physical violence from malicious strangers, harrassment from business owners and the police, stress from being treated like a pariah and exhaustion from being constantly on the defensive (as if your very existence poses a challenge to those around you). Among these, or perhaps other threats that I have omitted, what would be the most perilous to your ability to survive?

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38 Answers

PretentiousArtist's avatar

The cold weather. I’ve always heard stories of homeless people being froze to death

jca's avatar

i would think not having a safe place to retreat to and/or keep their stuff safe would leave the homeless person open to being beaten up or robbed.

Mamradpivo's avatar

Typically, I imagine the highest threat is the weather. When I lived in Denver, the shelters were always overflowing when it froze.

In my stupid town though, it’s the citizenry. We’ve had three murders of homeless men this year, and another man (also homeless) was set on fire this weekend on the street. WTF people?

FutureMemory's avatar

Are you homeless?

tinyfaery's avatar

For a woman I would think the threat of sexual violence would be on the top of the list. And then the possibility of pregnancy. That would be my biggest fear.

Axemusica's avatar

Illness. I’ve been without a home before and the worst thing is being sick, which is kind of hard to avoid if you really don’t have shelter. Thems were some hard times.

MissAusten's avatar

Dying of exposure, violence. The weather can be handled by moving around. There are a couple of homeless guys who hang around the area where my husband is working in Brooklyn. They’ve told him they go south for the winter. They’ve told him other, more unpleasant things, like ways they’ve “earned” shelter.

DarkScribe's avatar

Other homeless people would be the most constant threat. The shared circumstances of being homeless will not automatically form a brotherhood.

PretentiousArtist's avatar

@DarkScribe Reminds me of Street Trash

RedPowerLady's avatar

I am another vote for the Weather/Nature. I feel so blessed to have shelter in my life. It is something I am constantly grateful for. Good Question.

filmfann's avatar

My grandfather was homeless, so my mom made me hyper-aware of their plight.
Exposure is the biggest problem.
Abuse by other homeless or local teens is very high.
Not having a good bathroom would scare me.

virtualist's avatar

@starbux The biggest threat is the ... ’ loss of self’.

Jeruba's avatar

@starbux, is this hypothetical? research? curiosity? or an actual need to know?

Bugabear's avatar

Well I know in Canada it’s the cold. It was 14 with a wind chill of -4 in Vancouver and the Police there are allowed to fine and arrest homeless people for stuff like “loitering”. I think it’s because of the Olympics.

judochop's avatar

The weather hands down…..If you want to know how the weather is going to be next week while out on a walk. Ask a homeless person.

buster's avatar

Getting robbed by other homeless people’/predators.

weebler76's avatar

The guys that make the Bumfights videos!

hungryhungryhortence's avatar

Illnesses contracted from being malnutritioned, exposed to the elements and contact with a lot of people if they panhandle, eat leftover food/garbage raids or go into shelters of flop flats.

filmfann's avatar

@starbux and @weebler76 welcome to fluther. Lurve.

mattbrowne's avatar

I recommend extra care. @starbux might not be honest with us. Maybe he’s a troll. I’m not sure yet. It’s something the mods should look into.

DarkScribe's avatar

@mattbrowne It’s something the mods should look into.

What on earth for? How could they – they can’t personally knock on doors and check bona fides. What happened to Christian charity – did the apostles fake that too?

mattbrowne's avatar

@DarkScribe – No, just observe questions from @starbux for a while. He might pretend to be a homeless guy, but actually he’s not. This question might show the problem to you:

I’m a bit suspicious, that’s all.

DarkScribe's avatar

@mattbrowne _He might pretend to be a homeless guy, but actually he’s not. _

Are you truly not reading the question? He said:

If worst comes to worst I may end up on the street.

Where is that pretending to be a homeless person? Does it matter one way or another – it is a valid – and to some people – interesting question. A person feeling insecurity about their job and living in rented accommodation could easily have such fears.

Once again, I am the atheist and yet I seem to be more charitable in spirit than many professed Christians.

Jeruba's avatar

Some months ago someone posted a link here to an article about the first ten things a person needs in order to escape homelessness and climb back into the world of food, clothing, shelter, and gainful employment. I can’t seem to find it now. It said that the very first and most essential item is something to keep and carry belongings in—a backpack, tote, satchel, or whatever. Other items on the list included a timepiece and basic grooming gear. Does anyone else remember this?

If these are indispensables, then it would seem that the loss or absence of them might come fairly high on the list of threats, after exposure and contagion.

mattbrowne's avatar

@DarkScribe – Drawing conclusions when I’m interpreting certain posting behavior of Fluther users to being charitable or not is not only unfair and insulting, it’s absurd. I urge you to refrain from posting these types of comments. They are unacceptable. People who know me are aware of my full support of homeless people and all the politics related to it. I simply wrote “My expectation at this point would be that @starbux reappears, reacts to our comments and sheds some light on the matter. Where is he or she?”

Instead of engaging in a dialog, he or she just keep asking question after question about homelessness. I stated that maybe everything is real, maybe not. I was just asking for clarification. If everything is real, I think it’s a great idea to explore how homeless people can best deal with their situation.

DarkScribe's avatar

@mattbrowne Drawing conclusions when I’m interpreting certain posting behavior of Fluther users to being charitable or not is not only unfair and insulting, it’s absurd.

I read what you posted – you regarded the guy with suspicion, stated that you did not feel that he was genuine and felt that “the mods” should look into it. What conclusion should I draw from that? That you are a warm, caring, charitable, and humanitarian Christian?

Sorry, my reaction was to your words and attitude. I did not consider them to be at all charitable. I can imagine many people nowadays who might be in exactly the circumstances that could lead to such a post. If the person was genuine, how would your attitude make him feel? Was it helpful, encouraging? Was it Christian?

Even if you were right, you have no way of knowing, and the decent thing to do is proceed as though the post was genuine, not accuse him of being underhand.

mattbrowne's avatar

@DarkScribe – Many things happen in online forums. The mods did in fact look into it, but didn’t really share what they found out. At the moment I can’t find the user’s profile. Can you?

DarkScribe's avatar

@mattbrowne At the moment I can’t find the user’s profile. Can you?

Maybe he left because you outed him, or maybe in disillusionment. Who knows?

mattbrowne's avatar

Come on. He showed excellent communication skills. People offered good answers. Some people had questions for him. With his communication skills it would not have been difficult to enter a dialog. He ignored all questions. Instead he created several new questions. I wasn’t the only one who got suspicious. I’m a very caring, trusting person, but if someone misuses the trust I’m asking for clarification. I don’t think that’s too much to ask.

DarkScribe's avatar

@mattbrowne I’m a very caring, trusting person, but if someone misuses the trust I’m asking for clarification.

We are all a product of our times; I prefer not to mistrust someone unless I am sure of both their actions and intent. It usually doesn’t cost me anything and it is often a reward in itself. I get let down occasionally, but not often.

Jeruba's avatar

I don’t see that charity is the personal property of any set of believers or nonbelievers, nor do I see that asking questions is automatically an uncharitable act. Why should questions go only one way?

High on my list of people to regard with wariness are those whose attitude boils down to ”You should be like me.

SpatzieLover's avatar

I was with @mattbrowne and many others on @starbux‘s line of questions. For me it had little to do with the mention of homelessness, and more to do with what appeared to me to be a case of hit & run postings.

The user was here for what amounted to 3 or 4 days total, asked 6 questions all on the same subject, then ran. He/she/it never “discussed” or asked for clarification. It smelled of trolling or a need for homework help.

No matter…it’s done. Said user left. (Note: user left after a mod asked the user for clarification regarding one of the questions——that’s odd behavior, IMHO)

DarkScribe's avatar

@Jeruba …nor do I see that asking questions is automatically an uncharitable act

Nor do I, but making accusations and suggesting that others be wary of someone without cause could easily be regarded as uncharitable.

Jeruba's avatar

Given that both charity and prudence are virtues in the same school of thought, one should not have to give up a certain natural caution in the name of kindness. I don’t see that anyone has committed a reprehensible act by doubting the intentions of the questioner, who has declined even to thank the many contributors to his or her several threads, never mind responding to any promptings about his or her research. Around here a certain amount of give and take is customary, although I grant you no one owes us an explanation for his or her questions. Do you believe that someone has been harmed by the asking?

Bugabear's avatar

Whats the deal with @starbux? His profile page says he doesnt exist. And he seems to be asking a bunch of homeless related questions.

DarkScribe's avatar

@Jeruba Do you believe that someone has been harmed by the asking?

Possibly the questioner if s/he was already in a state of anxiety or fragile emotional stability.

If you are facing the horror of a loss of income and subsequent eviction in a city with no friends or relatives to turn to, and asked for suggestions that might help if that happened, how would you feel if regarded with suspicion and a suggestion that the mods “look into it”? Would it give you the proverbial “warm and fuzzy feeling”?

The person might have been a troll or similar, but they also might have been very genuine. What does it cost to take a stance that causes the least potential angst? To at least offer sympathy or a sympathetic suggestion or two?

mattbrowne's avatar

@SpatzieLover – I totally agree.

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