The real plight of the homeless told by homeless

Mike Zint of ‘First They Came for the Homeless’ talks to some Berkeley, CA street kids after their chalking action defending their right to sleep.


SAN FRANCISCO BAY AREA — Housing is not a reality. How many years do you have to wait? So, until then, you are a target. No stability at all. Keep your gear close. They are coming for you. No place to hide, no place to go, no choices left. Except drugs or insanity.

The real plight of the homeless!

During police sweeps you have a few minutes to save your belongings if you are lucky. Cities have no intention of preserving or keeping it for you. The intention is to purposely steal it as punishment for being homeless in public. To fight back is impossible. You need money to do that. Or lawyers. And good luck getting a lawyer. They want big bucks.

Things I used to own: baby pictures, multiple warm sleeping bags, cell phones, computer, extra clothing, backpacks, inhalers, and a jewelry making set up that took years to develop. This has happened multiple times.

Why do they do it? Because there is no room for poor people anywhere. Harass them, steal from them, abuse them, torture them, and maybe they will move along.

Mental disabilities and drug use are often the end result.

Class warfare waged by the Chambers of Commerce, commercial districts, business associations are the reality. And it won’t stop until enough people get screwed by the corrupt, greedy system!

Homeless people get almost no choice. Shelter system, sleep on the sidewalk, hide a tent.

Shelters are one step above jail. Abuse by staff, violence, lice, bed bugs, exposure to illness, these exist in shelters. So, is it really a choice?

Sleeping on the sidewalk (exposed) is horrible too. Cardboard for meager insulation, no padding except for a sleeping bag, no privacy except what exists between your nose and the blanket you are hiding under. Yes, hiding is accurate. For mental stability, privacy and security are needed. When a blanket was what l had, that little space had to do. Fear never leaves either. Will I get rousted by cops? Robbed? Beaten? So, the longer you live this way, the worse your mental state becomes.

So, hide a tent is left. This works until you are found. When found, your gear is usually confiscated. You are ticketed. And you spend the next few nights in a shelter, or on a sidewalk exposed.

Think about that. Understand why a tent city is so important. And ask yourselves why we aren’t allowed to take care of ourselves? Changing that could end homelessness.

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5 thoughts on “The real plight of the homeless told by homeless

  1. I’ve sat in the tent of a homeless family. Brought dry socks, food and the shoes off my husband’s feet given to a young man of about 21. We were invited in. It had rained hard for days. The mud was everywhere as was the lack of a way to stay warm and clean. I felt sad and angry as I listened to their story. Dad lost his job. Mom was unable to work due to health problems. Their son was cold and tired of tent living. They lost their house, lived in a motel hoping work would happen. Money ran out and the tent became their home. Days turned into about 3 years. They would move when the police came and told them to leave. They had been burned out, beat on and guarded what they had as though it was gold. Prized possessions. They didn’t drink or use drugs and held a well worn Bible. Yet they said most did. it was a hard dangerous life. Yet they didn’t want to leave. However their son did. So we helped him get his Social Security card. He left the tent city and his folks behind. My husband and I learned some want help, many don’t. Addiction is obvious. Learned items we brought in were sold for drugs and alcohol.
    So, what’s the answer? I believe that housing needs to be built. Not just for the homeless but for those out of jail. People deserve a second chance. i have two dear friends who over 30 years ago came out of prison. Nobody rented to them. This man at church bought an apartment house and rented rooms out for little cost. There were rules to living there. All must find work and be clean. He treated them with respect and dignity. They worked hard and continue to do so. I’m very proud of them. People who want off the streets need to be asked do you want to work? To get off the streets. If yes then help them to stand on their feet. if not, they aren’t willing or ready. This takes money. So, my prayer is the rich feel enough compassion to start building houses. Help people who want it to become self sufficient, productive members of society.

  2. In Santa Cruz, there is a huge swell of hate toward people without housing. They are blamed for thefts, for garbage in the streets, for being aggressive. Funding for the day shelter was taken away last year and so more people are in the streets. That is also a lack of choice.
    In my opinion, we have to make it a priority to change public and community sentiment. You change that and life on the streets will be better, shelters will be better, there will be options. You don’t change it and you do what you’re doing now. Trying to squeeze funds out of a reluctant City government.
    If more activists could make that priority number one, and meet to brainstorm, to create campaigns, to devise strategies, we could change how things are.

  3. The closest I’ve found to my own experience homeless, and what I’ve written. Who cares what happens here and why we ended up here? Forgotten or abandoned.’s all the same. ..devastating to the mind, body, and the spirit. -db

  4. I spent a dozen years homeless, til 3/2017. The last 6+ years I camped at the same spot, & during that time lost all my stuff 3 times, some of it more times than I can recall. Every single time I lost it to the County of Orange Public Works during one of their sweeps. By law, found property must be stored safely & securely for 90 days. Never happened, they threw my stuff into a compactor trash truck & destroyed it. How would you feel if someone had the power to decide if you got to keep your personal property or not?
    SURPRISE!! You too, are subject to this type of thing, just look up “Kelo vs. New London”, SCOTUS ruled that govt can take private property for another private party to develop for private use. So you no longer own your property, your house, your land.
    So I guess I’ll say to you, “Wecome to the Katella bridge, we don’t allow no thieving or drama here. If that is a problem for you, I suggest you kick rocks to someplace else.”

  5. Deseret Defiant

    The Deseret Defiant Initiative is a non-violent political movement with the purpose of giving homeless individuals and GENUINE homeless advocates, a platform with intent to wake up local cities and communities, and make them aware of their part, in causing homelessness, and to try and get them to actively participate in EFFECTIVELY solving the problem in a positive and more permanent way, which will allow those who are homeless, to participate in their own transition, and recovery, from homeless to housed, AND allow the homeless to have a voice in their own communities as they stand up for their own rights, while supporting themselves legally and effectively without anymore dependence on government, and charitable organizations, than is absolutely necessary for each individual, based on their capability, to manage their own life, in their own home, in whatever form that home may be at the time.

    First, and so far only charter member ;

    Lawdee Namroh

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