Seven: Homeless people take, take, take, and give nothing back. Wrong. There are whole, huge networks of medical and psychiatric and social service bureaucracies whose workers depend on the homeless for their jobs and incomes. Street people, you might say, make a career out of making providers feel good about themselves. They make social workers feel helpful, church members feel moral, psychiatrists feel powerful, and nearly anyone feel superior. They do this willingly and in their own best interests. They know they are looked down on, but they also know that the public’s assessment of them is wrong. They smile inwardly and they think, “I have seen the ‘superiors’, and they are us.”
Eight: Homeless people refuse to be helped. Wrong. Some of them refuse to be turned into drug addicts or casualties by the mental health system. They don’t refuse affordable housing; they just have to wait five or ten years to get it. They don’t refuse permanent free housing because there is no such thing in San Diego.
Nine: Homeless people choose their lifestyle. Often true. They choose it over crime, mooching off of relatives, or suicide. Sometimes, once they get used to it, they prefer it to the rat race and to the costs (financial, psychological, physical) of getting and staying off the street.
Ten: Homeless people are the least fit to survive. Wrong. Whether or not a person is fit to survive depends completely on what environment he or she is in. Wait until the big tsunami or the big earthquake hits San Diego and then see who the most skilled urban survivalists are.