Will Work for Food

My name is Zeek. I am an able-bodied 21 year old male who grew up in San Diego. My adoptive parents kicked me out at 18(not right on my birthday, but during the year) because they didn't think I appreciated them enough (I think they were mistaken, but there is nothing I can do about that now). I have been homeless since they kicked me out, as its quite difficult for someone without a college education, permanent address, and without the ability to shower every day or put on clean clothes every day to get/keep a job. I have tried travelling by hitchhiking and/or freight train(best form of travel, btw) and starting fresh in new towns with the "I just moved here and im living in a hotel, and I am looking for work so I can get my life together" motif, but to no avail. The police in many cities, both large and small, are very abusive and prejudiced against the homeless. I have been beaten up by San Francisco Police, and have multiple misdemeanors in Los Angeles for things such as sitting on the sidewalk. I am actually going to court later this month for a ticket for soliciting at an off-ramp in LA. The off ramp I was at, IN HOLLYWOOD, made me about $10 every two hours, if I was lucky, even during rush hour traffic. That's better than I did on the street with a sign, averaging about $15 a day. The stories of making boohoo bucks from panhandling are mostly baloney. I have learned the best places and times to panhandle, as is indicated in this article, but the only way I can make sure that I can eat during the day, and (I have scoliosis, I don't care if you judge me) make sure I have a bowl of weed or a joint to smoke to help me fall asleep on the cold hard concrete is to panhandle ALL day, even during the off hours. And during that time, I am entirely at the mercy of the local police HOPING I wont get arrested, or get a ridiculously overpriced ticket for soliciting or some other bogus law (I have actually done jail time for "blocking pedestrian access to the sidewalk" and "sitting on the sidewalk", as well as had all of my posessions stolen by several police departments, because they know I don't have the money to fight it). In this economy especially, the working's wallets hurt, but the homeless hurt even more because we can barely make enough money to live. I wish people could get their minds past the homeless stigma they think about and actually reach out and help people. What can a shelter do for me, where I am surrounded by people addicted to drugs and who are mentally incompetent, and full of bed bugs, TB, and other diseases. I would much rather sleep outside in a good sleeping bag. I urge people to re-evaluate their view on homelessness. I choose not to pahnhandle in San Diego except for when I am in dire need, for I hope to someday settle back here, and I do not want to potentially alienate employers, future girlfriends, or any other social setback that could occur from me becoming a recognizable face panhandling here.
— February 10, 2013 4:19 p.m.

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