Here’s a thing about just getting out there and getting a job.
I’m tempted to bitch about my family situation but I’m not going to go there, because when all is said and done we’re luckier than many – or most.
In my job I deal with a lot of people just looking for a meal. Due to a new church program, we provide sack lunches for anyone who asks. Can’t get you a job or a room or gas or medical care, but if you’re hungry you can always come here.
Used to be almost entirely street people, down on their luck (as has been hashed out before, most people are only a month or two away from homelessness), or most often mentally or physically disabled. More and more now it’s people trying to get a meal for their kids. What’s interesting is seeing the folks who have been living rough a while basically mentor the newbies and show them the survival tricks.
I offer two examples.
One day on of my regulars came in, very proud of her new work uniform. She got a job as a bus driver. So I never saw her again, right? Wrong, Months later she’s still employed but still homeless, because saving enough for first and last is a bitch, and because it’s not just her – she responsible for a whole bunch of other people and food, shelter, medicine drains her. And because she’s working she “earns too much” for assistance. As a result she still has to come in for a meal.
Her choice is still to work. Call that lazy?
Here’s another of my regulars, someone I might assume is on the streets by choice. Turns out he’s finished training to be an in-home caregiver. This is what’s holding him back – he’s got a friend likewise on the streets, who’s as he puts it, simple. He feels responsible for him because he encouraged him to come with him from Oklahoma to California, back when there were actual jobs here. If he gets an in-home job his friend can’t come, and he worries that he wouldn’t survive the streets on his own.
I could go on about the woman who telemarkets from her home base in the park, or the homeless teenager looking to volunteer for a meal and a good rec, and on and on.
And yeah, some people who come in are lazy and greedy, I suppose. But don’t, please, assume that just because it looks that way it’s necessarily so.