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(Some Guy)   Alaska has homeless people. They sleep outside. Outside   ( divider line
    More: Misc  
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5271 clicks; posted to Main » on 06 Dec 2001 at 12:00 AM (15 years ago)   |   Favorite    |   share:  Share on Twitter share via Email Share on Facebook   more»

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2001-12-06 12:02:01 AM  
2001-12-06 12:05:13 AM  
no sir, i am classified as a meat popsicle
2001-12-06 12:06:28 AM  
At least it's Southern Alaska....
2001-12-06 12:08:31 AM  
It's a good thing its not January yet.............
2001-12-06 12:09:44 AM  
There ARE parts of Alaska that are decently warm for most of the year. It's not a freaking iceberg up there.

I suppose Minnesota is covered with snow most of the year? (Except for this year, when we might be having a green Christmas...)
2001-12-06 12:11:14 AM  
Damn those homeless people! They aren't contributing to the richest 1% of Americans! Guess not every part of that 1% can get a new Lexus this year.
2001-12-06 12:11:22 AM  
hey, it isn't bad sleeping in a snow mound, did it for x-mas
and in alaska, with the po few and far between in the wilderness areaws, just poach for food.
half of them are probably people roughing it on a dare.
2001-12-06 12:13:45 AM  
x-ams, I am smoking weed tonight, shouldn't read and type at the same time, Imeant boy scouts
2001-12-06 12:28:28 AM  
i heard about how tibetian monks go outside and sleep in the cold in just their robes and blankets once a year, on the coldest night of the year. In the northern mounts of asia, brrr.
2001-12-06 12:32:51 AM  
2001-12-06 12:33:33 AM  
this is bad man, such a big and prosperous country and still has problems which are normally seen in poor countries....
2001-12-06 01:00:08 AM  
Before I here any "Reagan made more people poor" with misinterpretations of 1980s homeless statistics (it inevitably comes up) we ought to take note that the nations asylums were privatized through the efforts of trial lawyers and the some X-treme civil rights folks (Yuo c@n'7 force N E Body to take drug$$!!!). Lots o' famliless loonies got turned out into the ranks of the homeless, and Reagan had nothing to do with it.

If we wanna figure out why the hellzor there are so many poverty stricken folk we ought examine why we have 98 billion dollars worth of aid programs (not including things like rural electrification) and only 56 billion worth of poverty (given from the average gap between the income of the "poor" and the poverty line * the number of those living belor the poverty line).

The problems is not insufficient funds, its mismanagement and corruption in the distribution.
2001-12-06 01:15:37 AM  
As insane as it sounds, I have some advice for those running the body politik up in Anchorage. Years back (late 70's) I found myself homeless in Green Bay, WI. As some will recall the winters in those years were record setting both for cold and snow. The shelters were dangerously overcrowded and government resources were stretched thin. Then the mayor of Green Bay had a brainstorm. He purchased a quantity of Greyhound bus tickets which were open ended and gave them to those homeless who sincerely seemed to want to help themselves (of which I was one). The ticket was valid to take me anywhere in the continental U.S. I took a ride to Phoenix, AZ and got my self together. This option actually ends up being more affordable in the long run, fewer people freeze to death and the city can spend the money saved on helping those homeless who really need it (ie. those with young children, the mentally ill, drug-addicted etc.).
Just an idea for you Anchorage. Having wintered in Alaska (though not as a homeless person) I can assure you even in good weather it is not an easy way to go.
2001-12-06 01:16:31 AM  
Id just like to point out that i live in Juneau, Alaska. I live in a rainforest. We get 251 days of rain a year on average, over 110 inches's of rain. Yes, parts of alaska are not covered in ice. In fact, Juneaus temps range from 10-80 degrees F. In the interior, Fairbanks, Tok, Haines Junction, it gets from 40 below to a hundred above. And Anchorage isnt "Bush", its the 25th largest city in america.

lol, i just dont like it when people call my state an iceberg :)
2001-12-06 01:18:49 AM  
half of them are probably people roughing it on a dare.

Isn't that what Reagan said? Sorry Android, you said it had to be brought up, so I did.
2001-12-06 01:21:12 AM  
Cold weather shrinks my dick. That's just not something i can afford.
2001-12-06 01:43:32 AM  
whatever happened to igloos?
2001-12-06 01:45:12 AM  

ahhh.... shiat. Well ,I'd submit that was taken out of context but its too timely/good of a joke. LOL. Thats what I get for forcing the issue.

: )

Yeah, the gipper weren't too clever at speaking. I'll have to admit that. But other social factors make it impossible to claim him as the source of all homeless misery.

his "bombing begins in 5 minutes" goof is still funnier, though.
2001-12-06 01:52:10 AM  
Hey mask: from US census (1997):
Anchorage, AK MSA 251,047 141

Get back out to the iceberg.
2001-12-06 02:06:03 AM  
Allow me a modest rant. Enough of the hand-wringing, already. Here's some FACTS:

I've been there and done that. I lived in a van for 6 months during the last big recession (coinciding with a messy divorce = no other place to live) and being "overqualified" for all of the positions I applied for. I "interfaced" with the rest of the homeless. I made money by washing car windows at a Thrifty Gas. I ate a lot of ketchup packets and Carl's Jr. breadsticks, and paid visits to the Salvation army and several local churches for food. This isn't a "scientific" survey, but a summary of my observations from living with it for half a year.

A good 30%-40% of these people are just plain nuts - borderline or full-blown crazy. We have the ACLU and various liberal activist groups to thank for them being on the streets, because the do-gooders brought a flurry of lawsuits in the 60's against the largely state-run agencies contending that holding paranoid schizophrenics and other insane people against their will was a violation of their civil rights.

Most of this group are literally incapable of dealing with the minimum amount of responsibility and linear thinking needed to hold even a minimum wage job. They often think that the psychiatric medications that the various government agencies still make available to them on an out-patient basis are really poisons designed to kill them. Some of them are on various legal and illegal drugs as a means of self-medication. They live day-to-day. The fact that, by and large, they DO manage to live is actually a tribute to the charitable impulses of the American people.

More on those charitible impulses below.

Another 15-25% of these people are the true permanent homeless: the stupid, the ignorent, and the "footloose" sterotypical hobo or drifter. They are NOT "crazy" in the clinical sense of the word - they just can't cope, or don't WANT to cope, with modern life, and/or don't like to stay in one place too long. Many of them have had brushes with the law, and can't get regular work because of prison and/or arrest records. Some of them are currently wanted by the law. Many of them are, shall we say, "a little hazy on the concept of private property". Most of them just don''t want to be tied down by responsibility. Some of them don't care a whole lot about money, or what most people think of as "the good things in life". In an earlier (or later?) time a lot of them would have been (will be?) frontiersmen (they are overwhelmingly men) and explorers.

Maybe 25%-35%, perhaps larger, of the "homeless" are just scam artists. I have KNOWN some of these people: they put in an 8 hour day, 5 days a week, with their "Will Work for Food" signs, pocket anywhere from $100-$400 per day in spare change (tax free), and jump in their cars at day's end to drive to their apartments or homes.

About 10%-20% of the homeless are people temporarily down on their luck. This is the only group that shows a lot of change; most of them, maybe 60%-75%, make use of the various fragmented safety nets that are available and eventually get off the street. The rest of them give up and fall into group 2.


Clothing: when you see a homeless guy in rags (ripped jeans, shredded shirt, etc.) with his little WWFF sign, it is a virtual certainty that he is scamming you. The REAL homeless know where to get a virtually limitless amount of fairly-decent-looking clothing: Goodwill, the Salvation Army, Catholic Missions, and a whole bunch of other privately run missions.

Food: Hot meals are usually available from the Salvation Army in the central areas of most of the big cities. There are LOTS of food banks. When my girlfriend and I had saved up enough for a deposit on an apartment in a bad (but not REALLY bad) part of Santa Ana, we had to rely on food banks for several months while we scraped up the monthly rent. It may not have been Steak and Lobster, but we NEVER went hungry. Later, when we had money, a PC, internet hookup, and the desire to put some food stocks back into "the system", we did some research and found over 100 churches - just in Orange County - that maintained permanent food banks.

Medicine: Again, it may not be the Mayo Clinic, but - for true life-threatening emergencies - free and low cost medical care is generally available. I personally know of three cases (one involving my girlfriend) where homeless people were treated at hospital emergency rooms - two private, two city run. In all cases, the hospital admittance staff knew there was the chance of a snowflake in hell of ever collecting any money from the patients, but they WERE treated.

What's the worst part of being homeless? Not being able to take a god-damned bath or shower! There are very few facilities available for this, which makes it tough if your trying to go on job interviews. My girlfriend hit upon a novel method: sneak into the gym of the local junior college campus and use their showers.

The next worst part of being homeless is not being able to find part-time or "casual" work. Being able to go up to a small business owner and clean their windows, paint a wall, or do other odd jobs is a thing of the past. Everyone is afraid of slip-and-fall lawsuits, liability if the homeless guy attacks a customer, etc. Farking lawyers have screwed it up. I found a job washing car windows at a gas station because the station manager was planning on quiting in two months and was pissed off at Corporate. So he ignored their P&P against allowing "independent contractors" on the premises.

The next worst part of being homeless are the damned cops. I was fairly lucky: I had an old beat-up Ram-Van my girlfriend and I could sleep in, and we only got rousted about one a week, at 2 or 4 in the morning, for being parked illegally. There are cities in Orange County where it is ILLEGAL to sleep in your car!

The biggest enemies of the homeless is the damned government and the damned lawyers.

End of rant.
2001-12-06 03:01:22 AM  
yeah, so? three homeless guys live at the end of our road in the woods...we live 15 miles from the nearest city.
2001-12-06 03:09:03 AM  
Good post, Bookman.
2001-12-06 03:51:19 AM  
Of course they sleep outside, they're homeless. They have no inside to go to, all they own is outside, hence the name "homeless."
2001-12-06 05:26:14 AM  
This is nothing. I got a paper-cut when rolling a spliff at a Suzanne Vega concert once.
2001-12-06 06:25:37 AM  
Yeah, they sleep outside, hence the term homeless. Duh.
2001-12-06 06:41:37 AM  
And of course they might get hypothermia
2001-12-06 07:16:17 AM  
If only they all had a Baby with fork in head t-shirt.
2001-12-06 08:14:59 AM  
Skywalker: Fvck off.
2001-12-06 08:51:03 AM  
Anchorage is the 25th biggest city in the US??? No kidding ...
I was just there on business a few months ago (gotta love Humpy's) and, while I really did like the place, it just did not seem that big at ALL.
2001-12-06 09:19:44 AM  
Bookman: EXCELLENT POST. Thank you for bringing rationality to the argument.
2001-12-06 09:45:24 AM  
I would agree with Book's assessment of things. But then, I only lived in my car for a short while and didn't spend any time at shelters and what not.

There's also a small group of people who have nothing to do with the charity organizations out there.

I knew quite a few kids that slept in vans at the REI parking lot in Anchorage.

Oh, here's some information about the size of Anchorage...

From the 1990 census data Anchorage was the 69th largest city in the US (I think this ranks it in terms of population + land area), but first in area...

Or, from the 2000 census data:

Anchorage is the 140th city by population size alone (260,283)

So there you go... Having said that they do try to pick-up homeless seen sleeping around town in the winter.
2001-12-06 09:54:27 AM  
I was under the impression that Alaska PAID you to live there. Pisses us NYC people off.
2001-12-06 11:12:33 AM  

When you say 'lived in a van' do you mean lived in a van down by the river?
2001-12-06 12:02:26 PM  
No, not paid. You do get a "permanent fund" that varies in value each year. Compared to most places in the US it wouldn't even cover the cost of living difference, but compared to pricing in NYC, you might feel like you got a bonus (It's not enough to live on, about 1,000-1,500 bucks)

I've been there too, and have to agree with your assessment of the demographics of the homeless. I spent about 6 months in a similar situation, but I was lucky enough to be in Texas in the summer & fall, so I never went to a shelter. I showered at the local college (even slept there quite a bit, since I was at that age), but never had a problem getting food or clothes, and in just a few months (I'd say 4), I had a reasonably good job & an apartment. 6 months later, I started going to college in that same town.

Anchorage is pretty big for Alaska, but it's not a "major metropolitan area", except to the locals who don't realize it. It does have modern conveniences, etc. but doesn't compare in population to most. I lived there about 7 years, and lived in other places like El Paso, TX & Albuquerque, NM. It's over 1/3 the size of Albuquerque, but seems like smalltown, USA when it comes to what's available to do (& when the city dies off at night, although I'm too old to care much anymore!)
2001-12-06 01:18:11 PM  
It's been said - but good post Bookman!
2001-12-06 01:20:56 PM  
Alaska sucks, no one should come here, there is nothing to do, no where to go, it is cold and dark. I built a cabin check it out.
2001-12-06 01:38:03 PM  
Ha Bam,
Geocities going to boot yer arse for showing us yer outhouse, getting big hits I bet.
2001-12-06 01:42:14 PM  
Oh and good post Bookman, honesty is a rare thing. Good show.
2001-12-06 02:08:32 PM  
Wow, that didn't take long... Instant farking! Well, hope you like your cabin.
2001-12-06 02:10:13 PM  
I have about 10 of those sites. All your bandwidth, are belong to us. You could go here and see it too.
2001-12-06 02:27:50 PM  
so how long does it take to fill up an outhouse, assuming lime is used, and the decomposition only takes place in the warm months. Enquiring minds want to know.
2001-12-06 02:38:32 PM  
Thanks for sharing your story with us. :) I worked (for a short time) at a food distobution center, and it was tough! Alot of the folks were pretty nice. A few kept to themselves. Most of them didn't smell all that great, but I found that if you treated them like people then they felt better for it. The one thing that got to me was the number of mentally retarded. There was one old woman who would sit by herself with a old, rtatty teddy bear and sing to it all day. Another homeless person would find her and bring her along to the food shelter to get a meal.
It was all very sad. I don't know why the guy who ran the place wouldn't let any of them have more then 2 napkins, though. They were napkins!
2001-12-06 02:57:21 PM  
I know of abuses in my local food pantry, and it leaves a feeling of suspicion, when it comes down to donating. People making upwards of 50K loading up a car full of fresh produce, because "uncle" works there. Kind of like Geraldo's report yesterday, of all our aid being sold in Kabul, in open air "Mall of America's"
2001-12-06 03:48:12 PM  
lots of shiat, I dont know. I will keep you posted.
2001-12-06 03:54:11 PM  
Bamf75, perhaps you could put up a cam to keep us posted, i doubt there are any Alaskan Outhouse Cam's out there...
just a thought...
2001-12-06 03:56:20 PM  
The logistics are blowing my mind.
2001-12-06 04:00:25 PM  
generator and some cable, how hard could it be?
2001-12-06 04:50:12 PM  
Birds know how to migrate... why cant these guys walk their ass to a warmer climate?
2001-12-06 04:55:48 PM  
Put the bong down and look at a map. That's why.
2001-12-06 08:08:48 PM  
I think it is the 25th biggest in square miles. I remember hearing it is bigger then the state of RI. but they count from Girdwood to Thunderbird Falls. And yeah I live in this place.
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