It seems that I am always explaining to people why we serve in the open air rather than at a homeless shelter. Many of those we serve are not homeless. They are working at low wage jobs or are “retired” and have to make a choice each month on whether they are going to spend their money on food or rent. This is why our numbers go up as the month wears on. We see more of those who receive food stamps or monthly checks as they run out of money before they run out of month.
The homeless we see fall into three main categories. There are those who are just finding themselves homeless; just released from jail or prison, kicked out of home, divorced, etc.. There are those who have behavior and/or legal problems. People who get written up in a shelter get banned from that shelter. People who misbehave repeatedly end up banned from the whole system. Also, there are many who have bench warrants who would be apprehended if they gave their Social Security number to a shelter. Then there are the mentally ill. Some are paranoid or feel they have been abused by the system so they won’t give out their SS number to enter a shelter.