In my never ending quest to study human habitats and behavior I frequently read others books, blogs and articles. I watch videos and documentaries of all kinds too, and of course I have my own personal experiences of dealing with many people in many different situations over several decades now. I am still fascinated by the choices people make and why and how they make them. I am also fascinated by how two different people can and do react totally differently to the same event or situation.
My own housing experiences are interesting too – at least to me anyway. I have lived aboard a ship for more than three years full time, and many more years part time. I and my wife and young at the time son lived aboard a thirty nine foot boat for a year, and I lived in the sleeper of a commercial truck most of the time for several years. Technically I had a “normal” home then too – though I seldom ever saw it for more than a couple of days every two or three weeks, otherwise I was in the truck all over the country and Canada. My wife and I have owned (when I say owned I mean making never ending mortgage payments) many different homes over the years ranging from townhomes, and condos to single family houses of varying sizes, but all much bigger than we actually needed. Later after our son was grown and had flown the coop my wife and I also lived full time in a thirty five foot long travel trailer we named “Nora”.
What I am about to share with you are just my opinions and the way I see it based upon my own experiences and observations – so take it or leave it as you will, and decide for yourself how you see it.
To me you are not homeless just because you dont have a typical house or an apartment to live in. So if you live on a boat, or in a camper, van, converted cargo trailer, tiny house on a trailer, sleeper berth of a commercial truck, yurt or even a regular tent – then you are houseless but not homeless. You have a home, its just not a typical home that follows the rules of mainstream normal society. None the less… it is still a home.
Others have very different views. They try to decide not only for their own opinion, but for the purposes of dictating to, and controlling the choices of others, what their version of homeless is. Different cities and counties and politicians, activists and others have their own self appointed definitions of what homeless is. Some of them say that sleeping in any place that was not specifically designed to be slept in means a person doing so is homeless. Some say that even RV’s and boats are not homes and therefore those who dwell in them are homeless. Many places have made it a crime to sleep in your own vehicle in “THEIR” city or town. If you don’t have a regular and fixed location that falls within the normal types as dictated by society – then you are homeless to those who have such a point of view. A normal home to them means a house, townhouse, condo or an apartment which you either pay the applicable mortgage or rent payment on along with all the other inherent expenses.
Is your shelter an adequate home or not? Well, that is a question you have to answer for yourself. To me if it can provide shelter from the elements, a safe comfortable place to sleep, has some type of toilette, a place to clean yourself adequately, has adequate heat and ventilation, a place to keep and prepare food, a place to work (sit up comfortably and read/write etc.), and can keep both you and your primary possession safe then its a home capable of being a home on a long term on going basis until and unless you decide to choose something else to live in later – regardless of what any politician, activist or otherwise would be dictator says.
Perhaps another element to consider and which often comes into play is do you live in what you live in by your own choice or do you feel like you have no choice? How do you see your current shelter and situation? Now if you are truly on the street and have no shelter of your own at all other than what you can scrounge up day by day, then to me that is homeless. Just my opinion, and again you may have another view, but that is how I see it. That is not a situation I would want to personally be in. You may feel different.
I have known many people over the years who had no home at all and who crashed on friends couches and on park benches, slept where ever they could find a place for the night and survived this way day by day for years. That is a hard way to live. It has absolutely zero appeal to me and is not something I would ever voluntarily choose to do. There are at least two groups of people who fall into this category – they who do so by choice and those who do so through desperation. If you choose to live this way by choice, well then its your choice, your life and your responsibility. Good luck.
If you find yourself out of a traditional home, not by your own choice but rather through some series of unfortunate circumstances, then there is good news for you. You can change it and change it quickly if you want to. Step by step according to your available resources you can have a home of your own very quickly. Start with the smallest, simplest and best thing that meets your currents needs that you can afford. That may be a homemade truck camper in the bed of a truck you already own if you have one, or it maybe the conversion of a van interior, or it may be something else entirely. What do you have now, or can you get your hands on that will work for you?
The reality of this modern debt laden consumerist society is that most people have a very false sense of security that is little more than an illusion created by societal conditioning of the masses. Truth is painful sometimes – but truth nonetheless and the hard truth is that most people are only a couple to a few paydays away from being involuntarily homeless themselves. More and more have been finding that out the hard way lately. Regardless of what you believe at this point it wouldn’t hurt to take a fresh look at the housing situation from a different perspective and perhaps consider whether you want to change your own views and your own course or not before something happens that changes everything for you.
Just something to think about…