I'm homeless in Portland, Oregon, where the coronavirus state of emergency has been extended until July. Feel free to ask me anything about homelessness in general, or how things are affected by coronavirus, like:

  • The average age of death for homeless people being 50-something (really), and the ways the outbreak is worsening that
  • Grocery stores selling out of food, leaving food pantries without donations
  • Hangups in getting stimulus funds, and the mysterious bank account my stimulus money went to
  • Rising temperatures, with no indoor places to cool off, park fountains turned off, and people still stuck in winter clothes
  • A lack of options for charging phones, so people can't follow what services are available or get coronavirus news
  • Keeping up with hygiene advice when so many facilities are closed
  • Shrinking options for homeless people to make money
  • How homeless people with physical and mental health problems are even more vulnerable
  • What I'm doing to help
  • What you can do to help

For background, I've been homeless for nearly a year due to health issues, but I've been working with doctors toward getting to a place health-wise where I could get and keep a job. Before the pandemic, I was getting excited and imagining getting a new apartment. Now I'm worried about how I'm going to survive an employment recession. I really want to get back on the path of getting a job, though.

To keep busy, I've started taking photos of what I see during the coronavirus outbreak. You can see that at @MyHomelessMeals on Facebook and on Twitter. Full disclosure: The food looks better than the average meal on the street, but you'd get bored of a bunch of photos of peanut butter and jelly sandwiches.

I also want to give thanks for all the amazing work that so many people are doing to serve people in need right now. It really is comforting to know how much people care.

I'm happy to comment or message with anyone, but I might be slow due to battery and connectivity issues. I don't know how to "prove" homelessness without totally exposing myself on Reddit, but here are my highly redacted shelter ID cards, if that helps at all, plus there's my Reddit, Facebook, and Twitter history, as well as my first followers on Twitter. Also, some Portland Redditors have met me, maybe the mods can verify through them.

I know everyone's struggling right now in different ways. Stay safe, keep each other safe, and we'll get through this.

When you're feeling down, remember the helpers.

Edit: I'm still replying to people. I had to run to plug my phone in and I've skipped a meal, but I don't even miss it. I'm a little slow to reply because my phone's browser can't take all this, but I'm trying to keep up. If I haven't replied to something important, send me a message!

Edit 2: I have to get to sleep, but I'll keep responding tomorrow. Thank you to everyone who has taken a genuine interest!

Comments: 1284 • Responses: 49  • Date: 

cobaltcollapse4312 karma


I live in Portland! I just moved and realized I have a fair amount of stuff I need to get rid of, from tools to blankets to mittens. I created a small donation bag that I was going to hand out, would you like to meet up and take it? I also have a newer sleeping bag I can't imagine I'll use anytime soon. Lemme know. Cheers!

MyHomelessMeals2627 karma

Thank you so much! I'll send you a message, and I'll definitely want to share things with others. I want to be more like the people who have helped me. I feel like I've grown as a person from homelessness, learning to be both more generous and more thankful for what I do have. I know when I get back on my feet, I'll be doing a lot more donating and volunteering. I tried volunteering at my local food bank at the start of the outbreak, because I heard food banks were short on volunteers, both because there was more demand and because people were self-quarantining (especially older volunteers). But it turned out that they were having to reduce volunteer opportunities for social distancing. Then my own health started to deteriorate, so I had to put that off indefinitely.

nated0ge874 karma

Shrinking options for homeless people to make money

What are the options homeless people can do to earn money, or even break the cycle?

I realize when I read your post I actually know so very little about homeless people, so thank you for time.

MyHomelessMeals715 karma

Our local street newspaper that homeless people could sell on street corners has suspended its print publication, cutting off one way for people to make some money.

"Canning" - redeeming recyclable cans and bottles for money - has gotten tougher. Retailers' redemption sites have closed. A few independent machines are open, but there are fewer redeemables because fewer people are out consuming, and bars that would offer their bottles are closed. But due to health issues, I can't go all over town collecting bottles anymore.

Even panhandling isn't much of an option anymore because so few people are out and they're more inclined to keep their distance. I'm too embarrassed to panhandle, anyway.

I've been doing online gig work. Not typical /r/beermoney activity, which is easier if you can keep your phone plugged in and have unlimited internet. But lately, there are a lot more people competing for gigs, and they can bid lower if they're from lower-wage countries. I'm pretty sure this is because so many people around the world are out of a job right now.

lookingrightone627 karma

[question] whats your age? What made you homeless?

MyHomelessMeals1326 karma

I'm in my late 20s, and I lost my job because of secondary symptoms of a disease that basically left me with random cognitive difficulties that sometimes last all day, as well as extreme exhaustion, headaches, nausea, etc. A few months later I lost my apartment. :(

Edit: But to be clear, I'm fine most days. I just can't reliably work until I can get these symptoms under control.

nerds_need_love_too475 karma

Honest question - how do you get the symptoms under control while being homeless?

MyHomelessMeals1341 karma

I have Medicaid and live in a state that expanded it, so I very thankfully get medical care and prescriptions covered with no copays or deductibles. It's absolutely a huge lifesaver.

mangojingaloba448 karma

Thank frick for OHP amirite

MyHomelessMeals295 karma

So much.

cuddleniger106 karma

Wouldnt that make you eligible for federal disability?

MyHomelessMeals142 karma

Possibly, but I want to try to get back to work first.

SheriffBartholomew61 karma

I’m so sorry to hear about your plight and I sincerely hope you find your way out. Can you get early SSI disability? I know a guy that fried his brain with meth and ended up on disability in his mid twenties. He also has some mental illnesses, which were diagnosed in prison, so that helped him qualify. He doesn’t get much, but it also qualifies him for housing assistance and Medicare. He’s by no means living a lavish life, but gets enough assistance to rent a room from a friend and feed himself on the state’s tab.

MyHomelessMeals93 karma

My doctor suggested applying for disability, but I really want to try getting back on the work trajectory before exploring that option. I'm very glad your friend was able to get help, though.

sa25003927 karma

What disease causes this?

MyHomelessMeals108 karma

It's probably more my immune system responding to the disease and other nonsense. I don't want to get too specific because it might be identifiable when paired with my location and other details, but it's not cancer, it's not going to kill me, it's just a nuisance for now.

Edit: Oh, but I can say that the headaches and nausea are apparently migraines, even though I don't have an aura. Apparently there are migraines without auras. All that awfulness and I don't even get to look at a light show.

IQuoteWikipedia457 karma

What is the most needed item among your homeless community?

What food would be the best to donate? rice? canned goods? Beef jerky?

Who has been the most interesting person you've met during all this?

MyHomelessMeals648 karma

  1. Obviously money and housing. But if you're thinking of something you might possibly donate, a good, thick pair of cushioned socks, and a pair of comfortable shoes.
  2. For giving to homeless people directly, definitely not rice or anything that needs to be cooked. In fact, food is the most readily available charitable item, whether from SNAP (food stamps/U.S. monetary food assistance), from food pantries, or from meal providers. But if you really wanted to get something shelf-stable, filling, popular, and relatively affordable, canned chili and canned peaches are usually crowd-pleasers. Jerky is great but also expensive for the amount you get.
  3. The most interesting person? I don't know if there's any one person, but there are some super-volunteers out there who seem to somehow be dedicating their whole lives to helping.

Edit: This thread has a lot more ideas for helping.

DeliciousBreak343 karma

Have you always been in Portland? Did you leave elsewhere before? Do you want to leave, if so, where?

MyHomelessMeals501 karma

I grew up in Portland, and I really like it here. I never thought seriously about leaving until the rents shot up due to the city becoming trendy. Now I'm considering maybe a smaller college town or wherever the employment websites take me, once I get my health sorted out and I'm ready to look for a full-time job again.

msmithuf09165 karma

Not pretending to know the family life, but are you able to shelter with parents or something? Maybe not ideal but could provide some stability while you focus on your health

MyHomelessMeals375 karma

My parents passed away, unfortunately.

msmithuf09236 karma

Oh I’m so very sorry. Apologies for bringing up a potentially sensitive topic.

I sincerely wish you the best of luck with the health stuff. I was super glad to read you have such good health care options - and a great attitude about it.

MyHomelessMeals137 karma

Don't worry about it, thank you!

Theycallmelizardboy308 karma

Yo OP!

First of all, anything I can do to help?

Secondly, I might be willing to give you a space to stay I'd we could get an introductuon or know you a little bit.

PM me.

MyHomelessMeals173 karma

Thank you so much! I updated this comment with different types of ways that people could help, maybe one of them would be your speed? I will definitely follow up on someplace to stay!

Diligent_Slide177 karma

Ive been homeless before in Atlanta. It was hell in the summer and winter. What are the best and worst parts of being homeless in your opinion?

MyHomelessMeals407 karma

The worst: Searching through your tent in the middle of the night trying to find food that you know isn't there. Midnight cravings are terrible when you have no fridge and no pantry.

The best: Finding out how many amazing people are working tirelessly to help. That's such a comfort and it keeps me going.

alwayshangry11171 karma

Are you involved with the rest of the homeless community? What are the typical demographics of people like you (age range, gender, etc ) is there a general consensus of fear among the community or do you feel there is at least enough outreach and advocacy to provide much-needed resources to keep people comfortable for at least the time being?

MyHomelessMeals344 karma

Well, I probably don't have the full picture because women and families have their own shelters and the elderly can get more help in getting housing, but it definitely seems more male and sort of 20s-to-40s. I'd say there was more fear and desperation initially because everything suddenly closed at once and nobody was prepared.

A big problem now is that people aren't connected to information in an environment where information is changing dramatically, since libraries, cafes, community centers, and other places to charge your phone and use the internet are closed. People can't call 2-1-1 for resources. They're getting third-hand rumors about coronavirus. They can't look up a list of symptoms or how to get tested. They've never seen a chart explaining what flattening the curve means. They can't read up on why this disease is different from the flu. They didn't see the CDC's advice to wear face coverings. But I hear lots of frustration that so much is closed and scaled back when they don't see anyone they know getting sick from it. Personally, I'm glad organizations are serving people outside now (which was definitely not my preference before the outbreak, especially in summer and winter months), and I wish there was more enforcement of social distancing and provisioning of/requiring masks.

pants6789163 karma

What was your most recent employment?

MyHomelessMeals350 karma

I did graphic design and light coding for a mid-sized local company. I've used those skills to do online gig work, but lately, there are a lot more people competing for gigs, and they can bid lower if they're from lower-wage countries.

Before my health became more of an issue, I applied to several places that were hiring during the pandemic, but I've only gotten automated messages. My health has deteriorated since the lockdown, though. Before all this started, I was working with a doctor toward getting to a place health-wise where I could get and keep a job. I was getting excited and imagining my new apartment. Now I'm worried about how I'm going to survive an employment recession. I really want to get back on the path of getting a job.

NorthernScrub112 karma

Do you have a portfolio? Many people in our industry (I am an applications developer) balk at the idea of setting up hosting, but it's actually fairly easy with the number of free-to-use services available. You can host a website on Github nowadays, and I think dot.tk is still around for free URLs.

MyHomelessMeals116 karma

Unfortunately, if the job isn't short term, I'm likely to have problems completing it when my health issues flare up. So I'm doing gig work for now and will look for steady full-time work when I am able to reliably fulfill all the requirements.

extris100 karma

Damn. The thing that I still cannot believe is that someone who is able to do graphic design and light coding is forced onto the street due to our screwed up healthcare system. I'm from Germany originally and been in the states for a decade now and it's still mind-boggling to me...

MyHomelessMeals126 karma

There are even people with law degrees who are homeless. (There's actually an oversupply of people with law degrees as law firms consolidate, automate, etc.)

extris27 karma

Wow... if you ever happen to be in SF, feel free to reach out. Haven't made it up to Portland yet

MyHomelessMeals21 karma

Thank you!

a_taco_has_no_name130 karma

I'm surprised that no one has asked about this "mysterious bank account" that your stimulus check went in.

What happened?

MyHomelessMeals170 karma

So, I set up a direct deposit account to get the funds more quickly, but then when I checked the IRS website, it said it had been deposited into an account I don't recognize. 😮

The IRS isn't taking calls, but I wouldn't have the minutes or battery life to stay on hold with them even if they did. This is happening to other people, and according to news reports, what should happen is the payment should bounce, and then I should get a paper check. I really hope so. I was hoping to use that money to get a laptop that would help me out of homelessness. I could do online work with it, and do things like create a PDF resume and do video interviews, and even work from "home," since that will probably be more common now.

TopNotice0136 karma

Hey OP, you’re in need of a laptop? Any specifications? I bet I could find a mid 2000s one in Portland someone would be willing to donate.

MyHomelessMeals75 karma

Wow, thank you so much, I'll message you!

SheriffBartholomew60 karma

Is there a light at the end of the tunnel? Do you have any sort of plan or ideas as to how you’ll improve your situation? Do you have friends or family you can lean on?

MyHomelessMeals112 karma

Staying positive is what's getting me through this. I do believe I will get better, and I will work my hardest until it happens or I'm proven wrong. Unfortunately, my parents have passed away, but they were loving parents and I would be a lot worse off without their support. I have leaned on some friends for help, but I know not to wear out my welcome.

omegamcgillicuddy80 karma

I’m worried this is where I’m headed very soon. I’m trying to leave an abusive marriage. Both of my parents died recently too. I have no family or friends I can live with. I can’t access the shelters in my area for personal safety/medical reasons and I can’t find a hotel room in my area since they are only booking rooms for essential workers. I have no idea when I may be kicked out of my current living arrangement, still with my partner. I’m waiting to get approved for benefits to hopefully get me enough to pay rent, but that will take months. Time is not on my side and the pressure is on. It’s a horrifying feeling to stare homelessness in the face. And it’s frustrating because no one in my life seems to grasp just how shaken my world feels right now. To hear people say, oh I’m sure it will work out. It’s like no, you don’t get it. You really don’t get it.

MyHomelessMeals48 karma

I'm so, so sorry. I'm worried this pandemic could end up putting a lot more people on the street, and it's heartbreaking.

SheriffBartholomew17 karma

I wish you the best of luck. Life is crazy in that it can provide opportunities tomorrow, that you wouldn’t have dreamed of yesterday. Your positivity will help you see those opportunities and be prepared for them. Just don’t give up, no matter how dark it gets. I’ve been where you are, and it seems impossible, but it’s not. Don’t be afraid to ask for help and lean on those who offer. As long as you’re still working towards a solution, you’re not mooching. None of us would be who we are, or where we are, without the help of others. God bless.

PS, are there ways that us Reddit strangers can help, that maybe we aren’t aware of and haven’t thought about?

MyHomelessMeals12 karma

Are you asking about helping me or others? This thread has some ideas on how you can help others generally.

SheriffBartholomew10 karma

I’m asking about you specifically

MyHomelessMeals9 karma

Thank you very much! I really appreciate it a lot. I updated that comment with some ideas.

A-Dawg1141 karma

What exactly was the disease that caused cognitive issues?

MyHomelessMeals32 karma

I talked a bit about it in another thread, thank you!

DudeGuyManBroPal39 karma

What is the best way to determine whether or not someone is actually homeless or if they are just panhandling? (I have personal experience of getting ripped off)

When you see someone that is homeless asking for help on the side of the road, is it better to make eye contact and wave even if you're not going to give them anything, or to avoid eye contact as to not imply anything?

what percentage of homeless people that you met are homeless because of an addiction of some sort?

MyHomelessMeals41 karma

I don't know a good way to be sure someone's homeless. Maybe ask someone who you know is homeless about some questions only homeless people in your city (or at least people familiar with homelessness) would know the answer to. Like in my city, you could ask "What's a TPI card?" (an ID card for Transition Projects, Inc.) or "What's Red Doors?" (The nickname for St. Andre Bessette Catholic Church, a charity). But you can't guarantee that every homeless person would know the same things, especially in a large metro area.

I haven't done much panhandling because it's really nervewracking and embarrassing for me, but if you're in your car, sure, a wave, some supportive gesture is nice, just to know someone cared at least. If you're walking by, an easy way out of any situation, from someone trying to get you to sign a petition or donate to a cause to someone asking for money or a cigarette is to simply say "sorry." You can't really argue with "sorry" and it's respectful.

The body of available research suggests that while addiction and recovery are a bigger issue among the homeless population than the general public, it's not a majority, and that seems right to me, but you can't really spot everyone who has an addiction.

Tech-Support-42036 karma

Forgive me for being stupid but how can you use Reddit if you are homeless? Maybe I skipped over something in your bio...

MyHomelessMeals42 karma

No problem, I use a combination of the Lifeline phone program and public wifi.

orionthefisherman28 karma

I was homeless for about a year during the last recession. Basically lived out of my car. Do you have a vehicle? Other question, did you file your taxes? If not you should check and see if you could get a return. That's how I got out of my situation (although I was still working). No matter what keep working your way out. I love to hear how positive you are trying to be. I know how desperate and miserable it can be but if you keep trying and keep your spirits up I'm sure you'll pull through!

MyHomelessMeals28 karma

I don't have a vehicle, I was trying to save money by using public transit, but now it would be so nice to have my own lockable sleeping space. I did file my taxes, but my stimulus payment seems to have gone to a random mystery account.

420Prelude26 karma

How can I help?

MyHomelessMeals100 karma

Thank you for asking! I've been thinking a lot about how I want to help when I get back on my feet. If you'd rather give to an organization, try looking for local groups that are doing a lot of good work under the radar. Look up lists of where homeless people can get a meal in your town, for example, and see if there's somewhere that serves multiple days a week that you've never heard of before. That may be a clue that they're helping a lot of people but aren't getting local TV fundraisers and institutional support.

But I really believe that the way to make the biggest impact on someone's life is to give directly to them. If you're willing to give cash, do that. If you want to give items, ask what they could use that they can't get from regular charities. (Food, basic hygiene products, and basic clothing are often available from charities. If they ask for those things, try looking up where else they could get them long-term.) You can encourage them to think of something that they could use a lot, or something that would just be nice to have. Give them a budget so they don't feel awkward trying to stay under a mystery price. Just having someone do that for me really improved my life, beyond the actual donation. Just knowing someone cared enough to do that raised my spirits. So go make someone happy.

And if you'd like tips for creating care packages to hand out, ask me and I'll come back to this with some suggestions!

Edit: Here are the care package ideas! A couple of people have messaged me asking if they can help me personally. I really appreciate that a lot. I have a lot of what I need to survive, so I'm really not the most in need. But here are some ideas, feel free to scroll on past if you want. I tried to come up with things that are basically free that you can even message me, used things, etc. Seriously, when you're homeless, it doesn't take much to make a big difference. But...

  • The biggest priority for me is getting a job and getting out of homelessness. And what I need most for that is too much to ask for. But I'm saving up, and maybe someone would be willing to chip in a little bit? I'm wanting to get a laptop for doing online work, creating PDF resumes tailored to each employer, conducting video interviews, and even working from "home," since that will probably be more common now. If you'd like to help with that, I already have some Amazon funds, maybe you could email an Amazon e-gift card or even email it to yourself and message me the code so I know it came from you? You can also message me on Facebook or Twitter (links in the post). I could also use it for things like office-type shoes for an interview (Amazon owns Zappos), and a bag that looks professional and not like a homeless person carrying his life on his back.
  • Answering a question I got, I don't have Venmo or CashApp, I guess because I didn't think people would be willing to send me money that way.
  • If you have an old gift card in a sock drawer you're probably never going to use, and you're willing to part with it, would you be willing to message me the code so I could use it online?
  • Or another basically free thing to message: If it's possible, a streaming app. For example, most cable and satellite providers include a free streaming app that a lot of people don't bother with. I would love to have something to pass the time in isolation. I normally don't watch much TV, and still won't watch much just to conserve my battery, but some escapism before bed would be great.
  • Some second-hand things: Any old phone, even with a cracked screen or a carrier lock, could at least be a backup device I could access wifi and take photos with. An old tablet would be great for reading an e-book or watching a show before bed. Or an old laptop would be absolutely amazing. Also, comfortable shoes or gently worn office shoes in size 10.5 to 12 would be really useful. I'm usually an 11, but I can comfortably wear anything in that range.
  • Or if you'd like to buy something for me, even something small and cheap off Amazon, thank you very much! There are definitely things I could use, it doesn't have to be much at all. Just message me.

I really feel awkward asking for things, sorry for bothering anyone. Please message me with any donation-related things rather than chat or leave a reply, because this AMA is getting to the point where I'm having trouble keeping up, and I've already left my details in a public comment for a minute thinking I was replying to a private message in my notificatons. Anyway, thank you very much!

pants678924 karma

I'd like the care package tips, please.

MyHomelessMeals134 karma

Great! So, people always think of food, but food is actually the most readily available charitable item, at least in mid-to-large U.S. cities. Here are some useful things that aren't always so available, though:

  • Bus fare.
  • Earplugs. You can get them cheaply in bulk and put them in baggies. Maybe print out slips of paper you can cut up that say something like "I hope you sleep better, and can tune out that person who's always talking too much."
  • Extra-thick socks. You hear a lot that socks are the least-donated items of clothing, but I don't think that's true anymore, maybe because everyone hears that. But really thick socks that cushion you when you do a lot of walking are a special item. Go for black, which won't look worn out as quickly as white.
  • Dr. Scholl's Air-Pillo insoles. These are $2.50 on Amazon and even cheaper in stores. Add a note assuring them there are two of them that you have to peel apart, because there are a lot of confused reviewers who think there's only one.
  • During the pandemic, which apparently might come back in the fall/winter, consider some disposable gloves and some sort of facial covering. Charities provide hygiene supplies like soap and now even hand sanitizer, but you can still add those if you like, because not everyone is receiving those hygiene kits.
  • Salt, pepper, and maybe a small bottle of hot sauce. Free meals can get a little bland, and you almost never find these condiments at food pantries.
  • Something particularly special to eat. An affordable idea: squares from a big bag of Ghirardelli chocolate caramels. But again, food is readily available, so don't feel like you have to load a bag with canned foods and power bars.
  • A list of places to get food, hygiene items, clothing, and public restrooms. Look up homeless resources in your city. If you're in the United States, you can find them in the 2-1-1 website for your area, and also look up who the Lifeline phone assistance providers are in your area and write those down.
  • If you're willing to include a little cash, even a dollar, do.
  • Edit: A micro-USB charging cable. Those things wear out fast being carried around with a bunch of other stuff in a backpack.

I hope that helps to give you some ideas.

tromperie95 karma

Do you use Venmo or the Cash app? If so, can we/I send you some dough?

MyHomelessMeals5 karma

I don't, but thank you very much, I really appreciate it! Would you maybe be willing to send an Amazon e-gift card? I'll message you.

gsasquatch25 karma

What does a typical day look like?

Where do you poop?

Where do you get water?

curios_shy_annon12 karma

Excuse us if these are wrong questions, but i am "curious" about them too.

MyHomelessMeals28 karma

Well, I'll say the city of Portland is very proud of its custom-made public restrooms, and they have their own Wikipedia page. They have a faucet on the outside where you could fill up a bottle, but there's plenty of water available with meals. As for a typical day, things aren't typical at all right now, but the biggest constant is going all over town and standing in lines for every daily activity. Except I'm going out a lot less than usual now. CC: /u/gsasquatch

applepiepirate24 karma

Pandemic or no, how can the average guy beat help the homeless? I’m down to give a few bucks to panhandlers, but if there’s something more effective, I’d like to do that.

MyHomelessMeals19 karma

This thread might answer your question, but let me know if not!

capri7124 karma

Would you be able to work part-time? Even a few hours a week or would you lose social security? (Sorry I'm in the UK, so a different system).

MyHomelessMeals26 karma

If you get on Social Security Disability Insurance, you can work a certain amount, but it's a lot of work to get on, and I would like to try getting back to full-time work before trying that route.

5_sec_rule19 karma

I thought I was going to be homeless because I had to move out of a duplex and look for an apartment. All the apartments in Portland are sky high for rent. I gave up looking. I finally found that it would be about 1/2 the price of rent to buy a house. That's what I ended up doing. Some day I'll be able to afford to rent again. Do you think there should be better rent controls in place in Portland?

MyHomelessMeals43 karma

I know there's a big debate about whether rent control is the best policy, or if it's better to flood the market with new housing to increase supply and drive prices down, and/or encourage dedicated affordable units. I'm not really qualified to solve that debate, though.

Esqueda010 karma

Another Portland guy here with a few questions:

Is there anything residents can do to help individuals in crisis? I've taken people through grocery/convenience stores and have them pick out some food, socks, and shoes before; but I can't help but think the food's not enough or that the clothing will be ruined shorty after we part ways. What is something ~$40-$50 that would make a big difference in the medium-term?

Is there a safe drop-off place for homeless people and are they worth driving people in crisis to? I tried driving someone to Portland Rescue Mission before, but they told the woman I brought she could only stay for 30 minutes before she had to leave. Fortunately, Right to Dream Too had some vacancies and she spent the night there and I never saw her again - but I can't help but wonder where the people who get turned away from the women's shelters should go.

Is there more-or-less a community of homeless people in PDX, or do homeless people keep to themselves? What is the perception of the outliers who drill into gas tanks or break into cars and businesses?

MyHomelessMeals14 karma

For $40-50, ask them. Maybe they need a tent or sleeping bag, or shoes, or a portable charger for their phone, maybe a solar charger. Food, basic toiletries, and basic clothing are available from charities in Portland. Get a copy of the Rose City Resource to give to people, which will have lots of listings for where to get those.

There isn't a place that can guarantee a place to stay overnight, you have to enter a lottery at a certain time to try to get a mat. And now it's even harder to get shelter, if you even want to be in a room full of other people overnight at the moment.

There are friendships among the homeless, but how wide a circle of friends varies from person to person. I obviously don't support the kind of burglary you describe, it sounds like the sort of thing that can be feeding a hard addiction. I wish there was a lot more emphasis on and funding of evidence-based addiction treatment. I feel incredibly fortunate to have never had a problem with substances because I'm pretty sure I'd be relapsing about now.

the_goose_says9 karma

Did you grow up in Portland? If not, when and why did you choose Portland?

OnTheList-YouTube6 karma

Do you feel like if GBI (Global Basic Income) would really help you and other homeless people off the streets?

MyHomelessMeals18 karma

Absolutely. But will it ever happen and is it sustainable? I really don't know.

CoffeeNeededNow5 karma

I live in the Portland area, what organizations do you think make the most impact that are non religious? As an LGBTQ person, I won't donate to salvation army or religion based orgs due to their policies.

I see multiple organizations trying to help the homeless in the city, but it seems so uncoordinated. I would think if they could combine, they would be able to make a bigger impact?

MyHomelessMeals89 karma

A lot of organizations do work together behind the scenes. Some that jump to mind that don't seem particularly religious in nature are Free Hot Soup and Waste Not Food Taxi. They both are constantly going around the whole metro area salvaging food from where there's extra and delivering it to where it's needed. FHS delivers mostly to homeless people directly, while WNFT delivers to places like shelters and meal providers.

As a gay kid, I kind of grew up scarred by the conservative Christian movement, but from being homeless, I've gained a lot of admiration for people who are motivated by their faith to serve people in need, with absolute tolerance and respect, and without even trying to nudge me toward their religion. If anyone were to convert me, it would be them and not the ones who are using their charity as a way to try to convert people.

insaneintheblain4 karma

The perception people have of the homeless is that they are scary. I think it's because they see a part of themselves in the homeless that they don't want to acknowledge.

What are some tips you can give these people, and how do you see this from your point of view?

MyHomelessMeals16 karma

I'm actually using my social media to try to connect with people through food, something relatable and universal. I would also point out that you only see the homeless people who look homeless to you. When I sit in the waiting room of a resource center waiting for laundry or whatnot, I'm struck by how if the others were among the general public, I largely wouldn't be able to tell who was homeless and who wasn't.

CakeWarfare3 karma

Hey buddy I havent lived in portland for acouple of years but if i remember correctly the DHS might be able to help you with bus fare assuming they still do that? (Sorry hope this helps) also are the feedings still going on and are you guys still getting swept by the cops? I had a buddy that stayed huge camp out in the flats that got busted he lost everything including acouple of friends. Also if youre hard pressed for eats I know for a fact the trader joes dumpster in hollywood has some good stuff if you can get there early enough. Stay safe friend I hope everything works out for ya

MyHomelessMeals4 karma

I've gotten Trader Joe's food at meal providers and food pantries, so I think people are picking it up from them. Some places provide bus fare for a confirmed medical appointment or interview. I have permission to be on private property out of public view, so I don't have to worry about that.

wadner21 karma

Do you th hink your governor is saving lives with the lockdown?

MyHomelessMeals25 karma

I believe we should ask the epidemiologists who have dedicated their lives to studying the spread of diseases like this what they think about the lockdowns. I'm pretty sure they would say yes, they have saved a lot of lives.

[deleted]-1 karma


MyHomelessMeals4 karma

Yes, and I'm glad that at least this is happening March-to-May and not June-to-August or December-to-February. I really hope people are wrong about the virus coming back in the colder months.