The Tyranny of Shelter


A homeless man explains why he prefers life on the streets to life in a shelter. Here's an excerpt, but you ought to read the whole thing:

1. Shelters usually require that you enter early in the eve and then remain there until early the next morn when you must leave. This can totally waste HOURs of otherwise possibly productive time, just sitting around in unpleasant to worse circumstances—and a time when EVERY resource, including time, must be marshalled.

2. The shelters I've been to are designed to try to keep alcoholics, drug addicts and criminals from being able to do those things. I don't do those things, so the preventative measures simply needlessly and oppressively impose upon my own adult freedoms. Like going around the corner for a coffee in a cafe and looking for work or some other way to earn money using the wifi.

3. Literally "imprisonment" with some of the worst people. This is a lousy way to spend evenings and is COUNTERproductive. Or worse….

On a loosely related note, let me recommend The Poorhouse, a slim but fascinating history by the sociologist David Wagner. As I've mentioned before, Wagner's book makes a compelling case that the modern homeless shelter is more draconian than the 19th century almshouses he studied.