Thursday, December 4, 2008

Observations of a Prepper - Are the Homeless Bugging Out of the Big Cities?

You can read about all kinds of things that are going on right now. A very bad economy with politicians offering solutions that even the least intelligent of persons out there realize won’t work. Perhaps you just need to take a little time and observe what’s happening right where you are. When was the last time you actually stopped and took a really good look at what’s happening in your own little part of the universe? Are the homeless people in your area bugging out?

One of the most frightening things I’m seeing is the very real possibility that the homeless are leaving the big city and heading to more rural areas. About 9% of all homeless people live in rural areas according to the National Alliance to End Homelessness in a survey in 2007. As times get tougher, the homeless are going to be moving out of the big cities and heading for the hills, literally.

I’m currently seeing more and more homeless people in the rural areas in my “neck of the woods”. Most of the homeless I’ve seen are on bikes loaded with their sleeping bags, clothes and other items. I live in a basically rural area of the state and I’m pretty familiar with most of our “regular” homeless types that hang around here. I’ve even had to deal with a few who were causing minor problems. But when I start to see more homeless people traveling the roads and highways in my county that I don’t recognize, my level of concern starts to go up. Why is this happening now? Will it get worse? If homeless people are starting to have problems surviving in the city, how will regular people living there make it?

I consider most homeless people experts at what I like to call “Urban Bushcraft”. Those more experienced at “bushcraft” techniques will be the first to tell you that surviving in a wilderness setting takes a lot of skill and fortitude. It takes similar skills to survive in the big city. With only simple and basic means of transportation, limited possessions, and with little or no money they live a life where survival is a daily struggle. They are real survivors in a real world.

They don’t have B.O.B.’s because they use shopping carts and bikes. They’ve already learned it’s a lot easier to push your gear in a basket than pack it on your back. They know bikes don’t need gas to get them where they’re going. They know where to find free food. They know which restaurants throw out the best scraps. They know how to scavenge items from dumpsters to sell and make money when thrown out by people smarter than they are. They know how to find every clothing donation box in town to keep there “wardrobe” up to date. They know the best areas to avoid the rain and the cold and can make some of the best “expedient type” shelters ever conceived.

I seriously doubt that you could leave the average person in an unfamiliar part of town with no I.D., no money, no food, no shelter and no transportation without them having serious difficulties surviving the night.

According to the National Law Center on Homelessness and Poverty, there are an estimated 5 million homeless people in the United States. Rural homeless people only account for about 9% of this total. That leaves approximately 4.5 million people who may be looking for greener pastures. Those greener pastures may be in your area.

This is probably just another sign of the times and how many things are going to change. The best thing is to observe what’s happening where you are at. It will probably give you a better perspective than the national news media about what’s really happening in your area. I just hate to think about the effects of a few million homeless people deciding that city life may not be right for them anymore.

You can check some statistics on homeless people here:

Coming soon to an area near you...a few million homeless people?

(*Edit*) Here's a link provided by a reader in the comments section:

Survival Guide to Homelessness

Staying above the water line!



Anonymous said...

I haven't noticed any major difference in homeless numbers down here - we usually get a small influx, due to south Texas winter climate. We will keep eyes peeled though - very good points made above - Thank You Riverwalker.

A link to blog web site for homeless person living techniques. Lots of interesting advice and articles here - look around.

Thank You Vlad for teaching me this trick!

Anonymous said...

I live in a rural and recreational area of Wisconsin. By Recreational I mean there are lots of small lakes and streams and therefore cabins and backwoods retreats, It is why we moved here 30 years ago. What I am seeing is that some people who have lost thier homes in the cities are moving into Dads or grampas, paid for cabin at the lake. Oh and by the way they have not lost thier arrogent yuppie attitudes, just thier house in the city.

The problem is that most of cabins are not 4 season homes and are going to be hard to heat this winter, It is 0 here this morning. I and my close group of friends all heat with wood that we have laboriously stored up in advance for about 5 years or so. This means for instance that I have about 100 face cords stored on the property. Now most of the cabins do have quaint little fireplaces. Which means these displaced yuppies think they can steal our firewood for themselves. Not buy mind you, steal. They are entitled you know, just ask them.

Hunting season was especially busy with guns shots this year, not so many deer killed but lots of shooting.

I think Rawles golden hordes are slowly moving out of the city and slowly moving to the rural areas already. My group of friends and I are going to have a discussion about road blocks and barracades today. See the Survival Acres post from yesterday.

Carl In Wisconsin

Panhandle Tex said...

As Carl In Wisconsin mentioned, not all "homeless" are homeless, if you sones children looses their job and/or home and moves back in with their parenents or siblings or even friends they are considered homeless. You pack more clout and get more money in DC if you have represent a larger group.

Panhandle Tex

riverwalker said...

To: anonymous #1

Thanks for the link. Will edit post to include this. Thanks.


riverwalker said...

To: carl in wisconsin

Saw the survival acres post. As homeless numbers increase due to the economy and housing crunch, there could be some real problems as far as crime and the ability of smaller towns to maintain adequate resources for what could be a huge influx of people.

Without the additional tax revenues to support them when they take advantage of medical and other resources, etc. and the need for additional law enforcement, we could see some real problems develop.


riverwalker said...

To: Panhandle Tex

I too am seeing lots of kids moving back to the family home in my area. As times get tougher, this will probably increase on a significant level. Thanks.


Sneaux said...

I wonder if it's homeless people fleeing the city, or just more rural people finding themselves without a home. In my neck of the woods, we have more homeless people in summer. They seem to leave in the winter and migrate to warmer regions. Then come the warm end of spring they re-appear.

riverwalker said...

To: sneaux

We've got a lot of what we call snowbirds that winter here and in the summer leave to go back north.
We're seeing some though that are having problems due to drops in vaue of their retirement funds and 401(k)'s. Some may eventually decide to just stay permanently.


scoutinlife said...

In the rural are I live in not any homeless currently the live in the area but I've seen those travel through more so on bikes with the sleeping bag an gear! Interesting post as well River..

knight_308 said...

The above is a good read on surviving as a homeless individual, too.

knight_308 said...

Bah, sorry, I thought it was still available for free. If you search around you might be able to find it.

The link I posted leads to a $5 download. I'm not sure it's worth that.

riverwalker said...

To: scoutinlife



riverwalker said...

To knight_308

Will check it out and see what's available. Thanks.


riverwalker said...

To: knight_308

Checked out several different sources. Yep, it's $5 everywhere.


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