A Voice for the Houseless: Insults Don’t Help

tent homeless laundry camping

Raelee Childers, houseless and with a substance abuse problem, is writing a sometimes column for us. She says she hopes to open the hearts and minds of those that are so quick to judge a book by its cover. Comments will be monitored for civility towards the author as well as other commenters. Disagreements are fine. Personal attacks are not.

Time and time again when looking through the articles that get posted either on the Lost Coast Outpost or the Redheaded Blackbelt, I casually glance at the comments from people in the community. Now, I’ve noticed that usually, it doesn’t matter what the article is about, there is always someone commenting about some “tweaker” or saying whatever the problem is, its because of the homeless people.

First off, I am houseless not homeless. “Home is where the heart is”, correct?  Well, let me ask you now, where is your heart at?

The things that we teach our children are things like “If you don’t have something nice to say don’t say it at all” or even “Don’t judge a book by its cover.” Yet, here I am seeing those things being said by the adults that are teaching their children those things not to do. I’m disgusted by the continuous put-downs, insults, the name calling and also people playing the blame game. Mainly blaming the people that aren’t going to stand up and defend themselves, because what’s the point? It’s not going to change anything.

We are the ones who people look down on because we don’t have a job or fancy car or four walls and a roof over our head. Despite those things, we are no different than a judge sitting in a courtroom or even the Police Officers that are supposed to be there to protect the people and keep peace between the people within the community as a whole not just who they choose to protect and serve.

So what if I don’t have a house or job or car or even a 401k. That doesn’t mean I’m not human also or that I don’t have a heart that does hurt from reading these comments. I mean, come on, people. Grow up here. Are we still in grade school or high school? Because that’s how some of you are acting like children. Why are so many people in this community so hateful to the less fortunate? You may think that we live such an easy life and there should be no free ride per se but you’re wrong. Every day it’s a struggle or fight to even survive in this world we live in today. When it rains, we don’t have a place where we can go to get warm and dry or just sleep. Believe me it’s not as easy as you think it is. I’ve tried to go get a job to get myself out of the situation but yet how can I do that when I’m constantly worrying about the police throwing away my belongings or my blankets or my clothes or even my paperwork.  Important things that could possibly help me in getting a job or place to live.

And yes, I do have a substance abuse problem with methamphetamines but does that mean that I don’t have feelings, too? so when you label me as a tweaker just know that it does hurt just like when I was in school growing up being called names all the time. It’s no different now as it was back then. I’m hoping in writing a few columns for Kym Kemp that I may be able to open the eyes of people in this community and who knows it may help in solving the homeless problem that there is in this County.

Thank you for hearing what I have to say, until next time…..




  • hey they have free buses on the weekends now until january i think. i was just wondering if anybody knew who was providing this (

    • We, you and me, are the source of all currency. Labeling our labor and worth as external useages – well, there you have it. Programmed master slave mind-set duality. We haven’t lost our rights. They haven’t been taken. We surrendered them. If we want something we’ve never had, we’re going to have to do something we’ve never done . . .unite and stand as a living, breathing, in-the-flesh, female or male, being of Mother Nature.

      OR – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ye2N_2ce3QE Leadbelly – The Gallows Pole. Washington D.C., 23 August 1940. 4:29

      They will ride us for all we’re worth while crouching behind the collapsed corporate, “Transparent” veil . . .until we’ve had enough fiction.

      Aren’t we done playing with dead things?

      –i don’t mean to be off-key here an in no disrespect for the seriousness of the situation. It’s danged cold out there!

    • In Germany, they have made homesteads for the homeless. Private companies bought private land in or near large cities. They have made them as self sufficient as possible. They help people get off drugs, and find out what they can do. They never have to leave, and are sheltered, warm and fed, most of their food coming from gardens, dairies, and grain-cereal plots. They have mini factories, like wood shops, metal, and electronics among others.
      Those people who cannot compete in regular life, like maintaining a house and a job, and insurance, and everything else, should have a situation to go to where they do not have to live under so much pressure. If they can only work 4 hours, so what? In Germany, a person may only “work” 4 hours, but then they can go over to the garden, or dairy, and help out there. If they cannot “work”, they are still protected and warm and fed.
      I remember being in public high school, and realizing what level of the caste society I belonged. It was not at the top. At my economic level, I knew some girls were off limits, and certain universities, and that was it. Not going to Harvard, that’s for sure. But I did get a BA from a state university, and still use it today.
      People do drugs to change the way they feel, about themselves, their lives, their existence. The Germans are trying to give them a chance to exist in an environment that helps them begin to feel good about themselves without drugs. To find that which they were made to be.
      So, here is a challenge to all those billionaires and multi millionaires; instead of wasting all your millions on political adds, you help the homeless by building some real homesteads for the house less, and do something good with your money, not waste it on some thing that does nothing. Those who saw your adds either agreed or disagreed, but no one was changed. And keep the govt out of it. The homeless are valuable, and talented. The only problem they have is being crushed by the obscene cost of housing, transportation, and just regular existence that most find easy to deal with. Not to mention taxes imposed by greedy office holders. Tom Steyer and the Koch brothers, you are on notice.

  • I have no issue with anyone who is homeless, or on drugs AS LONG AS THEY DON’T RIP ME OFF (OR STEAL FROM BUSINESSES). What I do have a problem wit h is those numerous zombies that walk out in front of vehicles, or leave piles of garbage laying around, or sit on the sidewalks, etc. Then I will likely say some very unkind words.

  • If an individual spends their time, energy, and money to feed an addiction, they shouldn’t be surprised if others lack sympathy and call their behavior out for what it is.

    In short, if you don’t want to be called a tweaker (or junky, or drunk), stop being one. As an added benefit, the rest of your life will almost certainly start improving as soon as you make that change.

    • Wow, you just made the point for them. What does it cost to have some empathy? There but for the grace of God go I. How many of us may have ended up in similar circumstances without help from a family member or friend when we were down on our luck? Many years ago, I was between jobs and couldn’t make my house payment. My grandmother gave me $500 and saved me for a month until I found another job. Before making judgmental comments, think back in your life to the times when you may have been fortunate enough to have a safety net in hard times and be grateful. Maybe even pay it forward.👼

      • You can’t have freedom without personal responsibility.

        When someone chooses to feed their addiction, they have only themself to blame for the consequences. I’ve yet to see anyone forced to hit the bulby pipe or take the spike.

        And btw, I have insulted no one. Coddling addicts doesn’t help anyone.

        • hopefully you don’t ever have any problems and need help.

          • Self inflicted problem, and easy to fix! Stop doing drugs and yes it is that easy…. Been there and done that probably harder that most these self pitting fools… Stop the drugs and you will get off the streets.. You have no home by choice…..

            • I have found that most commenters have no idea what they are talking about when it comes to local social problems. most of these mentally ill homeless went from meds to self meds after being dumped or evicted by their families. it is easier to get street meds that to wait for an appointment at the R street facility. the bigger problem is that their meds get stolen after being filled anyways.

            • Just stop using the drugs, eh???!!! As IF it’s just that easy to stop, when you’re addicted to a substance!!! It takes a gradual withdrawal, from said substance as well as counseling & support so they don’t go right back to using once they get clean!!!!

          • if i do have problems it wont be from meth.

          • Part of be responsible is creating your own back ups in case of a problem. Lose a job? Then hopefully you have treated your relatives well so they are not afraid to help you when you need a place to stay. This is not “good fortune” falling out of the sky. It is being responsible.

            On the other hand, , you can escalate your drug use, steal from one family member or friend after another until, out of self preservation they won’t have anything to do with you.

            There may be people who never have a problem thrown in their way and live charmed lives. They would be as common as those who are at the other end of the spectrum who have real huge misfortune after another strike them out of the blue. The vast majority of people have the same problems, maybe less because they choose not to create them, minor to major, as their life’s lot. The same problems. It’s what they do about it that is the difference.

        • I remember a friend that worked in LA. She told me of someone in her family that spent a few months every year, homefree. Not Sure what that specific person’s goal was, but it did seem like a good idea.

          It’s a tough world out there. I think most people would have a better perspective if , let’s say, they had to be homeless for a year, befire going to college or maybe graduate school. This would be a grest way of making sure that everyone has the ability to see from the perspective of the street. It is just a thought.

      • You can have empathy for someone’s situation without enabling the self destructive behavior that put them there. It’s called “tough love.”

      • taking drugs and alcohol are in no way going to improve your situation in life. it isn’t rocket science, it’s about choices and consequences of choices made. and instead of empathy, stop enabling such foolishness and have some expectations of your fellow humans. i for one am tired of the hustle to accept homelessness as an alternative lifestyle. have some respect and worthwhile goals

      • Most people do have empathy, they just realize that enabling will cause more suffering in the long run.

      • I think ‘stars’ is saying there is a difference between the druggy homeless, who we have no patience for, and the truly ‘caught in bad circumstances’ homeless who deserve at least a little help from society, at least in my opinion.
        I’m very, very exhausted by the crazy and drug addled people wandering the streets around here, and something needs to be done, mainly in the area of mental health. The truly homeless folks out there that are having a hard time making ends meet because of economic hard times, I’m all for helping out. And I do.

    • Global self-extermination is the answered on the path no turning back now

  • Life choices…… I don’t look down on the houseless. I look down on addicts and people who would rather live off free handouts and goverment funding than actually try and contribute to society. social parasites are the problem, not people being temporarily down on there luck

    • It makes no rational sense that people choose to live a brutal life with no roof over their head. It only takes being ‘temporarily’ down on your luck to get caught in a permanent cycle where you can’t get a job because you can’t get clean/dry/safe and you can’t get those things because you don’t have a job, and being treated like garbage by people like you takes a huge toll on how able and functional people are. If you want to call people parasites, try people living off generational wealth and paying slick accountants to help them skip out on their taxes. They at least can laugh at your jibes from their 5th home.

      • funny how a druggie or alcoholic can always find excuses to continue using but can’t use the same energy to get clean. stop with the putdown of enabling and having no solutions to these destructive choices

      • Hmmmm smells like capitalism.

    • social parasites. And all this time i’ve been at the criminal parasite’s necks in 825 Fifth street.

    • The same people that talk about” life choices” wanna choose for you what happens in your uterus

  • Get a job there are plenty out there…

  • Thank you for sharing Raelee.

  • Out of curiosity I looked up what percent of homeless are addicts, results vary considerably but most of them put it around 50 percent or less, I found that surprising. I had a ex cop tell me once that he spent 95 percent of his time dealing with the bottom 5 percent of society and sometimes he found it hard not to let his opinion of the bottom 5 percent spew over onto everyone else. Seems relevant to this, when your interactions with homeless people are with the ones who are defecating on your shops doorstep or leaving used needles where your child has access to them or robbing your house or car it, I feel like they have earned the negative labeling but that probably is the 5 percent of homeless people. “You can’t judge the many by the actions of a few.”

    • So true. Each person is an individual. Not all homeless people participate in criminal activity. Innocent until proven guilty? Would any of us want to be accused of something our neighbor did just because we live in the same neighborhood? There is good and bad in all levels of society, including the streets.

  • Exercise some personal responsibility.
    Society has a safety net for folks who have fallen on hard times.
    We don’t care, or have patience for people’s self made miserable situations.
    Life is hard.
    Give a man a fish….
    He’ll ask for more tomorrow….

  • 6000 people are evicted from their homes every day in america.
    Not all of these people are junkies or tweakers. Many are ill, or have lost jobs. Or their rent has been raised or their rental home turned into an air b & b.
    Judge not, lest ye yourself be judged. There but for the grace of god go YOU.

    • God helps those who help themselves. Not once did Raelee mention seeking/wanting treatment for the meth addiction that’s most likely causing her homelessness and inability to get a job. Instead, she’s playing the victim and throwing herself a pity party. Bottom line – You reap what you sow.

      • that’s not what the bible says.

        • Regardless of what’s printed in the bible, my statement stands. Why should we help people who aren’t willing to help themselves?

          • what about if they are not capable of helping themselves, should we help them then. go spend the holiday sleeping in one of the brick alcoves on 2nd and get back to me on Monday with your findings. 420 my ass.

            • But we’re not talking about someone who isn’t capable of helping herself. We’re talking about Raelee. If she can write a “poor me” Op-Ed, she’s quite capable of asking for treatment for her addiction. Help is available for those who actually want it. Perhaps you should invite her to sleep in your home for the holiday and get back to me on Monday.

        • Galatians 6:7 – Do not be deceived: God is not mocked, for whatever one sows, that will he also reap.

          God helps those who help themselves is not biblical. It appears prior to Christ’s birth as a commonly held aphorism.

        • It says eye for an eye..

          • “An eye for an eye makes the whole world blind.” ~Gandhi

            It’s probably like “turn the other cheek.” misunderstood. idk.

            And some verses leave no room for interpretation;

            God is quite clear about walking in the ordinance of the heathen and renounces those who do.
            -Basic Instructions Before Leaving Earth (BIBLE), Leviticus 18: 3-4.

            • an eye for an eye does not make the WHOLE world blind. come on think people. just the people who are offended and those who did the offense. not punishing someone is not a good answer, try not punishing your children and let me know how that turns out

              • Punishing , like, go stand in the corner for x amount of time, by yourself, is one thing.

                Eye for an eye blinding, is quite another.

                “Even if you are a minority of one, the truth is the truth.” – Mahatma Gandhi

      • Very true, Four20Girl, very true.
        There is a particular story in the bible that bugged me for years, until I finally understood the message.
        Being a healer, people of all classes were asking Jesus for his healing grace, and because they had strong faith, they were instantly healed when he granted them permission to touch his cloak.
        A gal saw what was happening and with knowledgeable “faith”, she reached out without asking and ‘took’ the healing that she knew without doubt Jesus was able to provide.
        Oh boy oh boy did Jesus lose his temper!
        That gal got quite a scolding. I was like “say what?”, because, after all, did she or did she not have ‘faith’ that touching him would heal her.
        Then I learned more about the story.
        She had abused him by stealing from him.
        She stole. She took. She did not ask HIM to heal her, she instead asked her SELF to reach out and grab some of that healing power.

        There’s the in general knowing something and then there’s the genuine ‘knowing’ of something.
        In all his lessons, the ask, seek, knock is the one that is most taken for granted and it is also the most important step out of all of them to take.
        Taking is not the same as receiving.

        The first thing we need to do, is to help our ‘self’ tune in to the higher power that silences our hasty, greedy, arrogant worldly power.
        God helps those who help themselves.

    • or maybe their priorities weren’t conducive to keeping a roof over their heads

      • yes, poor priorities are the root of all evil. let them bad priority making people all eat cake or whatever they can rustle up from a dumpster or food bank. they do not mean any thing to the rest of us good priority makers.

        it also helps if your mommy and daddy are not poor as poop. even better if they are rich or at least middle class.

        • Regardless of how much money your parents have, if your priority is meth, chances are you’re going to end up eating out of a dumpster. Life is about choices. When you repeatedly make poor choices, you shouldn’t be surprised when your life ends up in the gutter.

        • always with the excuses….

    • So what…they made the choice to do the drugs,live the free lifestyle, they don’t care who they RIP off. A couple of years ago I parked my pickup next to the shop that was working on my other car. I drove the other car home only to come back and find that my truck,and four other cars had the passenger side mirror ripped off so that someone could snort dope off of it. They have it the way they want it. We had had enough after living in Humboldt for well over fifty years we left that shithole.

  • Thank you for writing this Raelee. Please write more. I think one reason why people tend to be so cruel to the houseless is fear. We know we are a paycheck or two away from being dispossessed. If we (the housed) can show how different we are, then it is easier to believe nothing like this could ever happen to us. We want to believe if we work hard, we will always have work, and if we always have work, we will always be housed. This makes it easier to forget about people who got sick, or needed temporary help and didn’t get that help, so they lost everything.

  • “They” (statisticians?) note that most Americans are little more than one paycheck away from losing their housing (“living from paycheck to paycheck”)… Can you imagine the stress of living that way month after month, year after year? “Self-medicating” (legal and illicit drug consumption) typically is due to terrible life stresses, such as income and even food insecurity, domestic violence, discrimination, etc., NOT the other way around. Those that have like to think that they earned it, not that they were lucky; if they realized they too could fall through the huge gaps in the social safety net, they too would be prone to self-medication! I encourage all who care to volunteer at an NGO that serves those that have fallen to ground: the Betty Chinn Center, Food for People, Food not Bombs, etc. There they will gain the insight into see that the most impoverished and marginalized are people too, and deserving not just of tolerance, but assistance and empathy.

    • If most Americans are one paycheck away from homelessness, then they do live with the “stress” of that continuously. However most also seem to manage not to go over the edge into living on the streets. Even in the Great Depression, most people remained both employed and having shelter. Sometimes it took a lot of juggling and a lot of doing without but people coped outside of really devastated areas like those in drought stricken farm land. And that should be respected because with such people grinding away at taking care of themselves, there would be no one to take care of those who don’t.

      Luck plays a small part in keeping afloat- anyone can be hit hard with a major illness for example- but the reality is that hard work is the usual factor. Getting up each morning and going to work whether you feel like it or not. Don’t piss off the boss on a regular basis. Get into financial trouble? Work after regular work. Lose your car? Walk, take a bus or pay a someone for a lift. Or even choose to live close to work even if you can afford a better place farther out.

      I get so tired of people insisting that others are so lucky as to work like a dog to take care of themselves. I know some people think that is magical and they have endless excuses for not doing it themselves but the reality is much less soap opera-y than the stories they tell. They need to be taken with the view that rarely are what they consider reasons for their difficulties not problems that everyone has. Usually it is a long series of poor judgement calls that get them there even if they don’t see it that way.

      With that dose of reality, helping someone has a much better chance of success. Most because success becomes less fanciful. People who haven’t coped are usually not insightful as to why they fail. And they may like soothing words but that does not really help. Feed the hungry without expecting much. Provide mental health care without expecting miracles. Addiction treatment many times with few successes. Patience, almost endless patience, with screw ups will be required but it is in the hands of the person needed help as to whether their situation improves or not.

  • Where’s the blurb that shows empathy for the angry ones who’ve been robbed, assaulted, harassed, and made to feel helpless as their own loved ones chose the life of drugs instead of the life with them without drugs?
    Where’s the blurb that shows apologies to community members who are forced to pay for those who hate them so much that they’d rather do drugs than be a part of the community?
    Where’s the blurb that shows sympathy to those whose hearts have calloused after their own loved ones betrayed them by robbing them, assaulting them, blaming them, hating them, and worse yet who OD’d?
    Your points are valid to you, but they lack any sort of perspective for those who’ve been so hurt they’ll never bounce back wholly.
    Drugs are a choice, a bad choice to those who know through experiences they’d rather not talk about. While on the other hand, drugs are a fun choice to those who just don’t take the time to grasp what all the warnings are about.
    Some people have never known love, or kindness, this is true. But choosing a life of drugs as their one true BFF doesn’t exactly pave the way to find kindness or true love.
    Unless you’re willing to see both sides of the coin, I don’t think your ‘blame others for all my woes” articles are going to come off very well.
    Show some empathy.

  • “We are the ones who people look down on because we don’t have a job or fancy car or four walls and a roof over our head”.

    This is not the component of society that others look down on, and you know it. Making that statement is a gross oversimplification.

    Most people are caring and good and want to help others who are less fortunate – for proof, look at the outpouring of support in terms of cash, time, labor, and sharing of homes at the Camp Fire and other natural disasters.

    At the same time, most people are fed up with the thefts, drug use, litter, destruction of natural resources, chronic blight, and drain on our public safety (fire, EMS, police) resources that the drug addicted homeless bring to the area.

    I would wager that if a fellow was homeless but kept a neat campsite, didn’t commit crimes and was as productive as he could be without being a drain on resources, that fellow would not only be tolerated but would be accepted and would eventually get out of his situation and would do well.

  • There, but for the grace of God, go I.

  • Leaving aside attitudes toward the houseless, the pursuit of relief from consciousness of it is NO way toward a better life. If you are unwilling to lose the meth, HOW are you going to find ways to improve your life? Write letters telling us you’re still human? We shouldn’t be mean because you’re still human?

    People are usually mean out of fear, whether or not you’re personally anyone to fear. They’re afraid of losing their own houses. They’re afraid of the crime. They are demoralized by the squalor and the way it forces up oceans of pity when they are working so hard for every scrap they have already. They feel helpless and it makes them resent you, or just generally more resentful.

    I don’t know anyone who won’t try to help anyone who is trying to get off the streets, and the FIRST requirement for that is getting clean. You don’t get to keep running from fully conscious human trying to get off the streets and expect everyone else to bear it with grace. That’s an extremely insensitive attitude.

    Do something about your own resentment and insensitivity toward others. Quit wussing out and feeding your addiction. It’s NOT “understandable”. It’s just destructive. When you are clean, you can do a better job of being an asset to your community, house or no house.

  • Internet commentrary doesn’t represent the real world at all. Stay warm this winter, be kind to animals, enjoy your time on this crazy planet!

  • “We are the ones who people look down on because we don’t have a job or fancy car or four walls and a roof over our head”

    Those are not the reason that people look down on the homeless. It’s not that you aren’t financially success enough for others taste. Its that, these days, in this area, people associate homelessness with criminality. And it’s hard to argue that they are wrong in doing so.

    I bet if you get off the meth, the security of your belongings wont seem like such a valid excuse for failing to find work.

  • Raelee Childers,
    You are houseless and I am proud of you for owning this designation.

    It seems you turning the tables on normal conventions. I have to ask, am I supposed to feel sorry for you?
    I won’t say anything hurtful because your lifestyle choice isn’t any of my business, wouldn’t you agree?
    Have a fun life, and I hope you live to be a ripe old age.

  • If you are a Methamphetamine user, at some point in time, you made a choice.

    If you are miserable or bereft, choose to get out!

    It’s interesting that you ask for tolerance, sitting there with a smartphone or a computer, perhaps in the library, or at Starbucks, or wherever homeless people connect at someone else’s expense, tapping out a message designed to excuse your own [edit]lifestyle, and to illustrate the fact that you feel that everyone else should somehow compensate for your choices,!

    I submit that you can change the circumstances of your existence, and you well know this! You are not a stupid person, you just have made bad choices, and have made a poor selection of associates.

    Take responsibility for one or two things:

    1) Life is not a movie, you are not just watching. You can rewrite the script for your life.
    2) Many entities, dedicated to helping you recover your life, exist. You know this!
    3) Nobody will make your choices for you. No one will manage your life. YOU have to want to change, and YOU have to make these things happen.
    4) If you do nothing else, get to AA, NA, church, Mental Health: get started on your new life!
    5) If you lie in the gutter, intoxicated, babbling drug addict nonsense, nobody will care. The social cost of your condition will make some people pretty disgusted, so don’t think that your pleas for tolerance will be effective!
    6) You expend energy in order to maintain your sad lifestyle. You have to get up and do whatever to get your fix! Why not spend some of the energy you waste, by chasing your drug of choice, and spend that energy on your recovery!
    7) You are not stupid. Wake up! In the last 8 years I have seen many people die from drug use, Hepatitis C, HIV, diabetes, heart disease, and on and on. Life is short! If you want to do drugs until you die, you WILL get your wish!
    Smoking, shooting up, snorting that shit, it kills you slowly, but it WILL kill you, in horrible ways. Get help!

    As always, I recommend Duffy’s Napa, St Helena Hospital, and the Native American Center, Tule River, Porterville.

    St Helena Hospital Recovery Center takes some “pro bono” cases, but you have to ask for this! They love tough cases! This place is great, inpatient detox with medical support, the education is priceless, and even the food is good!

    Take the first step! Getting off drugs takes the rest of your life, and it IS unpleasant at first. Getting sober is it’s own reward, and living life is a continuous process of construction. It’s work!

    Death is easy! It’s life that’s hard. Get help by helping yourself!

    If you can’t get what you need in Humboldt County, leave it!

  • we no longer live in a world where we can base off of empathy. I will not feel bad for someone who doesnt care to get themselves a nice grounded home in a section 8 housing. No I will not give you my hard earned money while you beg on the corners asking for drug money. We all work hard here, we are all middle class. You should grow up, and get your life together. Thank you for showing my children what happens when you have a substance problem and do not get help. No empathy here. I am a hard working middle class woman fighting to survive too.

  • wow, you were pretty brave to put that out there.

    listen people, she’s asking for help,
    i know you’re all gone to the next thing you can troll or trash
    but why don’t we try to help this one?
    after all she is the only one who put her story out there,
    doesn’t that count for something?
    who’s in?

  • Walked in your shoes

    (One that has walked a mile in your shoes) But…. It is all about who you surround yourself with. Example: I left home at 17 because the one that loved me was dying & the other one resented raising me & beat me. I got with the wrong individual. He was a meth user. I tried it, but realized that if I ever did it again I would be hooked. Never did again. That person began abusing me. I myself made the tough decision to walk away with nothing but the clothes on my back. I was 18, no money & pregnant. I moved to another place far away, got welfare & got my life back on track. Years later my house burned & I lost everything. I lived in a tent for 3 months before finally getting another roof over my head. All this time in a tent, I never turned back to drugs, or associated myself with those type of people. I associated myself with good people, whom once I showed them that I was trustworthy they helped me get back on my feet. Years later I got a new job, then I got hurt, went on prescription meds. After awhile I started to become addicted, but instead of staying on the meds. I made a decision to cold turkey off of them. Later on the doctor put me on another medication that had side affects & I cold turkey off of it. It was a horrible experience, but life is what you make of it, or not. Like all the people that have posted to you. They are all right. It is your decisions that define who you want to be. If you walked into an emergency room today & said I am addicted to drugs & I am going to go off of them cold turkey, they could not turn you away. Yes, it’s going to hurt like hell, but in the long run if you really want the life that all these people have that you are wanting empathy from, than you have to do something for yourself. Don’t ask others to feel empathy, when you got yourself in that situation on your own. Pull up your boot straps & go get help. No one owes you anything & you will gain the respect that you want & desire. When you do this, everything else will fall into place. I am harsh, but I had to do it myself. Wishing you the best of luck! My shoes are next to yours, and that life you desire will be yours in the end if you choose.

    • groba dude trustafarian osnt

      Thanks for your share! Hang in there!

      If one person can get clean, then everyone else has a mentor! The world is full of people struggling with addiction, and who are in recovery. It is possible to live clean!

      Your life will not rebuild itself, and if it fell apart in your teens, you have a lot of relearning to do! Rely on yourself! It will be hard, but it’s worth living clean and sober!

    • The take away was that you chose to walk away from a bad situation at a young age. You earned your strips early. The way we all should learn about keeping our heads focused on stayin on the right track.
      Good on ya!

  • “Why are so many people in this community so hateful to the less fortunate?” – well, I think it’s because the community is worn down from the filth on the streets, the crime, the drugs, and all the rest of the human wreckage we have to endure (and pay for). I personally do have empathy for those that are down and out, and try to help directly. But I have nothing but scorn for the rip-off junkies, thieves, and derelicts that waste their lives and bleed the community in the process. In the end, its about personal responsibility. The harder you work, the luckier you become.

  • What about the people like.me.that have lived outside almost thier whole life and don’t really know any other way we don’t ask for much just to be left alone quit destroying every thing we own do you realize that I have to replace everything just about every month because the police takes it all will lock me up if they catch me sleeping it’s all I can do to keep out of jail for nothing I’ve all ways lived outside so did most of the founders of this country my home is.under the stars can’t stand it inside leave me alone society is killing me that’s who to blame

    • In my 1911 I trust

      If that is your passion, then move to the woods and build a structure far away by a stream. Learn how to build a fire and boil water. Thats the first step. Learn how to set snares and what plants are edible. Pick chanterelles and other mushrooms when they are in season, and berries in the other part of the year. If you live out in nature and become one with it, no one will seek you out. If you are homeless in the city then you aren’t truly under the stars and you will never be left alone.

  • Living in an area with a very large homeless drug addicted population I have lost all empathy. I am sick of seeing discarded used needles in the street, human waste (poop) discarded next to the illegal makeshift campsites they keep rebuilding. The loud fights and arguments or how they loiter in front of business making paying customers not wanna go there.

  • Raelee,

    For your next columns, please consider writing about meth and your relationship to it.

    You characterize yourself as having a substance abuse problem. How did the problem start? What have you done to try to address the problem? What help have you received? Have you asked for help and been refused? Why (do you think)? What harm(s) have been done to you, that you are able to write about? What have you done in response? What things have you not done that you wish you’d done? Why? What thing have you done that you wish you hadn’t? Why? How has your situation affected your family (birth, choice, etc…)? Do you still have a relationship with the people who introduced you to meth? How do you get the cash to buy it?

    And thank you both, Raelee and Kym, for sharing someone’s first-person insights.

  • Dear Raelee,

    I want to say thank you for choosing to be a voice for those who might not otherwise defend themselves, those of us who are houseless, those of us who are dealing with substance abuse issues, those of us who are dealing with mental illness, trauma, and ptsd. I am deeply saddened and troubled by a lot of the commentary I have read here. I don’t understand why there is so much animosity.

    I think that you are very brave for sharing. Opening up dialogue seems like a really good idea. I think that some good people out there could gain a better understanding of the situations folks are dealing with. I hope that you have an abundance of strength and a good support network to handle this. Don’t let the negative people get in the way of the good work you are doing.

    I, for one, will be looking forward to your next article.

    Peace be with you.

  • Maybe you’d like India better, since you seem to think we’re all priveledged yuppies with 401 k’s.
    You may be shocked to realize, childish Childers, that many people don’t care what your story is and aren’t interested in makeing friends. That’s just how many people are, and you can’t browbeat “houseies”, who struggle themselves, into caring about people they don’t know.
    I don’t know where people get this idea that we can sit down and talk about serious issues.
    If you haven’t noticed, Childers, the world is out of control, and nobody is having a easy go of it, and hardly any of us have access to the upper echelons of power, so it doesn’t go over well when street people and college kids try to open our hearts and minds by telling us that we are morality vacant.

  • Ca has a budget surplus of 9 billion.
    Our homeless population is skyrocketing to 1/2 million to date.
    Which party has run the state for the last 10 years?
    Do you honestly think either party cares about the poor and middle class?
    Keep voting for the same “party parrots” and you will not see a change.

  • Simply Wonderful!

    I knew Raelee as a teenager. Unfortunately it doesn’t sound like she ever pulled it together. Sad. Nice enough young lady. But showed no interest in changing her life style then. Sounds like it has continued on to adulthood. I wish you luck Raelee. Opportunities have come your way. Don’t continue to let them pass you by.

  • I enjoyed reading this post. Many houseless people dont choose it. I have almost been in their shoes. California is so expensive to live. If your disabled forget about it. I only have a home thanks to renting from my parents. I try to live on ssi and its a joke. I dont get enough to pay my bills. I oveedraw my bank account every month. I live month to month. Shit is ridiculously expensive. Life is hard and any one of us could be houseless tomorrow. I have compassion for people cause we could be in there shoes next week. People need to remember not everyone chooses to be houseless.

    • You’re in the same boat as many of us who have to work long 16 hr days for the same financial stress. At least you’re home, instead of at jobs you hate, if that’s any consolation.
      Your parents could sell and purchase a home for them and a home for you in another part of the country. https://www.thestreet.com/slideshow/14512382/1/the-cheapest-places-to-retire-in-america.html
      The rest of us are stuck in the muck of stress, with no financial means to escape.
      Maybe we’ll get lucky someday & the people will matter more than the bureaucratic system that has enslaved us all. I’m not holding my breath though.

      • We have to teach the children a better way of doing things. I think the problem is just simply the cost of living. So many things that use to be free are now taxed and require permits, admission fee, auxiliary costs, and the tools don’t last as long as my great grandpas hand tools. Things are changing and it’s simply harder to maintain our humanity when it comes at such a heavy cost of/for our time. Cheers

    • Few choose to be houseless. What most in that situation do is choose behavior for which “houselessness” is a consequence. They want what they want when they want it but reject the idea that what they want has results they don’t want.

      A few actually are that way because of a catastrophe such as the recent fires or serious mental illness but outside of that, it is the result of choices. Until people see that they have a lot more responsibility for results, they will see no need to act to improve them. Those who have found themselves there are not likely to say there were alternatives, some of which may be difficult, that offered a much higher chance of success.

  • Straight to the comments and you guys did not dissapoint 😂

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