Living in Southern California where the weather is pretty nice nearly all year long, we have our issues with “homeless”.  It’s an interesting dilemma as I think the homeless can be broken out into three major buckets: A) Mentally ill, B) Addicts/Alcoholics (probably a sub classification of “A”), and C) those that are down due to unemployment and genuinely can’t secure employment and somehow, even after years of contributing, seem to have fallen through the cracks.  I’m no expert in this area, but have worked with the ‘alcoholic/addict’ variety quite a bit over the years and have seen many incredible transformations once the cycle of addiction is broken.  Tonight, as the kids and I were driving home from their youth group, we passed by this ‘tent city’ under the 405 freeway overpass on Venice Blvd.  What I found interesting was the couple that was sitting in front of their tent, with the wheelchair next to them, were sharing a beer and just hanging out.  There are many that would rather get off the grid and live the nomadic life.  We lump this into “homelessness”, but is it really?  These guys seemed like they were Urban Camping, a community, language, and way of life unto themselves; hustling day by day to get enough through the day.  Passing by was definitely interesting, one tent had a nice leather chair out front, perhaps their porch?  Anyway, I’m always fascinated by the juxtaposition of the “homeless” against businesses and society as a whole.  I’m also thinking that we can’t blanket the term ‘homeless’ to all of those living off the grid, on the streets, panhandling. Some are, and need all of the help and support that we as a society can give to provide dignity and a ‘hand up’, whether education, retraining, temporary housing, rehab for those that want it (I find that those who need it, often can’t be helped until they actually want it), and for those that would rather be urban camping, I say enjoy!  I personally love the mountains for that, but to each his own! 🙂  And Southern California, especially Venice Beach and “Our People’s Republic of Santa Monica” aren’t too shabby of places as our laws seem liberal to this way of life.

Shot with Canon 5D3, 50mm f1/2L @ f/2.8, ISO 6400, 1/100″

Day 80 - Homeless Venice-0001

5 thoughts on “Day 80 – Urban Camping?

  1. Hi there, I just reblogged your post. I myself live outside year round and yet would not consider myself homeless. I was pleasantly surprised by your insights regarding the homeless community and those who don’t quite fit in this category. We are nomads, hobos, vagabonds, urban campers, bohemians, hippies, housefree, houseless, van dwellers, travelers, etc., who live a different lifestyle, often by choice.

    1. Thank you! I think sometimes we tend to see with our eyes, not our hearts, and tend to interpret what we “see” and don’t understand. We lump into one category and ‘take pity’. When, ironically enough, often times it’s those that are holed up in their ‘castles’ that should be pitied, living in self induced slavery to “the American Dream” thinking they are free, when in reality, fears of not getting what they want, or losing what they have, dominant their choices. That’s certainly not freedom! There’s freedom in being unencumbered, whether rooted in a structure or roaming the earth. My 2 cents! 🙂

  2. There’s nothing strange about long-term homeless people trying to carve a quality existence out of their situation. In fact, it’s the natural thing for human beings to adapt and make the most of circumstance.

    What is abnormal, I think, are the hundreds of thousands of chronically homeless people across the industrialized world who are prevented from finding any kind of daily equilibrium and are kept living a temporary existence year after year by laws that criminalize their existence on the fringes.

    Perhaps if the Magna Carta had put something besides property rights at the heart of Western civilization, then “homeness” wouldn’t be the means test that it has become for worthiness in Western society. Efforts to lump together all the disparate people with no fixed address are simply synonymous with calling them failures.

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