One day I took sandwiches to a group of homeless men outside of the bus station and one of the employees walked by and commented "don't feed them, they will just come back" He made it sound like I was feeding stray dogs not people. .[/quote:1550c910a1]
I hear that sentiment a LOT out here in California, it's even used half-jokingly by the land-owner here. He's taken in "strays" or "stray cats" and except for me, it's never worked out. A good friend of his is always taking in "strays" and they NEVER work out for him. I'm the only "stray" that's been worth having around.
The frustrating thing is that a lot of people who are homeless don't have anything wrong with them, but a lot DO. In my own case I'm in my late 40s and can't do the heavy physical work I could in my 20s or I'd be out picking fruit all day. And, since I lost my business and all that, I'm REALLY leery of "on the books" work. So I appear to be very work-shy. This is OK with the land-owner here since he's a survivalist nut like I am, and we both anticipate when there's even less formal work than there is now. So I'm work-shy: Unlike others who are work-shy, I don't expect anyone to pull my wagon for me, I just arrange my life so I don't need to spend much, and get by on what work I can find. The last "strays" he had in here, in this very hooch in fact, were work-shy but expected him to feed them, keep the place heated with space heaters, etc. They probably cost the land-owner $1000 a month! Expensive pets! I'm more like a good dog. I eat a little, but more than pay for it by usefulness.
So everyone, it seems, has these horror stories about homeless folks they've tried to help. Take someone like me, oldish, sore-backed, work-shy, add in maybe alcoholism, a weed habit, cigs for sure, traumatized, maybe a kid or three in tow or a felony conviction, maybe hiding out from child-support payments and can't get a job because they're garnishable. This is what most "stray cats" will bring to the table.
Using the term "strays" or "stray cats" IS kind of cruel, but the parallels are amazing. And as KaBar has noted, how can you take people who've grown up thinking they're entitled and teach 'em to keep a clean camp, pull their weight, be useful? Most haven't worked with their hands in their lives.