Nothing Is Free, Especially for Homeless People

hostile architecture, can't even sit for free

It’s been said over and over again that we won’t solve homelessness until people in need of housing are seen as human beings first. I agree, of course. But I also know this will never happen in America and probably most of the world.

I have seen people turn their backs on their own family without a second thought. Those kinds of people aren’t going to lay awake at night thinking about all the strangers forced to be on the street or people forced to sleep and live in their car, who are praying they don’t lose their vehicle and end up on the street.

They say America is a “free” country, but that depends on how you define “free.” As I see it, nothing is free. You’re not even free to park in a quiet lot at night and rest your head without worrying about police knocking on your window.

It’s an empty lot with no one there, not even birds. It’s an empty lot, and you are only one vehicle, and your presence isn’t impeding on any shopper’s right to a parking space. You aren’t causing trouble; the surveillance cameras record your vehicle the whole time. Yet, it’s apparently a calamity for you to park in their precious empty lot!

It doesn’t just end at that. You also aren’t supposed to park on a public street or a public lot either! There are fewer places where a homeless person can park safely, and I feel especially sorry for the vehicle dwellers who work regular jobs and have to sleep on a set schedule.

It’s a “free” country, but you aren’t free to camp in a public park.

Even a state park requires identification and a fee to park overnight. So it’s not a cost-free solution for vehicle dwellers. Not to mention that if you pay $35 (give or take, as I assume the cost is different in each state) a night to stay at the local state park here, you are paying to listen to a ruckus of animals, and I don’t mean the ones with four legs!

I can’t imagine why anyone would go through the trouble of coming out to nature to go camping just to bring a TV and loud sound system with them! One night, security came to the same party three times to get them to stop until finally the police had to come. So, no, even the state park isn’t a solution for a peaceful night’s rest.

On the public streets, you aren’t supposed to have a tent; you can’t sleep on a park bench or public grass. They put new benches in parks with dividers so the bench is unusable to lay across. You can’t sleep in a subway car, and you can’t sleep pretty much anywhere without the risk of getting picked up for loitering. There’s nowhere to go.

Nothing is free here, not even the water.

What if you don’t have money for bottled water? Public fountains are few and far between; who knows what’s in that water. It’s treated with various chemicals and delivered through pipes that might be very old and contain lead. New York City is still testing for lead at their 3500-plus public fountains. Their map shows that most of them are tested and lead-free, but this doesn’t discuss other contaminants.

What if you don’t live in one of the five boroughs? Offhand, I can only think of two places where I could find a public drinking fountain in my area upstate.

Food, water, air, and shelter are the four basic needs of any living creature.

Of that list, the only thing left that is generally not charged for is air, but you can bet they are working on how to do that. Have you heard of “oxygen bars”? You pay upwards of $60 US an hour for 90 to 95% oxygen. 

However, I imagine there will be an air tax paid by every person soon with the excuse it will fund efforts to reach the carbon emissions goals or clean up pollution. Of course, if that tax came to pass, it would just line the pockets of wealthy, greedy, corrupt politicians. The same people who sit by and do nothing while other human beings die on the streets without housing.

Food prices have been relatively steady the past month or so, but most products are way too expensive now. Homeowners pay water tax and often still have to go out and purchase water because the water delivered to their homes isn’t safe to drink. How many millions of plastic bottles are polluting this planet because of this?

Oh, and you’re not allowed to collect rainwater in many states (no free water for you!), not that rainwater is safe. There’s a reason it’s called “acid rain,” according to

“Rainfall made sufficiently acidic by atmospheric pollution that it causes environmental harm, typically to forests and lakes. The main cause is the industrial burning of coal and other fossil fuels, the waste gases from which contain sulfur and nitrogen oxides, which combine with atmospheric water to form acids.”

Then again, water in plastic is also tainted with chemicals from plastic leaching! Water on planet Earth isn’t safe and isn’t free. Greedy corporations pollute it, bottle it, sell it, profit off it, and don’t seem to care about the environmental impact.

Shelter is unattainable for more and more people today.

You would have to travel back thousands of years into the past to a time when there was no such thing as one human owning the land and multiple humans paying that one to live upon it. Tribes all over the planet lived in communities where everyone built dwellings together and lived in a way that supported the whole group.

Its often been said that the working theory of why homo sapiens are the sole survivors (for now) out of all the other hominins who’ve ever existed is because homo sapiens cooperated and worked as a group better than other hominins.

Honestly, I don’t believe that homo sapiens did it better. I think homo erectus was equally as good at it to have survived for over 2 million years, which is so much longer than homo sapiens at only 200,000 – 400,000 years, depending on who you ask.

If cooperation allowed all species of hominins to flourish and survive, it is a lost skill. The new way of greed and selfishness will be the final undoing because if there is one thing modern man is not, it is cooperative with each other or nature.

Homeless Loki

Homeless Loki


Homeless Loki is a disabled homeless person also on the autism spectrum currently homeless in upstate New York

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