Gender Specific Social Welfare Safety Net

Originally posted May 7th, 2009 in the Reverse Engineering Yahoo Group.

The issues of Homelessness and how our Social Welfare system is organized remain as true now as they were in 2009. With the OWS Movement and the Tent Cities that have cropped up in the intervening years, I believe these are even more important questions to consider now.

One of the most interesting aspects of the Homeless situation is the Gender and
Family discrimination issues. If you look at the pictures and the stories in all
the Homeless and Tent City articles, overwhelmingly the people who are relegated
to the tents and the highway overpasses as shelter are single, middle age to
older MEN.

Overwhelmingly, the “Shelters” are dedicated to Women with young children first,
Families Second, Single Women 3rd, with single men taking up the rear here. This
kind of mirrors the “Women and Children First” into the Lifeboat approach to
disaster. Whatever resources there are FIRST go to the women and children, and
the Men go down with the ship, so to speak.

As an older and single male, I APPROVE of this methodology. I would certainly
rather it be myself living in a tent than a woman with young children to take
care of. At the same time however, there is a certain Demonization of the men
who end up homeless and alone like this. Fundamentally, they are FAILURES in
the society, and are CAST OUT. If you are an older and single male, you can
expect if you lose your job and your Pension goes bust, you will be the LAST
person to get sheltered in the coming storm. You will go down first here as a
social failure.

Many of the stories relating to homelessness talk about how the perpetually
homeless are MALE drug abusers and perpetually unemployed. The DREGS of society
so to speak. But which came first here, the Chicken or the Egg? In other
words, did they become homeless because of Drug Addiction, or did Homelessness
engender their Drug addictions? I warrant its the latter that is more often
true.

Thru my life making the choices I did, I several times skirted on the edge of
falling off the map. I was fortunate to have family members who took me in
during times of unemployment. If I had not had that cushion, some of the 3 to 6
month periods I had of unemployment really could have taken me off the map.
There are few social services that support the Single Male, about the only real
Consistent one out there is Prison. And in fact, many men shut out in one way
or another by society actually PREFER prison to trying to make it on their own
after a while. In the past here in our society, overall this provided a warm
bed and 3 square meals a day. Of course NOW, you actually have to FIGHT your
way into Prison, you really gotta do something BAD to get there because it costs
too much nowadays to keep people in prison and so they toss you out onto the
street to fend for yourself unless you are perceived to be a super duper threat
to society. If you will just go Freeze to Death in a Tent somewhere, that is
better and cheaper.

As we descend into this economic nightmare, many families are losing their
homes, and rightly these folks will be the first ones to get assistance from the
Churches dropping them into Tents their Chruch members donate. Soon, the last
harbor for the Single Male, the Tent City will be lost to that class of social
failures. Nowhere left below that really, especially not if prisons aren’t
available as a last refuge.

Not much left to hope for amongst the 30-60 year old single men out there these
days. The social services network has nothing for you. If you cannot make it
on your own, you are TOAST. You are the most disposable members of society, and
my advice is to walk away as far as you can, survive if you can or give yourself
up to the bear. Not even Prison is a good safe haven anymore.

RE

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