Diogenes of Sinope and Homelessne​ss Bohemianis​m, the Future – 08/28/2011

For Your Preparation (FYP)

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Diogenes_of_Sinope
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Homelessness

“Cynic ideas are inseparable from Cynic practice; therefore what we know about Diogenes is contained in anecdotes concerning his life and sayings attributed to him in a number of scattered classical sources.”

“Diogenes maintained that all the artificial growths of society were incompatible with happiness and that morality implies a return to the simplicity of nature. So great was his austerity and simplicity that the Stoics would later claim him to be a wise man or “sophos”. In his words, “Humans have complicated every simple gift of the gods.” Although Socrates had previously identified himself as belonging to the world, rather than a city, Diogenes is credited with the first known use of the word “cosmopolitan”. When he was asked where he came from, he replied, “I am a citizen of the world (cosmopolites)”. This was a radical claim in a world where a man’s identity was intimately tied to his citizenship in a particular city state. An exile and an outcast, a man with no social identity, Diogenes made a mark on his contemporaries.”

“Diogenes had nothing but disdain for Plato and his abstract philosophy. Diogenes viewed Antisthenes as the true heir to Socrates, and shared his love of virtue and indifference to wealth, together with a disdain for general opinion. Diogenes shared Socrates’ belief that he could function as doctor to men’s souls and improve them morally, while at the same time holding contempt for their obtuseness. Plato once described Diogenes as “a Socrates gone mad.””

“Diogenes taught by living example. He tried to demonstrate that wisdom and happiness belong to the man who is independent of society and that civilisation is regressive. He scorned not only family and political social organization, but property rights and reputation. He even rejected normal ideas about human decency. Diogenes is said to have eaten in the marketplace, urinated on some people who insulted him, defecated in the theatre, masturbated in public, and pointed at people with his middle finger.
From “Life of Diogenes”: “Someone took him [Diogenes] into a magnificent house and warned him not to spit, whereupon, having cleared his throat, he spat into the man’s face, being unable, he said, to find a meaner receptacle.””

“Many anecdotes of Diogenes refer to his dog-like behavior, and his praise of a dog’s virtues. It is not known whether Diogenes was insulted with the epithet “doggish” and made a virtue of it, or whether he first took up the dog theme himself. The modern terms cynic and cynical derive from the Greek word kynikos, the adjective form of kyon (κύων), meaning dog. Diogenes believed human beings live artificially and hypocritically and would do well to study the dog. Besides performing natural bodily functions in public without unease, a dog will eat anything, and make no fuss about where to sleep. Dogs live in the present without anxiety, and have no use for the pretensions of abstract philosophy. In addition to these virtues, dogs are thought to know instinctively who is friend and who is foe. Unlike human beings who either dupe others or are duped, dogs will give an honest bark at the truth. Diogenes stated that “other dogs bite their enemies, I bite my friends to save them.””

“There are four reasons why the Cynics are so named. First because of the indifference of their way of life, for they make a cult of indifference and, like dogs, eat and make love in public, go barefoot, and sleep in tubs and at crossroads. The second reason is that the dog is a shameless animal, and they make a cult of shamelessness, not as being beneath modesty, but as superior to it. The third reason is that the dog is a good guard, and they guard the tenets of their philosophy. The fourth reason is that the dog is a discriminating animal which can distinguish between its friends and enemies. So do they recognize as friends those who are suited to philosophy, and receive them kindly, while those unfitted they drive away, like dogs, by barking at them.”

“Diogenes’ name has been applied to a behavioural disorder characterised by involuntary self-neglect and hoarding.The disorder afflicts the elderly………..”

” Major reasons and causes for homelessness as documented by many reports and studies include:
Unavailability of employment opportunities.
Poverty, caused by many factors including unemployment and underemployment.
Lack of accessible healthcare. People who have some kind of chronic and weakening disease but cannot get healthcare either because they don’t have money to afford it or because the government will not give it to them are simply too weak to go and work every day.
Abuse by government or by other people with power.
War or armed conflict.
Mental disorder, where mental health services are unavailable or difficult to access or as a result of deinstitutionalization. A United States Federal survey done in 2005 indicated that at least one-third of homeless men and women have serious psychiatric disorders or problems.
Disability, especially where disability services are non-existent or poor performing.
Social exclusion, including because of sexual orientation and gender identity
Substance abuse
Lack of affordable housing. An article in the November 2007 issue of Atlantic Monthly reported on a study of the cost of obtaining the “right to build” (i.e. a building permit, red tape, bureaucracy, etc.) in different U.S. cities. The “right to build” cost does not include the cost of the land or the cost of constructing the house. The study was conducted by Harvard economists Edward Glaeser and Kristina Tobio. According to the chart accompanying the article, the cost of obtaining the “right to build” adds approximately $600,000 to the cost of each new house that is built in San Francisco.
Domestic violence.
Relationship breakdown, particularly in relation to young people and their parents.
Prison release and re-entry into society.
Disasters, including but not limited to earthquakes and hurricanes.
Forced eviction – In many countries, people lose their homes by government order to make way for newer upscale high rise buildings, roadways, and other governmental needs. The compensation may be minimal, in which case the former occupants cannot find appropriate new housing and become homeless.
Mortgage foreclosures where mortgage holders see the best solution to a loan default is to take and sell the house to pay off the debt. The popular press made an issue of this in 2008.
Foreclosures on landlords often lead to eviction of their tenants. “The Sarasota, Florida, Herald Tribune noted that,by some estimates, more than 311,000 tenants nationwide have been evicted from homes this year after lenders took over the properties.”
Criminality– Some homeless may have committed crimes and are therefore hiding from the authorities.
A substantial percentage of the U.S. homeless population are individuals who are chronically unemployed or have difficulty managing their lives effectively due to prolonged and severe drug and/or alcohol abuse. Substance abuse can cause homelessness from behavioral patterns associated with addiction that alienate an addicted individual’s family and friends who could otherwise provide support during difficult economic times.
Increased wealth disparity and income inequality causes distortions in the housing market that push rent burdens higher, making housing unaffordable.
Dr. Paul Koegel of RAND Corporation, a seminal researcher in first generation homelessness studies and beyond, divided the causes of homelessness into structural aspects and then individual vulnerabilities.”

“The basic problem of homelessness is the human need for personal shelter, warmth and safety. Other basic difficulties include:
personal security, quiet, and privacy, especially for sleeping
safekeeping of bedding, clothing and possessions, which may have to be carried at all times
hygiene and sanitary facilities
cleaning and drying of clothes
obtaining, preparing and storing food in quantities
keeping contacts, without a permanent location or mailing address
hostility and legal powers against urban vagrancy.
Homeless people face many problems beyond the lack of a safe and suitable home. They are often faced with many social disadvantages also, reduced access to private and public services and reduced access to vital necessities:
Reduced access to health care and dental services.
Limited access to education.
Increased risk of suffering from violence and abuse.
General rejection or discrimination from other people.
Loss of usual relationships with the mainstream
Not being seen as suitable for employment.
Reduced access to banking services
Reduced access to communications technology
There is sometimes corruption and theft by the employees of a shelter as evidenced by a 2011 investigative report by FOX 25 TV in Boston wherein a number of Boston public shelter employees were found stealing large amounts of food over a period of time from the shelter’s kitchen for their private use and catering.
There have been many violent crimes committed against people who are homeless. A 2007 study found that the rate of such crimes is increasing.”

“There are many places where a homeless person might seek refuge.
Outdoors: On the ground or in a sleeping bag, tent, or improvised shelter, such as a large cardboard box, dumpster, in a park or vacant lot.
Tent cities: Ad hoc campsites of tents and improvised shelters consisting of tarpaulins and blankets often near industrial and institutionally zoned real estate such as rail yards, interstates and high transportation veins. A few more elaborate tent cities, such as Dignity Village, are actually hybrids of tent cities and shantytowns. Tent cities frequently consist of ONLY tents and fabric improvised structures, with no semi-permanent wood structures at all.
Shantytowns: Ad hoc dwelling sites of improvised shelters and shacks, usually near rail yards, interstates and high transportation veins. Some shanty towns have interstitial tenting areas, but the predominant feature consists of the hard structures. Each pad of site tends to accumulate roofing, sheathing, plywood, and nailed two by fours.
Derelict structures: abandoned or condemned buildings
Squatting in an unoccupied house where a homeless person may live without payment and without the owner’s knowledge or permission.
Vehicles: cars or trucks are used as a temporary or sometimes long-term living refuge, for example by those recently evicted from a home. Some people live in vans, sport utility vehicles, covered pick-up trucks, station wagons, sedans, or hatchbacks . Many cities now have safe parking programs in which lawful sites are permitted at churches or in out of the way places. For example, because it is illegal to park on the streets in Santa Barbara, the New Beginnings Counseling Center worked with the city to make parking lots available to accommodate homeless people. The struggling singer-songwriter named Paleo lived out of his car for five years while writing songs and touring.
Public places: Parks, bus or train stations, public libraries, airports, public transportation vehicles (by continual riding where unlimited passes are available), hospital lobbies or waiting areas, college campuses, and 24-hour businesses such as coffee shops. Many public places use security guards or police to prevent people from loitering or sleeping at these locations for a variety of reasons, including image, safety, and comfort.
Homeless shelters: such as emergency cold-weather shelters opened by churches or community agencies, which may consist of cots in a heated warehouse, or temporary Christmas Shelters. More elaborate homeless shelters such as Pinellas Hope in Florida provide their residents with a recreation tent, a dining tent, laundry facilities, outdoor tents, casitas, and shuttle services that help inhabitants get to their jobs every day.
Inexpensive boarding houses: Also called flophouses, they offer cheap, low-quality temporary lodging.
Residential hotels, where a bed as opposed to an entire room can be rented cheaply in a dorm-like environment.
Inexpensive motels also offer cheap, low-quality temporary lodging. However, some who can afford housing live in a motel by choice. For example, David and Jean Davidson spent 22 years at a UK Travelodge.
24-hour Internet cafes are now used by over 5,000 Japanese “Net cafe refugees”. An estimated 75% of Japan’s 3,200 all-night internet cafes cater to regular overnight guests, who in some cases have become their main source of income.
Friends or family: Temporarily sleeping in dwellings of friends or family members (“couch surfing”). Couch surfers may be harder to recognize than street homeless people
Underground tunnels such as abandoned subway, maintenance, or train tunnels are popular among the permanent homeless. The inhabitants of such refuges are called in some places, like New York City, “Mole People”. Natural caves beneath urban centers allow for places where people can congregate. Leaking water pipes, electric wires, and steam pipes allow for some of the essentials of living.
“Health care for homeless people is a major public health challenge.
Homeless people are more likely to suffer injuries and medical problems from their lifestyle on the street, which includes poor nutrition, substance abuse, exposure to the severe elements of weather, and a higher exposure to violence (robberies, beatings, and so on). Yet at the same time, they have little access to public medical services or clinics.”
“There are significant challenges in treating homeless people who have psychiatric disorders, because clinical appointments may not be kept, their continuing whereabouts are unknown, their medicines are not taken and monitored, medical and psychiatric histories are not accurate, and for other reasons. Because many homeless people have mental illnesses, this has presented a crisis in care.”
“Homeless persons often find it difficult to document their date of birth or their address. Because homeless people usually have no place to store possessions, they often lose their belongings, including their identification and other documents, or find them destroyed by police or others. Without a photo ID, homeless persons cannot get a job or access many social services. They can be denied access to even the most basic assistance: clothing closets, food pantries, certain public benefits, and in some cases, emergency shelters.
Obtaining replacement identification is difficult. Without an address, birth certificates cannot be mailed. Fees may be cost-prohibitive for impoverished persons. And some states will not issue birth certificates unless the person has photo identification, creating a Catch-22.”
“The conditions affecting homeless people are somewhat specialized and have opened a new area of medicine tailored to this population. Skin conditions, including Scabies, are common because homeless people are exposed to extreme cold in the winter and they have little access to bathing facilities. They have problems caring for their feet and have more severe dental problems than the general population. Diabetes, especially untreated, is widespread in the homeless population.Specialized medical textbooks have been written to address this for providers.”

“In 2002, research showed that children and families were the largest growing segment of the homeless population in the United States.”

“In 2005, an estimated 100 million people worldwide were homeless…..”

“In the USA, the government asked many major cities to come up with a ten year plan to end homelessness; and one of the results of this was a “Housing first” solution, also known as “rapid re-housing”, which quickly gets a homeless person permanent housing of some sort and the necessary support services to sustain a new home. There are many complications of this kind of program and these must be dealt with to make such an initiative work successfully in the middle to long term.”

Big Hugs and Kisses to All!  ;+)

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