I told you that Livermore is probably paradise when it comes to being homeless, and that largely has to do with the Public Library, which has longer hours than any other library I’m aware of in the SF Bay Area. It’s not just free wifi, I can also plug in for power… and, it has a coffee shop right in the building which opens during the week at 7am… I’m a little lucky in that the folks that run the coffee shop are 1: very very sweet people and 2: like me for some reason I can’t fathom… I occupy a seat next to the window and do my thing sipping coffee and helping out sometimes when the owner has a catering job… Oh, and yes, it is a laptop. I have an i5 equipped ASUS. My most valuable possession is a Trek bicycle upon which I have bags mounted front and back. Everything I own is on it save what’s in my satchel (which is where I keep my laptop). My main challenge is finding cover for my bike in the rain. Leaving it out in the rain is never an option.
Oh, and do not feel sorry for me. I’m doing just fine. I simply want people to know that living in this fashion is not the death sentence people make it out to be. The “hopeless homeless” get no sympathy at all from me. And people who whine about it, IMHO, are people who truly believe the world owes them a living.
In Livermore we are very, very lucky for a variety of reasons. 1. The Churches are 100% of the support given to the homeless. When it rains or gets below 40 degrees, the churches host the Livermore Homeless Refuge, and that’s where we sleep on those nights. 2. The Government is too lazy and greedy to do anything (they get Federal Money for the Homeless which they summarily spend on other things. I’m actually thankful for this, because they stay out of the way of those who actually make a difference). 3. The Chief of Police, Steve Sweeney is a great guy and very pragmatic, I see him almost daily, and he understands reality, and 4. We have this library.
If you truly want to give help to the homeless you can do one of two things: find a church organization that his actually doing something and ask what they need. Or look to volunteer… stay overnight pulling a watch at a shelter or whatever. Two things the homeless use a lot of: Socks and Underwear. Lightly used sleeping bags or conforters are often in short supply.
I don’t think I said it during the interview, but I think the most important thing I’ve learned over the past three years is the meaning and value of this ancient Japanese phrase:
Less is More.