Now that our Church of the Nomadic Spirit is focusing on helping people find ways to make money through making things and offering services like car cleaning and mowing in the neighborhood, I've gotten several people asking me what homeless people spend their money on.
Let me start by saying: IT'S NONE OF YOUR DAMN BUSINESS.
But I actually enjoy talking about it. The homeless community is quite different than traditional society in the way it navigates commerce. I find it SUPER fascinating.
Let's just get it right out on the table: YES. Most homeless people that I know buy drugs and alcohol. (Interestingly, I'm seeing an increase in drinking these days.) In fact, it's probably all of them that I know buy at least some drugs and alcohol.
But there is only one group that spends ALL their money on drugs: it's some of the opiate users.
Fentanyl is a brutal master. It demands your entire existence. The pain and LENGTH of pain of not using fentanyl is excruciating. And a lot of times people are using fentanyl because they are trying to cover up some original excruciating pain. It's a mess.
But everyone else that I can think of is much more balanced than that.
I bought 2 day old newspapers from a man recently. $2 for 2 papers. He left and came back with a half gallon of lemon aid.
Keeping your phone on is a huge priority for people that still have their phones.
People love Polar Pops and cigarettes or cigars.
Those huge buckets of ice cream are a big hit this time of year.
Some people like to buy a gun. The streets are SO dangerous right now.
A man bought some chicken and spices and oil to make fried chicken yesterday.
They like pizza and the dinner box at McDonald's.
But all of that is to say: most homeless people have little to no money. So, the primary form of currency is trade.
They dumpster dive for scrap metal and things they can sell or trade for other things they want... a lot of times it's drugs. The dope boy in low income neighborhoods often takes trade for drugs. He often likes sex and jewelry and sun glasses. Though some like tools too.
I think there is a fair amount of stealing food that goes on. That's why bringing food to the community is so helpful. It drastically reduces food theft. You can trade food for drugs.
I think theft in general is a big source of revenue and trade in the homeless community and low income community. That's why I'm trying to educate people on entrepreneurship. Capitalism is just legalized stealing. You are convincing people to give you money for something they don't really need. I mean, just look at the cost of housing and tell me that's not the biggest con job in America right now.
I'm just trying to show my homeless friends how capitalists steal from us every day. All they have to do is turn their attention in a slightly different direction and all the skills they learned on the street can be applied to sources of income that are totally legal and, in fact, celebrated.
So, that's pretty much everything I can tell you about what homeless people spend their money on. Most of them are so far away from living in a traditional house it's not even on their radar. For some it is. But it's a pretty small percentage at any given time.
Oh... needles from the needle exchange sell for $1 each. Most