Are the homeless really the new zombie apocalypse?

This is a guest post and entry in our non-fiction writing contest  Cliff C

I, like most of you, am big into situation awareness. Seems I have had a blind spot for quite a while. A few days ago, I posted about my friend that was selling his photography studio and that someone had tried to break in a prop door in the back and as we were standing outside talking I saw someone come sneaking out of the woods across the street and head off down the road pushing a Kroger shopping cart.

There is a large expanse of woods just across from him but the real kicker is that borders on the county court building (not so lovingly called the Taj Mahal because of its domed ceiling, expanse of white marble and exorbitant cost.).

As we chatted he told me there was a village of homeless people living back in the woods. Among there is a goodly number of sex offenders. I knew the sex offenders were living some where in tents but didn’t realize it was there.

I get an email every time a sex offender registers in my zip code or is added to the rolls and had wondered why they had addresses like “tent #3” or “tent #5” and it seems they have grouped together with the homeless and have erected small villages for mutual protection and community. Now I find that there are at least 3 of these homeless villages set up encircling the downtown area.

During the day they spread out, go to the food pantry, go to the free clinic, look for odd jobs, or do whatever they have to do to be able to get by. At night they disappear and seek only the company of their fellow tent dwellers.

Now, when the SHTF we have roving bands that are capable of doing what they have to or need to in order to get by on a daily basis. Will these bands begin to roam, take over foreclosed houses and set up larger villages where no “regular” person is welcome?

How large a threat are these folks, knowing that among their numbers, there are convicted felons, child molesters and various other criminal types along with the large group of people who have no work, no place to call their own, and really own nothing.

I have not seen the “shanty towns” per se. Regular people are not welcome, there are rumors of booby traps or barriers to keep the non-members out. Even the police do not visit these areas. So, effectively the homeless may become the real zombies during a SHTF situation. They can already survive outside, they can make do with what they find and they seem to have utter disdain for other people.

If they decide to fall upon a grocery store during a grid down situation there is nothing to stop them. If they decided to take over a neighborhood the police will be too busy trying to protect the banks to spend any time with them. Are they armed? I know there are homemade and hunting knives, I know there are some guns since out of season deer have been taken, possibly bow and arrows. The felons are not allowed to have guns but who is going in to search them?

Perhaps the homeless are one of the biggest threats we will face during a grid down. They have nothing to lose, everything to gain and do not, as these groups seem to show, have any respect for anyone or anything. The other homeless are family, the rest are outsiders.

I live west of Atlanta and in a fairly large but unincorporated area and I’m aware, just from general conversation, of the three camps. How many homeless are living in abandoned buildings or under the underpasses or even down in the infrastructure of the downtown area? I have no clue.

How do you size the problem? How do you best defend against a group? How do you find out where they are and how many are there? Trends of petty crimes might point out some concentrations of homeless people.

A study of google maps with satellite pictures might enable you to find the camps. Asking the local police might give a clue. I am unsure how to find them. I can’t do anything about them. I can’t help them anymore than I already am by giving to the food pantries and making donations to the churches that have ministries for them.

Perhaps I’m wrong. Perhaps when things get bad they will all die off. Maybe they won’t. Maybe they’ll be a force to be reckoned with. Perhaps they have a better idea of how the town is set up and where the sweet spots are and where the weak points are.

As I was watching TV last night and thinking about how things are getting worse (you can’t go to the mall without being accosted by a pan handler looking for a hand out), thefts of bags of groceries out of people’s shopping carts at the store, as they are loading their cars, it’s almost a game of snatch a bag and run away, are steadily increasing.

I don’t believe that the youth gangs, even though they are well trained and have a mission, are as much of a threat. They are fairly easily identified by the way they dress, the way they talk and the way they walk, but the homeless, in many cases look like regular working people, who have been doing manual labor. The cleaner they are the easier they can blend in.

So, perhaps the real zombie threat is now the homeless. What do you think?

This is an entry in our non-fiction writing contest where you could win:

About M.D. Creekmore

M.D. Creekmore is the owner and editor of He is the author of four prepper related books and is regarded as one of the nations top survival and emergency preparedness experts. Read more about him here.


  1. I dont think homelessness is any worse in this down turn than it has been before but I do think the people are a different breed and there will be more civil disruption with this downturn than in the past.

  2. A few years ago a band of natives in ontario invaded a subdivision under construction and blocaded themselves in and took over the huge homes. The people who had paid for those homes lost thousands of dollars as the gov’t and police refused to kick the squatters out.The subdivision became a fortress of lawlessness where the squatters went armed and the rightful owners had no rights. If the economy gets too much worse you’ll see more of these sorts of things.

    People will band out of fear or desperation behind a “leader” who will take over a subdivision or a mall and set themselves up as a ruler. The police won’t do anything about it and then they will start to prey on others around them because without thatexternal source of “goods” and outlet for violence the leader would loose control. These groups will become more violent as time goes on not less.

  3. We don’t have a large homeless population in my area. But I suspect many homeless people will become ill/die relatively quickly after THSTF. Many are already suffering from various problems like alcoholism, drug addiction or malnutrition.

    Personally, I am much more concerned about another group of people around here: the poor but armed. Hunting is a big thing in my area… almost everyone has at least a rifle if not additional firearms. However, due to budget constraints, they are likely not prepared with any type of food storage or other preparedness items. When TSHTF, they will be the first to run out of food, supplies and (likely) support from family/friends (as their loved ones are probably in a similar situation). There are many families in my area who don’t eat supper, and they rely on school lunches to give their kids a daily meal. These families are going to become very desperate, very quickly. And they likely have weapons at their disposal. This particular subset of my local population is huge. Ironically, they will likely head to the city/big towns, since that’s where people with money tend to live around here.

    • HERE! HERE! I completely agree that one of the biggest threats will be people who are armed and stupid. My next door (1/2 mile away) neighbors are 3 high school loser dropouts who’s idea of a good time is getting drunk and firing wildly around their property. They have told me there isn’t any food in their house because if one of them gets food, the others eat it while he’s away. These guys will most likely make a beeline for my much nicer house, to relieve me of anything I have of value at the first sign of crisis. The armed, hungry, unprepared idiots are BY FAR the greatest threat. If you’re like me, you’ll have all these threats identified (as many as possible) and have “contingency” plans in place.

      • SurvivorDan says:

        The armed and desperate are the most dangerous group. Regardless of which socio-economic group they come from. At some point in their disaster experience when they ran out of food or lost their shelter they joined the goblins to hunt as a pack. But I agree that the armed poor who are (overall) in better health, more likely to have firearms and have cohesive family and neighborhood groups they are already allied with are the most dangerous initially.

    • I find this to be a common misconception in many prepping circles. There are people with morals and there are people without morals, that’s all there is to it. There will be poor people who will rob and kill out of desperation, and there will be rich people who will do the same. There will also be poor people who starve because they would never take from someone what is not rightfully theirs.

      • SurvivorDan says:

        I believe that serfsup has a kindly/fair nature and is being PC probably comes naturally to him and not a bad thing. Unless one is in a SHTF situation. I have been to several large scale disasters. At Katrina’s aftermath I went with my local Sheriff’s dept. The middle class and rich as a whole, though woefully unprepared by my standards, had more resources than the poor. Also in N.O. as in other cities, many of the poor and lower middle class lived in lower areas more prone to flooding and typically have older or flimsier homes more adversely affected by natural disasters. Desperation and lawlessness set in nearly immediately amongst the poor and the unprepared lower middle class were just a couple days behind them. Here’s a friendly heads up serfsup….people with less resources are not necessarily more ‘criminally’ inclined but desperation sets in faster when you have little or nothing to begin with. Most of the middle class and rich did not participate in the breakdown of law and order as they had more resources to last out the initial lack of services and food. Had the worst conditions lasted a few weeks longer and hunger and fear set in…they would have joined the mob. One’s economic class can definitely affect one’s propensity to join the zombies or not, regardless of one’s inner moral compass. Hunger and fear overrides people’s sense of humanity. Few resist the regression to animalistic survival behavior regardless of social class. But in a major disaster with a prolonged lack of services/assistance the poor will be the first to lose their humanity. This isn’t an intellectual exercise on my part…I’ve seen it first hand.

        • SurvivorDan says:

          Re-read your comment. “I find this to be a common misconception in many prepping circles. ” Actually a bit condescending my friend. I hope reconsider what you wrote about there being no correlation between socio-economic class and the potential for lawlessness during a major disaster. That is probably a common ‘progressive’ misconception.

        • I was commenting on Bitsy’s comment about the “poor but armed”. I’m not sure where you are, but here the heavily armed are the upper middle class hunters/sport shooters. If the poor people have a gun, they certainly don’t have a lot of ammo. While you are correct about poor people becoming desperate more quickly, it will only be by a matter of days or weeks.
          The gist of the comment was that there are plenty of rich people who will be just as dangerous as the poor people.

          “Re-read your comment. “I find this to be a common misconception in many prepping circles. ” Actually a bit condescending my friend. ”

          Wow, you re-read the comment?!? Were you looking for something to be offended by?

          • SurvivorDan says:

            Why would I look for something to be offended by? Do you do that? Why? I’m not offended at all. Just stating that besides being naive, you are a bit condescending. You can’t learn much if you are condescending. Now, you argue semantics and attempt to change your original position. “There are people with morals and there are people without morals, that’s all there is to it. There will be poor people who will rob and kill out of desperation, and there will be rich people who will do the same. ” That’s all there is to it? I’m afraid not. And if you had chosen to maintain your original position that would have shown that you have conviction in your original statement. Since you waffle now , you do not adhere to your original statement. That’s fine. But by changing your position without admitting you see the flaws in your logic you show your lack of adaptability. “Er…what I meant to say was…” You are wrong in your original assertion and I hoped to give you the benefit of my personal observations of people when the SHTF. You are clearly intelligent but you need to open your mind to new concepts in order to survive a major disaster or the Collapse. Most of he people regularly commenting on this site are ‘students’ of and/or contributors to Mr Creekmore. They might know something.

            • SurvivorDan says:

              And serfsup….Looking back at my own comments, it occurs to me that unlikely though it might be, just maybe, I might be a bit of a ridiculously argumentative and stubborn old curmudgeon sometimes. Overall, we are probably on the same ‘side’. 😉

            • I think SurvivorDan is right here. We are students. We are here to learn from one another. My biggest question both with this article and the gang article concerns threat assessment: what is the most reasonable strategy for assessing threats post collapse? This strikes me as such an enormous question, I have no idea how to approach it.

              This post and the comments on the gang post has helped me to see that regular middle class, go to work everyday type people may very well be as much of a threat as homeless people and gang bangers–maybe even more of a threat. Few people are going to let a homeless person or a gang banger get too close. I think we will have more of a tendency to minimize the threat of people who are like us (middle class, normal people).

            • perhaps I came off wrong, I was not trying to be preachy (or condescending), but I have not changed my position. Yes, the poor will be desperate first, but they will not be any less dangerous than the rich in the long run.
              I think that the biggest thing that is lacking in this type of setting is tone and inflection. If we were sitting together at a bar, we could make ourselves a whole lot more clear than we can at a keyboard. I think we would find a lot more to agree on than disagree.

      • I’m not sure it has to do with morals as much as desperation. Yes, there are both rich and poor with/without morals. But the poor (at least in my area) will become desperate much more quickly. Moreover, they are more likely to be armed, as the “wealthy” around here do not hunt and generally have a liberal “no guns” philosophy.

        And, frankly, one needs only to examine the typical crimes in my area to at least make a sweeping generalization that the poorer neighborhood residents are quicker to solve their problems with violence (i.e. fights) whereas the wealthier individuals solve their problems with litigation. This is not to say that wealthy people aren’t capable of violence… they are. But generally (at least where I live), they tend to be “softer” in nature.

        • SurvivorDan says:

          I think Gayle is right to make the point that we must be vigilant against those who look ‘normal’ and seem friendly. That should go without saying in any serious social situation and I believe that Bitsy’s point about the poor and their lack of resources and hence heightened sense of desperation makes them the biggest threat initially. As others have pointed out many of the homeless are drug addicts who will not be a great physical threat and the others are already relatively self sufficient and not prone to panic and thus will not be so desperate initially. Hell…. trust no one. Otherwise, there may be situations where for security’s sake you will have to place your faith in some strangers but watch your six…

        • SurvivorDan says:

          serfsup…..indeed. I’m sure we would. I think it is, as you state only a matter of time. Ithink that most of us agree that the poor will be the biggest threat at first (less resources) but as each ‘higher’ socio-economic group exhausts their resources; the desperation, the mindless mob mentality takes them over and overrides any decency and humanity. The rich are not ‘better’ than the poor in terms of retaining their humanity only better prepared to resist the call to brutality and animalistic behavior longer.

          (change the subject) Last week I visited a Honeyville store that opened in AZ last year. Some yuppie survival gear but what a selection of long term foods! I may need help assaulting and looting it when the SHTF. Anybody with me?!!
          Oh…alright I’ll try and restrain my beastly urges. lol

  4. GT urban prepper says:

    This is an interesting thought. I moved to Dallas from Atlanta 6 months ago. I used to live off of Perry Blvd over by Hollywood and Bolton Rd. I used to see wandering bands of homeless walking across the bridge going into and around the industrial parks and rail yards for who knows what. North Ave and West Peachtree are just crawling with them… Most of the time they are docile but I have had to fight a few of them off before and even had to break a guys nose with my calculus textbook to escape an attempted armed robbery. The homeless could be a great resource if you can find a small band of them and have something to trade, otherwise, they could be a potential nightmare. Their sheer numbers alone are a bit scary to think about, especially once the soup kitchens and shelters are no longer operational, adding more to the mix.

    • GT urban prepper says:

      I am continually in amazement of the benefit of having multiple observations on the same topic. Thank you WolfPack for adding some perspective to my day.

      I do agree that the unprepared and armed crowd will potentially pose a greater threat than the homeless. These could be your neighbors or a guy/gal from work, etc. A constant mantra on this blog is keeping a low profile, which is an extremely valuable skill. The homeless have perfected the art of low profile and whether or not they will become hostile will remain to be seen, but I would put money down that they won’t become targets, not on a large scale anyway.

      • Are you a Tech alumni? If so, I am not surprised you had to break someone’s nose with your calculus book! Over the last six months, we keep hearing more and more about robberies and attmepted robberies on the Tech campus. In fact there was one just a couple of days ago. Hope Texas has you in a little better area. New to the blog?

        • GT urban prepper says:

          Indeed I am, Building Construction 2010. I never liked that book anyway, it never fit in my bookbag and had to weigh at least 8 pounds. So i always carried it under an arm, on that day it came in handy. The problem a lot of Tech kids run into is that they throw their headphones in and start furiously texting while walking down the sidewalk, all alone, late at night. While no one really deserves to get robbed, raped, assaulted etc, they certainly make themselves easier targets that way. Gotta keep the head on a straight and on a swivel and minimize distractions. The cops aren’t going to hold your hand going down the sidewalk after all…
          Texas has been really nice, pleasantly surprised. Living north of Dallas in a nice little town by the airport (DFW). The mexican food is a little better than it was in GA haha. This summer was absolutely brutal though temperature wise.
          I have been on the blogs for about 6 months or so, I just never commented until just recently, within the last 2 or 3 weeks. A lot of interesting topics and advice on here. I have been into kayaking and camping for a good while now and stumbled on this blog by accident, then I just never left. ha. Good stuff.

          • GT,

            Well, welcome to the Wolf Pack. Don’t be shy.

            • GT Urban Prepper says:

              Thank you Gayle. I’ll be sure to add anywhere my particular set of knowledge or advice might be needed as well as learning from you guys. Actually most of this will be spent learning..

          • SurvivorDan says:

            Welcome GT. Been on this site myself for only about 4 months. I have learned much here. Not to mention the interaction with like minded peoples. It’s all good. This is my go to site for prepping information.

  5. While it’s certainly disconcerting that there are ne’er-do-wells and undesirables, I feel it’s a tad unfair to label “all” homeless people as such. It’s basically scaremongering and completely unjustified.

    Your article basically says “there are some homeless people who live near me, and some of them can be pretty nasty” , adds “I haven’t witnessed any of this myself” and turns it into “ALL homeless people, EVERYWHERE, are dangerous and will be our downfall if we 1) they don’t die of hunger and/or 2) we don’t kill them ourselves.”

    This is NON-fiction, y’know.

    • Yes, Cliff, you need to be nicer to the homeless. Post collapse, we will need target practice with moving targets.

      • breadmomma says:

        While we might chuckle at Gayle’s remark, in 1974, I was homeless, living in a van with a new born, a dog and a husband that went out every day looking for work…we damn near starved…got really good at dumpster diving, and planted zucchini in an abandoned piece of ground behind a friends house in Huntington Beach California…my friend let me use her shower and her bath on a regular basis, but we pretty much toughed it out…couldn’t qualify for food stamps because the unemployment made the van truck payment…because we were pretty honest folks, we could not qualify…so we indeed became the silent quiet homeless with little hope other than the ability to scrounge for what ever we could find…cans, bottles, scrap metal, trash cans and dumpsters became our means of survival…there were several others out there…many years later, I worked in Denver and saw what we see today, many of the homeless were the silent unwashed, just getting by. There were those that prey on the homeless and vulnerable. I lived in Portland and again while working in education, I saw that there are many places where those coming out of the system cannot find a place to live, and have to resort to living on the street…yes, we have to live the life dictated by our choices, and those that have committed crimes have a very tough time finding a place to live…I am no bleeding heart, have a very low opinion of your average sex offender, and am very pragmatic…. the real problem is when they have paid their dues to society, are legitimately released into normal society without any means of living, or a place to hang their hats, and we do not make any ANY accomodations for them to rebuild their lives…we do not do a smart thing by forcing them into a homeless situation…
        I have seen too many mothers, kids, whole families without a place to stay, and many have not chosen this situation…many lost their jobs, many cannot find jobs, many have no hope…so before we start taking pot shots on our moving targets, lets think this one through…

        • I believe there are 2 different groups of homeless, visible and invisible . The visible are easy to stereotype and deserve it a lot of the time. Invisible, to proud to beg and trying to claw their way out and up. I know both. Both will be a problem quicker than those with more stable lifestyles, but give it a month or less and they will be as desperate. Whoever here is right, we can all agree that it will suck.
          Breadmomma, I agree with your thoughts and Mr. Picker, I have to deal with cardboard signs way to often, and it is getting pretty tense at some intersections.

      • Hahahahah Gayle

    • Lint Picker (Northern California) says:

      I promised to be nice to the newbies, but someetimes it’s really hard to do that.

      Bleeding hearts will be the first ones killed off by the
      “harmless” homeless.

      In my community, it is the HOMELESS who do drugs, rob, steal, agressively panhandle, set fires, urinate in the stream, urinate on the sidewalk, throw their trash everywhere (except in the trash can), urinate inside the Post Office, sleep in the neighbor’s flowerbed, damage the neighbor’s fence, break into cars, eat all the food at the public food pantry – a pantry that was established for unemployed families when the lumber industry closed for the winter, but a food pantry that is now depleted by homeless people who contribute nothing to this community, yet drive up our health care costs, our law enforcement and court costs, and eat the food meant for families.

      The homeless never have any money for food, but somehow they always have a cigarette dangling from their lips and a dog without license as their bodyguard. They have money for drugs, but no money for medicine.

      Are all homeless guilty? Probably not. But I think a fairly accurate guesstimate would be that 95% have committed some crime against another person as well as several crimes against property. They are homeless mostly due to lack of personal responsibility, not because they had a bad day at work. They have nothing to lose, and little regard for others.

      I say, Oh BS.

      • SurvivorDan says:

        Rather judgmental. I just had my crack research staff do research (Yes, I’m estimating with no basis in fact) and it’s actually only 91.8% of the homeless who are criminally bent.

      • Lint, where you live sounds miserable. I’m not trying to come off as an a$$h0le but ever since I was a little kid(not a whole lot older now, 21)y mother used to drag me around to soup kitchens,homeless shelters, and anywhere else she did charity work. I’ve only ever felt threatened by homeless people once. But i can’t blame the majority of people that are homeless int neck of the woods. I mean i would probably crawl back into a bottle the rest of my life of i had had the run of luck that most of these guys and gals had. But seeing as how everyone else in Louisiana is armed… I really dont see homeless being a big threat down here I’ll save my bullets for the gangs.

    • SurvivorDan says:

      Well Oh My, the people with the least resources will be the most desperate initially. And therefore the greatest danger to others. It’s not prejudice but rather simply practical tactical thinking when the SHTF.

    • SurvivorDan says:

      Well Oh My, the people with the least resources will be the most desperate initially. And therefore the greatest danger to others. It’s not prejudice but rather simply practical tactical thinking when the SHTF.

  6. How many paychecks are you away from being homeless? As this economy continues to decline we may find ourselves in the same situation. As Cliff pointed out they manage to survive year round in the elements so I have to wonder what we could learn from the homeless. Yes, they can be dangerous but so can the neighbor’s poodle if pushed too far. When people are treated like zombies how do you think they will react? I challenge you to put on your dirty ratty yard clothes and go to the mall. How do you think you will be treated? I doubt you will appreciate your treatment. My point careful how you categorize and treat others because you could be in the same place very easy. Donate to and volunteer at your local shelters, treat the homeless with respect and dignity but never put yourself in a dangerous situation. To Cliff’s point on situational awareness, the homeless can be a hazard to you and your property so vigilance is required when dealing with them in less than optimal locations.

    • Muddy Fork,

      The vast majority of homeless adults are drug addicts. They have made decisions to put themselves on the streets.

      • Muddy Fork says:

        If you are saying that their drug use is what caused “the vast majority of homeless adults” to be homeless I would challenge you to do some research on the subject. Perhaps you should visit a shelter for Christmas. That could be you in the soup line next year. The housing collapse, excessive credit and record unemployment is what go the “vast majority” of them there.

        • Muddy Fork,

          I have done quite a bit of research on this topic. We need to look at the fact that 62 percent of the homeless are substance abusers. I stopped volunteering at the local shelter when I realized that people like me were doing more to help the homeless than the homeless were doing to help themselves. You can clean them up, find them a place to live, get them a job but they choose to return to a life of drugs.

          The preferred model of drug addiction in today’s rehab environment is that drug addiction is a “disease”. Using the disease model, rehab facilities can charge tens of thousands of dollars to treat addicts; yet what statistics there are suggest that programs like NA and AA are more effective than treatment facilities when measured in the number of addicts who stay clean and sober for a period of at least one year.

          With the emphasis of drug addiction as a “disease” we have overlooked the fact that doing drugs is a crime. This fact alone reveals that 62 percent of the homeless are criminals.

          • Muddy Fork says:

            I’m glad you have made attempts to help, few do. Lord knows all of them do not want or accept help. I still disagree with your assertion that drug use causes homelessness. This may be a chicken or the egg conversation for you and I. From my observations it appears drug use and addiction in the homeless population is an attempt to escape from the reality and desperation of their situations and not the cause of their situation. That being said, yes there are a few who are homeless because of drug addiction. The fact that each of us could be homeless in a very short amount of time should give is pause.

            • Muddy Fork,

              Fair enough. We can leave it at correlation and not causation. There may also be some differences in how people use the term “homeless”. If a person or family looses his home and moves in with relatives, I would not consider him or them “homeless”. I was thinking of “homeless” as those people whose family members will (or cannot) not take them in. You are homeless if you have no roof over your head–that is, if no one will take you in.

            • Deff agree with you muddy fork.

            • I think it is more germane to this particular blog post to note the relatively high percentage of homeless that are drug abusers. It doesn’t matter how someone got to be homeless, once they’ve crossed that line into drug addiction you cannot rely upon what kind of person they were before. Drugs, especially the hard drugs like meth, and homelessness both change a person, usually for the worst. I generally think of them as feral. Can they clean themselves up and “re-domesticate” into contributing members of society? Yea, sure, but I’m not going to risk my family’s survival in a SHTF situation by not being on guard from those who have shown an inablility to succeed at best, or are down right violent criminals at worst. Especially when I’m all set to turn away the cute girl that lives next door if it comes to that (regardless of what she might, or might not, be willing to do for food… snerk).


      • breadmomma says:

        I would beg to differ with you…here in the Southern Oregon coast, I see many families thrown out of work due to the lumber industry being gutted…yes we have drug addicts, but the majority of our poor in this area are not druggies or alkies, but folks just trying to get by…most of those folks would work if given the chance…I had three students this year, living in tents just to get their education via retraining…just not enough to put a roof over their heads or meals…
        I had one that had a family and was trying to get retrained so that they could work in a different field…the husband had been disabled, the three kids and the mom and dad were living in a pick up truck camper…their idea of a good night was sleeping in the Walmart parking lot and taking spit baths in the public bathrooms…the kids were going to school and all of them were collecting cans, doing odd jobs …in short anything that they could work for…I have several families currently parked in the woods on our campus…some are working at the local fish canneries trying to make enough so that they can move into a hotel…I volunteer regularly ( weekly) and so many of these are my neighbors…again…most are trying to work through it…
        Not too many made the decision to put themselves on the street…

  7. This seems like a uncontrolled mess. And it does not seem to fit just the classification of “homeless”.
    Are the authorities watching them? Seems that they would want to keep an eye on them for various and sundry reasons. Like the safety of their own families!!!!!!!!
    And since when is “Tent of any number” an address for a parolled felon?
    If indeed this is happening the world indeed is going to hell in a hand basket. And it leads me to indeed believe that there is no safe place to park yourself in a SHTF situation.
    The only advise I have is to keep asking questions. Investigate it as much as possible without putting yourself out where they know you are doing so.
    Here’s a funny turn them over to the EPA and the green peacers and animal righters maybe they can run them out. They have to be harming nature and the air and killing animals. And wouldn’t there be a danger of a fire hazard them cooking out there.

  8. I thnik you have hit on a real danger. Living in the semi-hinterlands I don’t see many homeless people, but on trips to town I have noticed that they seem to hang around the Second Hand stores. I have obeserved that they communicate only with each other and groups disperse when a “citizen” approaches. I have some stealth abilities and have listened in on ocation when the wife is looking around the store. They talk of what is free, unprotected or abandon and seem to travel off to avail themselves of those places and things. They don’t talk about what work is available. I think these people have a definate advantage over normal citizens as thing continue to deteriorate.

    • Rich Muszynski says:

      it seems everyone here has very high morals and very high sense of self. you are aware the economy has tanked? that people are losing their jobs and consequently most things they own because everything is on credit? are you people aware that drug dealers do not offer credit to addicts but demand cash on the line? when you are actually poor I find it strange that one could afford such a expensive and debilitating addiction. I think our biggest threat will not come from starving families but rather from hired mercenaries that work for the rich who will go about taking everything of value for their masters. are you not aware of the laws being passed now to allow the government to confiscate “for the good of the state” any supplies that anyone has put away that goes beyond 7 days worth? or the bill to make the president dictator? think. a starving man trying to feed his family is totally different then a rich man trying to get richer on the booty he can have his minions collect for him. the starving man needs a meal, the rich man needs everything you have of any value. think about it.

      • Rich M…..

        Laws “to collect supplies……..”
        Bills “to make the President dictator…….”

        Hadn’t heard that. Where can I read more?

      • …”it seems everyone here has very high morals and very high sense of self. you are aware the economy has tanked? that people are losing their jobs and consequently most things they own because everything is on credit”?

        Thank you Rich. I have been waiting for someone just like you to appear and set me straight. I Hhank you. My Mother Thanks you. My Father Thanks you too.
        (Can anyone tell me where these people come from)?

  9. Really? The homeless are the ones with real survival skills. You better be looking to your middle class neighbors to supply the hordes of desperate unprepared suicidal zombie hoards! When those smart phone stop working, Walfart closes their doors, and you can’t follow the Cardasians on entertainment tonight, some heads are going to roll.

    • I agree. Anyone homeless for long know much better than most how to live and survive with few possessions. They already handle the cold and know better than most where to get water and food. I don’t think they will be the major problem. People that have not prepared, but are armed will be desperate and will be the bigger issue.

    • templar knight says:

      I believe you are right in many instances, dennis. In many ways the homeless are already living the SHTF life, and their adjustment would be easier than the ones you mention. Another commenter mentioned heavily-armed unprepared people as the danger most to be feared, and I agree that in rural areas this will be the case. In urban areas, well-organized gangs will be the greatest danger, so adjust your responces accordingly.

      A good thought-provoking article, Cliff.

  10. Cliff,

    This is an excellent article. I think you are correct to point out that the homeless will pose a great threat than gang members after the collapse–and for the very reasons you point out. Gang members are easily identified; the homeless can blend in with the rest of us.

    Here’s some more information on homelessness. The vast majority of the homeless in America are women with children. One out of every 50 children in America is homeless.

    The two leading factors for single who are homeless are substance abuse issues and mental illness. Of the singles who are homeless, 40 percent are veterans. This is a significant figure, given that only 34 percent of the adult male population is a veteran.

    On a side note: there is interesting speculation that tougher requirements to get into the service and more stringent drug policies will usher in a sharp decrease in the number of homeless veterans. The suggestion is that active duty experiences does not so much predispose one to substance abuse and homelessness. These folks had problems before they joined the military, and often (as in the case during the Vietnam era) would join the military to avoid legal consequences.

    Okay, that was a bit of a tangent. I find this sort of threat assessment interesting. I just emailed M.D. with a post on assessing the threat of gang violence post collapse, and I make the same point you make here–that gangs are unlikely to pose a significant threat because gang members lack the ability to fit in.

    I think our biggest threat will be the desperate masses.

    Excellent post Cliff. I hope this post is considered for a prize.

    • Wow…What a way to take a bunch of vague numbers and draw some conclusions! How about we stop sending our troops off to fight asinine wars and endure things no human should have to see and/or experience? Or how about we give them some services to help them cope when they come back?!? Maybe then they wouldn’t have to self-medicate and maybe end up on the street?

      • Why dont you keep on topic?
        Just asking.

        How about we stop sending our troops off to fight asinine wars (WHO ARE YOU TO DECIDE IF A WAR IS ASININE OR NOT?) and endure things no human should have to see and/or experience? (WHO ARE YOU TO DETERMINE WHAT ANYONE HAS SEEN AND SHOULD OR SHOULD NOT SEE)? Or how about we give them some services to help them cope when they come back?!? (WHO ARE YOU TO DECIDE THAT ANY ONE CAN NOT COPE AND NEEDS YOUR HELP)? Maybe then they wouldn’t have to self-medicate and maybe end up on the street? (WHO ARE YOU TO DECLARE ANY OR ALL VETS NEED YOU TO FIGHT FOR THEM OVER THINGS YOU KNOW NOTHING ABOUT EXCEPT WHAT YOU HAVE SEEN IN MOVIES)?

        Yes I know that all caps indicates yelling. However, since we can not use colors to differentiate who said what, In this case I am only asking questions In Context for clarity purposes.

        • WHO ARE YOU TO TELL ME TO STAY ON TOPIC!?! (just kidding) Gayle said that we need to have more stringent drug testing for our troops, and I was pointing out the reasons that so many of them are so f-d up. I am a converted Neo-con that is now a libertarian. I was all about the Iraq war, (“kill ’em all, let God sort ’em out”), but the more I have learned about the Constitution and the absolute corruption in the gubment, the more I have realized that we are not the world’s policemen and we have our own problems to worry about, that’s where we should be focused. That’s why I say all these wars are asinine.

          • screw that my unit gets drug tested every week

            • SurvivorDan says:

              And I think the ‘plague’ of mental illness among our vets is grossly exaggerated. The men I served with and others of my acquaintance that served more recently are no more screwed up then the rest of the population. Many police departments are now loathe to hire combat vets because of the possibility of PTSD arising later. They are worried about freak-outs but more so with litigation and medical costs. So combat vets are discriminated against. In 1976 I got 5 pts added to my municipal patrolmans exam for being a vet. Now I probably wouldn’t get hired. The vast majority of vets (for instance the 1,000,000 + who served in Iraq and Afghanistan, including my son the JarHead) come home and are functional and as sane (or nuts) as the rest of us. (no cracks from those who know me). The fear of vets is ginned up by this administration. Look at that Homeland security warning that went out about the home grown danger posed by vets. The mainstream loves to emphasize the image of the mal-adjusted homeless vet. That said I agree with my libertarian friend – serfsup – that the U.S. is way too interventionist. What the hell are we doing with 100 ‘advisors’ in Uganda? That’s how ‘Nam started … 100 ‘advisors’. And sometimes people have to take up arms but usually it is assinine. How about we force the politicos to serve or send their kids into any conflict and we’d have less wars. Ya think?

            • Survivor Dan,

              I agree with you that the U.S. shouldn’t be playing the world policeman. I have been reading a lot about Ron Paul. I’ve got to tell you all, my political views have changed considerably since I have been posting here. I should thank Lint, Ohio Prepper and Templar Knight, and I am sure others, who spent quite a bit of time commenting on some of my early posts. LOL I am grateful that I am awake.

          • Serfsup,

            I think you may have misunderstood my claim. I was saying that over the last 25 years, there has been an increase in drug testing of our troops.

            Drug use during the Vietnam War was tolerated. We have an all volunteer military. That enables the military to be more selective in recruiting.

            Twenty five years from now, we are not going to see nearly as many problems with veterans as we see today.

            • Cliff in Douglasville says:

              Clarification – the toleration of drug abuse in the military has never really existed except for the glamorized smoking of pot in Vietnam. The services began project Golden Flow in 1972 which meant, as an active duty member, you could be called in for a random urinalysis at anytime. Since pot would show up for up to 30 days after smoking there was a lot less of that going on. You never knew when you would get called in but it has something to do with the last 2 number of your social security number and that spit out a list and they they rolled dice or came up with a number and every 7th or 8th or whatever name on the list was called in. You urinated with an armed security policeman or Senior NCO watching the urine leave your body. It was done the same way each time so that when the courts martial came up they can put you on the witness stand and you can swear under oath that you may not remember that specific specimen being collected, every specimen with your initials was observed under the same circumstances. As a Senior NCO I had more than my share of attesting in the witness chair as people were kicked out of the service so I believe you are off target on the drug use in the military (today random testing is done more often and many times with entire groups or squadrons all tested at the same time)

            • Ms Gayle
              That tolerance ended in 1973 and drug testing was widespread. The war ended in 75 for the US. (Not so for the S. Vietnamese, Cambodians, Laotians and Mong ,with estimates of 2 to 5 million fatalities).

              There were 100 times more maladjusted vietnam vets in the movies and tv show then there was in real life. The left and hollywood needs villans and victims. OVer all Vets are a convenient group.

    • Lorenzo Poe says:

      I’ll throw the BS flag on the 40% of the homeless are vets. Really? You do know that that is someone’s ‘best’ guess, dont’ca?
      10 years ago the head of the Veterans administration in Texas was forced to resign. Why? He wasn’t a Vet. His deputy was named interim head but refused to take office. Why? He wasn’t a Vet either. Very hard to prove that someone is a Vet. A real one. You think that the homeless Vets are carrying around their DD214s? Are do you think that most of them have figured out that there might be some benes to claiming Vet status?

      • templar knight says:

        You are right, Lorenzo. And it’s good to see you posting again, haven’t seen you around lately. How are things in So. Louisiana? Other than LSU being #1.

      • Lorenzo Poe…..

        I don’t think Gayle was “slamming” vets.

        When she said that 40% of the homeless were vets…she wasn’t saying that 40% of vets were homeless. A huge difference. I AM a vet and I AM defeding them!

        • Lorenzo,

          Sorry, I didn’t realize you took me to be slamming vets until I read Hawkeye’s comment. We have a moral and contractual obligation to provide medical care to our nation’s vets. Money that should go to helping homeless vets is being spent on crack whores who have done nothing for this country. That’s wrong. I fully support better services for veterans. My folks live near Kings Bay, Ga. and my mom’s church just did a big fundraiser so a solder coming back from Afghanistan without a leg could have a good prosthetic. Homeless crack whores can get food stamps to buy pizza, but our guys coming back from war cannot get the help they need.

          • Hi Gayle….

            Actually I didn’t think you were slamming vets, intentionally or otherwise. I thought Lorenzo thought you were.

            While on the subject….and I’m no export….but I think mental illness is the big driver causing homelessness. Now that illness may be the result of drugs or contribute to beginning drugs but it would seem unlikely those folks could afford the habit very well. Not to say there isn’t druggies among them but there are more than a few druggies in most segments of society.

            I still think the real threat, in a collapse of society, is ANYONE who is unprepared and who is facing desperation and starvation: And we can’t necessarily single out just today’s homeless as the major threat or maybe even a threat at all.

            • Hawkeye,

              Yes, I didn’t realize Lorenzo was taking me to be criticizing vets until I read your post. Your comment was helpful.

              I think you are right that it’s the folks who are desperate who are going to be our greatest threat–and not necessarily the homeless.

              I have really been trying to drive home the point that a significant number of homeless people are dangerous. Many people seem to think that it’s safe to walk into tent city and start handing out sandwiches. Here’s my final message on the subject: when approaching the homeless, proceed with caution.

      • Here’s the source for the claim that 40 percent of American homeless are vets.

        Here’s a source outlining what the VA is doing to help homeless vets.

        If you think these statistics are questionable, please provide grounds for questioning them.

        • The first link indicates that the 40% only applies to homeless men. When gender is accounted for, veterans are only slightly overrepresented in the homeless population ( 13% vs. 11.2%).

          Also, not sure if this has any relevance, but the National Coalition for the Homeless (first link, again) is headed by Michael Stoops, who it appears may have (had?) a sexual affinity for young boys ( This doesn’t directly draw into question the 1996 study he cites, but leaves me questioning if maybe he has some perverse agenda for his organization overall.

          This paper ( cites a much more recent 2007 study that male veterans make up 11% of the US population, but 26% of the homeless. I admit that I got bored at this point and didn’t look any deeper into the latter organization, nor the study they cite.

        • OK Ms Gayle. Here is what I found, from the VA and a few trips to a few of the service providing organizations.

          The VA sent out a questionare to organizations that recieved grant funding from the VA to help homeless vets. The question was real simple. What persentage of the people you assist are vets. How do you determine this.
          The answer to the first question was always between 40 and 70% (Have to keep those grants coming in). How did they determine? They asked. Yes or no. End of discussion.
          No attempt to validate a claim was ever made and it was not required that they do so.

        • Gayle…..

          To your December 14, 5:01pm post…..

          Agreed again. Written conversations, lacking tone of voice and inflection, many times convey false impressions. I notice some of the more heated differences of opinion on this blog often originate for those reasons.

      • SurvivorDan says:

        Right on! “Can you spare a couple of bucks for a vet?” I took one of these ‘Vietnam vets’ to the Phoenix V.A. one time. They were nice to him that day and gave him a meal and got his info to send for his service records. I had doubts about him because over coffee he made a lot of strange statements about being an 18 x-ray and such. When I checked with the VA weeks later it turned out that fellow was never in the Army, let alone the Green Berets. Just a poser.

    • “40 percent are veterans”
      Sorry Ms Gayle but that is incorrect. I looked into this a few years back when the left was attacking Bush for not caring about vets. A much more accurate statement is this. “40% of homeless claim to be vets”.

      • Ron G.,

        I accept the correction. I would have thought that anyone collecting the data would have a means to verify their claims. But as you’ve said in a previous post, their funding might be contingent on obfuscating the facts.

        • Ms Gayle. There is no “might be”. There is no interest in determining the truth by either the VA or the grantee. The media? Forget that.
          The anti Vet propoganda that came out of the Vietnam Anti War Left continues today.

  11. Matt in Oklahoma says:

    “I don’t believe that the youth gangs, even though they are well trained and have a mission, are as much of a threat. They are fairly easily identified by the way they dress, the way they talk and the way they walk, but the homeless, in many cases look like regular working people, who have been doing manual labor. The cleaner they are the easier they can blend in.”
    A good portion of todays street gangs have normal jobs and in fact it is a requirement for some. I have encountered them in many environments to include church where a skinhead was attempting to recruit from the youth. Do not underestimate them and educate yourself. These are not the same gangs of the 80s in all cases.

  12. I’ve been homeless several times during my life (when I was a child and later in life several times by choice) and I personally don’t think the homeless would pose any more of a threat after a disaster than someone living in a house.

    It all depends on the situation, location and the individual. In reality the homeless are already living their own personal SHTF every day, but there is no guarantee how they or anyone else would react it the SHTF situation were country or worldwide.

    • M.D.,

      I too was “homeless” as a child. My grandparents bought us a plane ticket back to the U.S. and we lived with my grandparents until my mother found a job–a couple of months. The vast majority of hardworking, good people who meet tough times are taken in by family and helped out by the church.

      The chronic homeless, people who choose to live in the streets, choose to buy drugs and alcohol rather than pay rent and buy food. According to data from the National Coalition for the Homeless, 62 percent of homeless persons have chronic substance abuse issues.

      • “According to data from the National Coalition for the Homeless, 62 percent of homeless persons have chronic substance abuse issues.”

        Do you have a source for this?

        According to a factsheet from the National Coalition for Homelessness ( “Although obtaining an accurate, recent count is difficult, the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services
        Administration (2003) estimates, 38% of homeless people were dependent on alcohol and 26% abused other drugs.”.

        • Lexington,

          Sorry about that–38 + 26 = 64 and not 62. So 64 percent of the homeless have substance abuse problems.

          • Sorry Gayle, You are making a mistake in your arithmatic when you simply add the two percentages together. Many substance abusers have over-lapping problems of alcohol and drugs so it would be a misnomer to state them as independent and unrelated problems.

          • I have to question the math here because the statistics are related but separate and cannot be added together to reach an accurate result. Out of 100 people, 38 of them abuse alcohol. Out of 100 people, 26 of them abuse drugs. How many people fit into both groups? Not everyone who abuses alcohol also abuses drugs, but more often than not drug abusers also have problems with alcohol. Therefore, it would make sense to believe that in a group of 100 people, 26 abuse drugs AND alcohol while another 12 have problems with alcohol BUT NOT drugs. That would be a total of 38%, which we can round up to 40% to help offset our possibility of error. This would match up with another statistic by the NCH that 60% of homeless people are clean and sober.

            • In the psychological literature it is customer to use “addict” as someone who has a problem with drugs and alcohol, and to use the term “alcoholic” to refer to someone who has a problem with alcohol and not drugs. If we want to combine both groups, we refer to them as people who have “substance” abuse problems. People who have a documented mental illness and a substance abuse problem are called “duel diagnosis” patients.

            • MtWoman (N Texas) says:

              Gayle, would you please share which “psychological literature” you are referring to?

            • Mt. Woman,

              Here’s the link to the APA searchable database which indexes published peer reviewed articles.


            • MtWoman (N Texas) says:

              Hmmmm… Well Gayle, with: “More than 3 million records, covering psychology back to its underpinnings in the 17th Century”, I don’t think I’ll have time to search all that to find your source, and I’m amazed you do. Must cut into prep time. Anyway, I was interested in just the literature you personally got your definitions of addict, alcoholic, etc. from. But you know what, it really doesn’t matter. Life is like the story of the blind men and the elephant…we each see things in our own way, even the “experts”.

  13. I think that roving bands of homeless are a bigger threat where you live in the south where it is warm enough for concentrations of them to survive winter outdoors than here in the north. That does not hold true for cities where abandoned buildings are available for shelter. They will be a threat for the reasons that you said but unlike zombies, they will select their targets.

    You do however, underestimate the danger from street gangs. First they will take over their own turf, then they will fight each other, then they will move against the wealthy suburbs where the good stuff currently is, but eventually, the survivors will move into the rural areas. The analogy for them is not zombies but locusts. When the resources are used up in one area they will move to the next. And they will keep moving as long as they have the ability to do so.

    • tjg,

      I live in Florida and we have a huge problem with homelessness. The county I live in gives EBT cards (food stamps) to the transient homeless, and then allows them to order pizzas and other fast food with the card. Needless to say, word has gotten out and now there are long lines of transients waiting for their EBT cards so they can get restaurant food.

      The problem is that the more a county improves conditions for the homeless, the more homeless the county gets. And that means less money goes to locals who have genuinely fallen upon hard times.

      Keep in mind that when we talk about the poor in America, we are talking about people who have made decisions that land themselves into poverty. Note that 94 percent of America’s poor made at least one of the following bad life decisions: got knocked up in high school, dropped out of high school, got married before the age of 20 because of an unexpected pregnancy.

      Here’s a solution: Let’s help the 6 percent who ran into hard times through no fault of their own. And for the children, let’s send them to Utah where they can be raised up by the Mormons. (Think about it, of all subcultures in American society, the Mormons have done the best in terms of preparing youth to be productive members of society. How many drug addicted, alcoholic, homeless Mormon vagrants have you seen?)

      • Umm I disagree, 60% of the girls who got knocked up in my high school where from the mormon community outside town. All the rapes that happened physically in my highschool (2) where committed by mormon boys on non-mormon girls who they dragged into supply closets.

        I think they are better at appearing like productive members of society. Like any group you always have bad apples but…

      • lol I did all those things gayle. i agree with you there. I found a way out of poverty without getting rid of my kid or wife. but i would never let my kid get raised by a mormon. nothing against them. they just arent my religion. but i actually do know alot of mormons that are drug addicts oddly enough.

      • Unfortunately, the Mormon population in Utah has the highest rate of child abuse and spousal abuse of any state in the union. While I give them a lot of credit for prepping and helping the prepping community, they are not good when it comes to kids. A close friend of mine is a Psychologists in Utah who specializes in child abuse. She has been working with the governors of that state for a number of years to try and correct this issue. It is a very difficult task

        • I stand corrected. The latest shows Mass. as number one but Utah is high on the list and was for many years.

          • Lint Picker (Northern California) says:

            Well, Mass. is largely populated by Catholics, so why didn’t you correlate the abuse to Catholics in that state? You attack Mormons, why not attack the Catholics? And while you’re at it, why not blame Protestants in Vermont for the child abuse in that state? And don’t leave out Dearborn, MI. Surely the vast majority of child abuse cases in Dearborn are committed by Muslims.

            To equate child abuse to religion when that religion is the dominate one in a state or city is ridiculous. Of course Utah will have a high incidence of abuse perpetrated by Mormons (whether or not that’s even true remains to be cited), because Mormons dominate the population of Utah.

            It’s not really about the religion. If you were to attribute such vile acts to any other religious group, with perhaps the exception of Evangelicals, you would be called a bigot and run out of here. But ridicule the Mormons (or Evangelicals) and you can get away with it anywhere in this country. THAT, sir, is abusive.

            BTW, I am neither a Mormon nor an Evangelical, but I am willing to call out bull when I see it.

            • Too often we enjoy the comfort of opinion without the discomfort of thought. – John F. Kennedy

  14. I think gang members want certain things in life such as respect, material things (e.g. cars, guns, jewelry, clothes), and thick money rolls. They don’t need these things to survive, but they choose to take risks by committing illegal acts to acquire them anyway. There is a pride thing involved, as well as a desire to impress others in their group. The homeless may commit a similar crime on a low-level scale (theft, robbery) but only to the extent it is really needed to survive. They are not out to impress others as they would rather everyone leave them alone in peace. Murder draws attention to a person, something a low-level gang member might desire while the homeless do not. The homeless don’t want to amass possessions because they have no place to store and secure them. They don’t want to score a big payday or roll over a wealthy drug dealer, but they might engage in the illegal act of panhandling or snatch a few canned goods now and then. They really just want to survive to see another day so they aren’t going to put themselves at great risk in dangerous situations. They won’t often go looking for trouble, but make take risks if they think they can get away with it. Just saying, because the mentality is different I have to disagree the homeless would be a greater danger than gang members.

    I think perhaps there is more to be learned from the homeless you described rather than seeing them as something to be feared. They are one step ahead of most people in being extremely mobile with very few physical, legal, or emotional ties which keep them planted in a single location. They can endure extreme weather conditions while having poor quality shelters and minimal clothing. They have overcome a lot of their personal fears and elevated their levels of personal tolerance while living in such harsh conditions. They have learned to be very resourceful and independent, as well as refining their personal patience and various types of tolerance levels (temperature, pain, hunger). They have learned how to do more with less, improvise, and to do without. They can go for days without food and weeks without soap. They have learned there is strength in numbers, as well as how to join and live in a communal setting.

    If protecting a home is necessary then, of course, the homeless can be seen as a threat. However, most of us could become one of the homeless in a very short period of time given the right set of circumstances in life. For that very reason, take care not to judge them too critically.

    • Lint Picker (Northern California) says:

      The homeless don’t want to aquire a lot of stuff? That’s just not true. I have seen homeless with stolen shopping carts piled high with stuff. They have bedding, bottles, clothing, dog food, and other stuff that I don’t even recognize piled in those shopping carts.

      I once saw a homeless woman pushing one cart that was overflowing with stuff, as she pulled a second cart that was equally overflowing. They have stuff, just not the same kind or amount of stuff homeowners have. They value their stuff and will attack anybody they think is messing with their stuff. Most homeless are paranoid schizophrenics.

      Hey, all you bleeding hearts should come here and invite the California homeless back to your place. Then the rest of us can walk down the sidewalk without having to step over the homeless and their body fluids. We can then go to the store without some filthy paranoid asking for money in an aggressive manner. We can reduce court cases and mental health costs. Come ‘n get ’em.

      • Lint, I can’t agree with you more. I did an internship fresh out of college working with crack-addicted prostitutes in a rehab center. These “women” would slit your throat for $10.

        Sorry folks, but the vast majority of homeless are not harmless folks who have fallen upon hard times. Offer them work and they will spit in your eye. Offer them food and if it’s not the right kind of food, they will complain. I have seen this over and over again. The vast majority of homeless are drug addicts who would rather complain than work.

        If their own family won’t help them out, you’ve got to wonder why.

        People say, “But for the grace of God” and “You are only a few paychecks from being homeless.” This is simply not true for the vast majority of us. If you are the type of person who volunteers in your community, then when you need help others will be there for you. If you help out your family members when they need help, they will be there for you when you need help. If we did a survey of the nation’s homeless, how many of them volunteered at homeless shelters? How many of them gave to charities when they could afford to do so? How many of them tithed to their local church in order to help the local poor? How many of them agreed to pay an extra $10 on their electric bill per month so the elderly could have cheaper rates?

        You see folks there are takers and there are givers. And on the whole homeless people want to take, take, take while giving (and having given) nothing in return.

        At the local homeless shelter, we couldn’t even get folks to clean up after themselves. They wanted to sit around and smoke cigarettes. They were not asking what they could contribute. They were plotting their next crime, their next high.

        Where there are large concentrations of homeless, people wake up and find used condoms and needles in their yards. Parents have to clean the yard before kids can go out and play. This is the real picture of homelessness in America.

        • “If their own family won’t help them out, you’ve got to wonder why.”
          Whoop! There it is folks.

        • Gayle wrote “I did an internship fresh out of college working with crack-addicted prostitutes in a rehab center. These “women” would slit your throat for $10.”

          Give it up, Gayle. Is this no more a bonafide sampling of a population than another persuasive and personal brag. Honestly, I can’t keep up with all of your professional experiences, highly regarded skill-set, degrees, and enormous research in every field. Could you please submit your C.V. so that all of us idiots will just stop reading and thinking and simply defer to your knowledge and experiences? Sure would save us all time so we could prep harder.

          • Lynn,

            The aforementioned claim was based on my experience as an intern. Like everyone else on this website, I am sharing my life experience with the intention of helping others. It sounds to me like you have issues with folks who are educated. Please try evaluating the content of the remarks and refrain from attacking the person who made the claim. After all, we do have a common goal.

            • Gayle it might be prudent to understand that the content of those remarks were loud and clear. You’re not the only person entitled to a strong opinion, so if you choose to be biased based on one single experience in your life, expect others to either call you on it or say you are biased/bigoted/jaded.

              As well, perhaps it would be a good time to review your many, many comments with all of your many, many experiences which you share often. Somehow YOUR experiences are always negative ones against any individual who isn’t as perfect as you apparently are. And somehow, your many experiences have allowed you to become some type of self-appointed authority on what-is-what. Frankly, I find it very telling that your character associations become group assassinations on character. It’s always all or nothing, according to you. Always a 100% failure with anyone who doesn’t conform to your expectations.

              Not all of us buy what you’re selling. And for the record, I am not the one with educational issues (but I hold several college degrees). I just don’t push it in front of everyone.

              Like others, I call it like I see it and the bullshit meter has been going off loud and long.

            • With Respect ,
              A few years ago I was visiting one of our sections and an employee was complaining to me that while he had 23 years with us another employee with 10 years was selected as assistant supervisor. I asked this employee what he had been doing. Basicly what he told me was he had 23 years doing X. I told him he had in effect 1 years experience repeated 22 times.
              The younger, newer employee had aexperience with most of our operation including volunteering time in the offce dealing with the paperwork.

              We all take different paths, some are long and some are short. We learn from all of them. We learn different lessons from all of them. While taking one path we don’t take the hundreds of others.
              Our life experiences are different for these reasons. We are who we are and none of us are the same. Good, Bad, or ugly, thats what makes us who we are. All of these experiences are equally valid.

              And that is what we share on this blog. Our experiences and the lessons learned. Thee is no reason to concern yourself with someone elses life. Their experience and the paths they have taken.

              You are free to read, learn, or ignore it all together, or choose bits and pieces as you see fit.

            • Lynn,

              I will not respond to you any further. You are obviously not worth my time. I wish you well.

      • Hell if all I had was two basket carts to push around id probably attack anyone eyeing my crap too. Just sayin.

      • breadmomma says:

        glad you brought up the skitzy connection…several years ago…there was a certain California governor that became a certain US President…one of his finest acts was to shut down State Mental health facilities…one of the places that these folks lived in, were protected for the most part and the cost to society was cheap….now .the streets are flooded with these poor individuals that can’t take care of themselves…they were released because of course they had rights…well we know how it has all played out and in many cities, you will find whole brigades of these folks that do not understand and though they really need help, only want to be left alone with their meager belongings..I worked and lived in Portland for a few years and used to have “Parking Lot Bill” guard the cars of my students and employees from the local junkies…he lived under a tarp next to the wall of my building…his two shopping carts were filled with his bottles and cans and a few possessions…he kept out the bad guys and for a few meals a week and a couple 6 packs he was the best security ever…he was at one time a bank officer, but his mental illness cost him everything…many times I tried to get him help, but he explained that he wanted the free air and that the voices in his head kept him company and gave him good advice..the system was broken years ago and many just like him wander around…they are the least of our worries when the shtf…I think it will be the welfare cheats, the high school dropouts, pot heads and other lazy sob’s that will cause the most grief…folks too lazy to want to earn a living and the ones that expect something for nothing…the entitlement generation..thats the group that keeps me up at night…

        • Breadmomma,

          I think you are right in pointing out that the entitlement welfare folks will be our biggest threat. If their checks are not at the welfare office–if there’s some delay–they riot. They literally hold up the social security office. It’s so bad that if the folks at the social security office know checks are going to be delayed, they call in the sheriff before they even open the doors.

          They do not want to work. They feel entitled to their check.

        • MtWoman (N Texas) says:

          Breadmomma…thanks for bringing up the eviction of the mentally ill in Cal. That was a HUGE thing. I saw the results of that first hand where I lived. Truly poor souls living in cardboard boxes. And many of them were Vietnam vets with mental problems…a double whammy.

        • Lets be fully honest here. The state legistlature wrote the budget. The governor only signed it. There were also all of these bleeding hearts crying that these people should be free and allowed into the community. They had rights too.

          • templar knight says:


            In the interests of honesty, the mass release of the mentally ill from institutions across the country was a direct result of activist lawsuits. They saw the conditions in the institutions and wanted them closed, rather than reformed. They didn’t see any reason to institutionalize people who didn’t pose a physical danger to themselves or others, the courts agreed, and that was the standard used after all the litigation was played out. That these people were unable to function and hold jobs and take care of themselves didn’t even matter to them. They had their feel-good victory, and moved on to bigger and better lawsuits. The Courts decided the standards, the legislators and executives tailored their plans to match the guidelines laid down by the court orders.

            With such a huge loss of patients, the institutions were closed. Of course, the states saved money in the short term, and that is why the legislatures were happy to let the courts do the dirty work of going against the public interest. After all, the judges were not subject to elections in most cases. They could care less about the suffering of the mentally ill, and the damage done to civil society.

            I’m not insulting anyone, but we are not taught to critically think, and we accept many things at face value rather than taking the trouble to investigate the underlying causes of many of our social problems. The legislatures and executives gave over to the courts a large part of their powers(especially legislative) expressly for the reason that they were too cowardly to properly do the people’s business, and the closing of mental hospitals and institutions was just one example. They knew the public wouldn’t support the mass release of the mentally ill, so they had the courts do it for them. The misery and consternation the mass release caused is still apparent, and the destruction to communities and families is ongoing. And the guidelines established by the courts are still adding to the misery. If a SHTF scenario, the mentally ill will suffer disproportionately.

      • LintP: If you consider 1-2 shopping carts to be “a lot of stuff”, well, that would explain your objection to my comments. I disagree that level of “materialism” is equal to having a home with many rooms full of large and expensive items which took years to accumulate. I maintain it would be much harder to walk away from a mortgaged home full of nice things than it would be to walk away from a borrowed cart full of cheap, dirty, and replaceable items. Clearly, the homeless have the advantage in this respect, but it seems you missed the entire point of my post. BTW, all of the items you saw in that cart have a survival purpose so the homeless can hardly be accused of materialism.

        As for Gayle’s comment below, I disagree based on studies conducted by the National Coalition of Homelessness. They found the majority of the homeless are single men while 41% are in families. One-third of them are children and only 16% of the homeless have mental illness (mostly veterans). Half of all homeless people do not live on the street. The homeless who are clean and sober account for 60% of the total. Clearly, the facts show the majority of the homeless ARE harmless folks who are simply down on their luck.

        As it concerns being just a few paychecks away from homelessness, I can only suggest you do the math. The average family earns $63,000/year before taxes, spends $49,000/year, and saves only $400/year. They also maintain $60,000 in total debt and have access to $18,000 in various bank accounts (including retirement funds). With a sudden loss of all income the average family would run out of savings in 4.5 months. Bankruptcy and home foreclosure are clearly in the realm of possibility after an additional 60 days. Being able to stay temporarily in the home of a friend or family member because one has no home doesn’t change the fact they are homeless.

        • mr,

          The average family that you have described has made perilous financial decisions. This type of family has failed to prepare for an uncertain future. And homelessness is a possibility for them.

          The majority of people on this site understand that debt is a budget killer. Most folks here live within their means and set money and food aside for a rainy day.

          We prep so that we will not suffer the same fate as the typical American family.

          • MtWoman (N Texas) says:

            So, Gayle…are you saying that it’s possible to prepare for any/every scenario in an uncertain future and never have something happen that undermines your preparedness, and makes you homeless? If you’ve been blessed with so much fore-sight…and resources… that nothing can change your circumstances, I applaud you. But I believe most people, especially the “average” American family, have done and are doing the best they can, given what they’ve had to work with. Let’s practice some Christian compassion here. People make mistakes…otherwise we wouldn’t need a forgiving God.

            • Mt. Woman,

              The average American family is not doing enough to provide for its future. The average American family spends money on new electronics instead of putting money and food away for a time of need. As a nation, we have lost the value of self-sufficiency. As a nation, we make the government responsible for our well being rather than planning for hard times.

              There are steps, obvious steps, that the poor can take to safeguard against homelessness. First, stop buying beer and cigarettes. (Have you ever noticed on the bad side of town there are more convenience stores and liquor stores than anything else? That’s because folks there buy beer and cigarettes.) Second, people can live within their means. There is no law that says every American family is entitled to it’s own apartment. They can do what is common in poor Asian households–two families can share the same apartment and the living expenses.

            • MT Woman, it seems that Gayle get more and more ‘holier than thou’ with each post. ie, the one below.

  15. Alittle 2Late says:

    Just my 2 cents
    This is bordering on paranoid. Yes some homeless are bad, Most are not. Whats the difference between them and a group of people living in the sticks of Idaho? Location…. They are doing what they have to to survive. there is alot of violence associated with being homeless. safety in numbers ring a bell. Its fairly easy to rape or kill a homeless person (who’s gonna miss them). the cops dont care till the body shows up, tag it john/jane doe and forget about it. For that matter the general population don’t care either.
    watch the movie “trading places” eddie murphy /dan acroid. Its the person not the situation that dictates behavior.
    I look like a homeless person every day after work. This is part of the problem, everyone is very quick to judge, be it a first appearance or something they have no knowledge of.
    That said there’s nothing wrong with being watchful of you and yours just don’t be trigger happy.
    Stay safe,Be prepared Semper Fi

    • Alittle 2Late says:

      Just a quick question. How the hell do you “sneak” out of the woods pushing a grocery cart?

      • GT urban prepper says:

        Very very carefully and with a cloak of invisibility

      • breadmomma says:

        haha…I see it everyday here in Coos Bay…they sort of blend minute they are Jeremiah Johnson, the next minute your local bum on the street pushing a cart…homeless know where all the good trash it..where the cans are the fattest, where the picking is easiest..most that dumpster dive have systems…working in a group or with a partner is a safer way…I used to do it with two other women…one to watch out and the other to help get the food and stuff…we always wore gloves, and protective clothing, were careful with the glass and such and fed our families quite nicely…survival became the be all end all, and security was having a safe place to sleep at night and not fear getting raped, mugged or busted by the cops…having gone through this helped me for the rest of my life…been careful, and prepping ever since then…it became a life style believe me…

        • Lint Picker (Northern California) says:

          breadmomma, aren’t you diabeti? How did you manage to live without your insulin? (I’m glad you did!)

          I have seen homeless like you were. They are just people down on their luck and don’t choose to live that way, but do so until they can get back on their feet. However, in many communities in this state, the chronically homeless were offered housing and refused it. They choose to remain homeless because they want not contraints (property taxes, house maintenance, etc.) and they choose to live as part of the subculture. It is how they want to live, not merely a way of life “forced” on them due to prior legal troubles. They want to be societal dropouts. Society to them is a big fat dumpster that they dive into with relish and with no regard for whom they hurt or what they damage.

          I see these types of people everyday – they live in the bushes near the supermarket and at the post office. If you were to see them, you would not feel sorry for them – you would fear for your safety.

          Part of the problem with the homeless in this area is the marijuana and meth abuse that takes place. The drugs are relatively cheap and very easy to get, so these substances attrack the worst of the homeless.

          • breadmomma says:

            Hi Linty pal…yup..but I am type 2 and control it tightly with a good diet…beans and things…no insulin…
            I agree with you…it is the meth heads that really scare me. When I lived in the bay area back in the 70’s and 80’s, it was the screamers that walked down Market street that we all stared at…when I lived in Denver…we had a lot of street folks down on Cherry Creek…most wanted to just live under the bridge…some were scary some were not…
            there is a group that wants to just live on the fringes…I still do not see them as near a threat as roving packs of juveniles…they can cause real grief…the flash gangs and such…

      • Abia The Cat says:

        I look homeless, too, though I own land, a truck, and lots of stuff. When I’m in Walgreens or Kroger, the floor store security staff keeps an eye on me. I’m thinking as I shop happily around the store, “Well, while they are watching me the homeless woman I passed two aisles back has a chance to scarf up a can of pork and beans and beat it to the door while nobody’s watching.”

  16. j.r. guerra in s. tx. says:

    In south Texas, we call this type of community ‘colonia’. Not exactly a shanty or tent town per se, the main construction of ‘building’ is laminated metal (lamina (lah-me-nah)) or cardboard walls and ceilings. No paved streets, and ‘property lines’ are pretty vaguely marked. Water is often a community hose bibb, very basic electrical service.

    Mainly illegal and legal alien residents live here, people who have very little money to spend on housing and are basically starting from scratch. These people will have a big advantage when or if the SHTF – they already know how to live on little means and how to ‘get around the system’ when it clamps down on the U.S. population. And as stated above, not much to lose if caught, its not like they are afraid of losing their name on their own parking space at work.

  17. I agree with MD… i dont think the homeless are going to be a big problem. I dont really believe sex offenders will be a big threat either. I’ve worked with many so called sex offenders for the better part of my working career. Most of them were 18 or 19 with 17 year old girlfriends. I actually know of cases where women pressed charges against men because they touched them in a martial arts tournament.

  18. While the homeless may present a problem after a collapse, I’m inclined to offer a different threat analysis:

    Everyone, regardless of background and lifestyle, will be a potential threat. Most homes I’ve been in have only marginally more supplies than a homeless shelter. The perception of need is higher in many homes due to comfortable living and inexperience with deprivation.

    • blindshooter says:

      elt2jv, where have you been? I actually thought about you today, I had to do annual plant access testing today(all day with 3 hour drive on both ends).

      I know a few homeless folks in my area, most just prefer living that way. All are addicted to alcohol or drugs some are hiding from child support. If things got really tight they would be in trouble because they depend on the gifts and trash of people that if times get really hard won’t throw anything out or be able to give them anything. Before my own downfall I hired some of them to help with yard work, roofing etc. They would work as hard as anybody for the day but after getting paid you would not see them for another couple days. I would offer to take them to the grocery store but all they wanted was beer or wine from a stop and rob joint.

    • “Everyone, regardless of background and lifestyle, will be a potential threat.”
      Another Whoops! There it is moment.

    • New prepper says:

      elt2jv I completly agree, while social status may have some bearing.. When people get hungry and start watching their children/family do without they come after what they need regardless of who has it or what their values were in the “old world”

      • New prepper, elt2jv……

        Raises a good question, doesn’t it? That is: If a “good and decent” person or his family is facing starvation…is it then “OK” to do “whatever it takes” to survive. Or does his “decency” require him and the family to lay down and die?

  19. I sathe original article in a different light than some other did I believe. I saw the comments on the homeless less as an attack on those who are homeless and more of a comment on what happens when the homeless become the majority and there are no support systems in place for them. IE when no food banks or soup kitchens and say 40%+ of the population is homeless.

  20. Rob in Ontario says:

    I worked as a Security Guard in Toronto – its the 4th largest city in North America- in a bad area- the gangs i beleive will be a huge problem after it hits the fan- there are the Bloods and Crips there as well as they Tamil Tigers and yes they demand respect without giving it -we all know that they do drive by’s and kill each other now— a few years ago they had a shoot out on boxing day in the middle of the day on the main street Yonge St. and killed a young teenager they don’t care much now what they do or who can be hurt just that the police will track them down- but all bets are off afterwards the police will be looking after themselves and their families we saw that happen in New Orleans ( there will always be some that show up but if they not getting paid who would blame them?) and yes of course some homeless will also be a problem they are doing most things outside soceity norm now– and imagine the druggies that will not have their fix – and they will be ones to watch – and the poor – those that right now that we give money to welfare – mothers allowance what ever you call it locally– these people know the system better them anyone- I know welfare is being hugely abused by healthy young people and once they have no income no state pay check they will be ones that will be trouble also – I know welfare was set up to help people short term but now its a way of life for 3rd and fourth generation now but there are also great people that fallen on hard times that need it to get back on their feet and they are off it as soon as they can– I live in a city of 80,000 and have been trying to figure out how many people actually work here with our huge retirement population and equally huge low income population I come to the conclusion about 40% or less actually work

    • Rob in Ontario says:

      I was just re-reading comments above- and wanted to say – I was dating a girl we were serious talked about moving in together and thats a huge step for me never did that before- anyways I ran into her a few weeks ago I saw her on street corner didn’t know it was her until she walked by the truck- she had fallen into drugs heavily- she was no where near the girl I knew she was so thin teeth were terrible the term “crack Whore ” is what would be used to describe her – so sad to see would I turn her away ina heart beat did I love her yes at one time

  21. I think Cliff has raised an interesting concept, one in fact I hadn’t thought about. So thanks for making me think a little harder. The homeless “tent villages” seem to mostly house the drug and alcohol addicted and apparently the sexual predators. Those are the ones I believe we need to be aware of. I personally am acquainted with people who have become homeless due to job loss, or situations beyond their control. I don’t think this latter group is the type Cliff is talking about. This group of people usually are living out of their cars or RV’s or bunking with family or people who are willing to help. They seek out help from churches, DFCS, and charities. I think they aren’t normally the types we would see as SHTF “zombies”. (And I remember last week Cliff was one who went and gave money and help to the needy, so please don’t get on his case) The hard core drug and alcohol types, we need to watch because they may have a hard time locating their stuff and will get very desperate. I know I wouldn’t turn my back on them.

  22. This is where a well armed and organized local militia comes in , even if you have to train in secret .

  23. Chonte' in MD says:

    this is a very interesting article however i think the homeless are just like everyone else. there are good and bad in every group. how ever i have noticed a difference in different citys. i have grown up in the suburbs my whole life. i have had many people ask me for money, usually if you so no they move along. however i went to college in Baltimore right in the inner harbor and it was a whole nother ball game. one morning i was walking to work, i had a waitress job in the harbor. as i was walking i kept hearing footsteps but i told myself that it was people boarding and un-boarding the buses. eventually i hear someone speaking but i think nothing of it. i was always taught not to talk to strangers after all. well next thing i know the is a homeless man grabbing my arm and yelling at me to give him money. i have never been more terrified in my life and all i could think of was he is gonna kill me or rape me and leave me in a ditch somewhere, i literally saw my life flash before my eyes and my fight instinct kicked in. i hit him with my umbrella until he fell to the ground and i ran to work in tears. i have come across many homeless people but i have never had anyone physically grab me. so i don’t think they will be more or less of a threat then anyone else. everyone is gonna do what they have to do to survive. i’ll just be prepared to protect what is mine.

  24. Interesting article and a topic I have seen with multiple expreriences living in Los Angeles County and working in Los Angeles city.

    I have met many homeless living in the local mountains and foothills that are pretty good people that fell on hard times or just wanted to get away from the public.
    I have had run ins with the people that have fell on hard times and pan handle to get by and use charity foundations and missions for food, showers and clothes.

    The worst of them all is the addict! Many are fried in the brain wired for doing what they have to do to get by, beg, wash windows and demand money especially if you wear a work uniform, slacks and dress type work clothes of a supervisor or management. I myself have had to pull a knife or pistol to get these guys to back off and with many you cant just threaten but you have to attack them fast and hard if they threaten you. Those have been a small percentage of my run ins.

    On a personal note, like M.D. I myself by personal choice was homeless. When I got out of the Marines I needed knee surgery and with no abbility to get Social Security or disability because the year before I earned too much. I decided instead of taking up friends offers I decided to pack up my truck and lived in the mountains for three months. I did come down from time to time visting my sister or friends so I can shower, eat a fresh meal and spend time with friends and family.
    I was able to regroup and get rid of a few ghosts if you will. Some of them are in that same boat and are good people. I later went on to do exectutive protection and security management now working for a rail company and doinf the best I ever have.

    Many of the homeless are some of the best preppers/survivors I have met and have learned from them both in the mountains and interactions with them on the streets of Los Angeles.

  25. Tinfoil Hat says:

    While I definitely appreciate this well thought out and well written article, I also disagree that the homeless population will pose any more of a threat than anyone else, post SHTF. As has been pointed out, a majority of them are either addicts or mentally ill. While addicts are always a POTENTIAL threat, the fact that they are a homeless addict makes them no more dangerous than a neighbor with a cocaine problem. Actually, I might suggest that they, given the manner in which they are accustomed to living, makes them far more pre-disposed towards anti-social isolationism, makes them less of a threat. My experience with the homeless is primarily of the panhandling variety, ask you for change, if you politely refuse they move on to the next passerby. As has also been pointed out, I don’t believe they will behave any differently post SHTF than they do now. Being cold, wet, hungry, without electricity and outside is nothing new for them. I’m not saying they are not at all a threat. Only that I don’t consider them any more of a threat than anyone else running around after SHTF without a clue where there next meal comes from. At that point, the local homeless population and my sheeple neighbors are equally dangerous. Excellent article! Kudos!

    • SurvivorDan says:

      I reckon Tinfoil is right that the homeless are not as big a threat as they will take longer to panic and go zombie on you because they are already accustomed to being cold/hot/wet/hungry. And they have learned survival skills that the average yuppe hasn’t a clue about. It would take more deprivation for the homeless to lose their ‘humanity’ and hunt in a pack. Few have firearms and many are in bad health. And some will be further physically debilitated by the lack of their drug of choice. Withdrawal symtoms cause desperation but do not provide any useful combat ability/skills.

      • I am not convinced that the homeless possess superior survival skills. The vast majority of homeless adults are too drugged up to feel cold, wet and hungry. Post collapse, the handouts to the homeless will cease. Then the homeless will become violent zombies–like all the other unprepared persons.

  26. SrvivlSally says:

    Cliff C, I do not see where picking on people that have no hope for tomorrow other than what they can get from a food bank, doctors and odd jobs should give anyone reason that they will be the zombie pack threat when tshtf. I doubt there is anything to worry about with the offenders that have told the police where they are staying because it is those whom they do not have any knowledge of their whereabouts that are bit more threatening to society. There is no need to find their camps because, as you stated, the police know which tents they live in and probably know how to get to the them. You said that, while you were talking, someone came up, made some noise which you believe was an attempted break-in, and then headed down the road with a shopping cart. Were they looking through trash bins, cans, sitting junk and, upon finding nothing, left? Or, are you just playing on the assumption that they were homeless and a criminal as well because of the shopping cart or their looks and because there are camps around? Why is it not be reasonable for homeless people to want to protect themselves with booby traps or other means when anyone can walk in on them. Have you not heard how people without homes are frowned upon and considered less than those that do? A homeless person is you without a home, money and vehicle. Homeless people come from all walks of life but does that make them less than the rest? No. We all eat, sleep and shite like the next person and it would serve our nation well if we were a little more understanding and not ready to place the blame on them without any real evidence. Recently, a group that illegally foreclosed on thousands of their home buyers held a party at which they wore signs and mocked those which had become homeless because of it. The company has since downsized and some will soon be without the jobs that kept them from being homeless. Where will they be when their unemployment wages stop and/or they cannot obtain jobs? In regards to pan handling and grab and go thefts from shopper’s carts, pan handling is better than plotting to steal, mug or hand a teller a note and the thefts may be the result of people that have homes but want to take new items to sell on e-bay and other web sites to fill their pockets. Homelessness leaves a person with nothing and when they are seeking free sources of help just to stay alive on a day-by-day basis, fighting the elements ’round the clock, undergoing a real lack of comfortable sleep which wears on the overall internal/external body after some time, and working odd jobs, they probably will not have the time nor energy to commit too many crimes. When tshtf, just like in the days of the Depression, there may well be a lot of homeless people, soup kitchens and beggars. Never forget that homeless people once had lives and just because we help them does not give us a right to expect that they should be happy and forever grateful that we did, as their way of life does not end when we go home, eat a hot meal and climb into bed. Unless a person has been in a homeless person’s shoes they should never judge them.

    • templar knight says:

      Sally, I really don’t think Cliff was picking on anyone. He is speculating as to whether the homeless will be a major problem after the SHTF. I think the majority of people here believe that the homeless will be less of a threat than other groups, that the homeless will be better able to survive SHTF than many suburbanites, and that we should all feel compassion for the homeless because, quite frankly, we could all end up that way under the right circumstances. At least that’s the way I see it. YMMV.

    • SurvivorDan says:

      Few have stated that ALL homeless are criminals and drug addicts. But many homeless are. I have been a reserve deputy sheriff for years and many of the homeless have drug habits, criminal backgrounds and mental health issues. It’s not a queston of prejudging. If I know that certain critters are particularly dangerous (not all of them) as a species, I treat them all with due caution and care. Being non-judgmental when societal conditions are ‘normal’ is your call and usually not fatal but If you try to be non-judgmental when the SHTF, you will become an easy victim.

    • thank you for your comments. You seem to have a well rounded view of the problems we are facing if and when the tshtf. The sad truth is that the population has out-paced the resources and jobs available. Many people will go down and be desperate. I think we need to be more afraid of the people who already believe they are ‘morally right’ and ‘justified’ in whatever they do. Be afraid of ‘superior, self-righteous groups’. If you want to survive, then make it your mission to learn to live without the benefits of just stock-piling. Learn to hunt, identify edible plants and medicinal plants. Learn to fish and trap. Learn to sew, knit and spin. Learn to live without not with.

  27. There’s a sorrier city near Sorry Gulch that has banned ‘Predators’ from parks, librarys, and other public places. Some of them were 19 with a 17 year old GF, or even worse the public urinators. Then there are other cities that have banned them from living too near each other or schools and churches. Lists that follow them for life make getting a job near impossible. Now I wonder why they live in homeless camps. As for the vast majority of homeless having mental illness, you’d have to be crazy not to be depressed over being homeless. My dad and I were traveling back from visiting my GD in visit my sick uncle in Ca., we both have beards, and were refused the use of the restroom at a major chain gas station. We no longer buy fuel for the gas hog RV we were driving from that chain. My point is that people see what they expect, no matter what they are looking at. ‘Fear is the mind killer. Fear is the little death that brings total obliteration.’ ‘Fear is the path to the Dark Side.’ Be aware but, ‘do not take consull of your fears…’

    • SurvivorDan says:

      Most sexual predators are not 19 year olds with a 17 yr old GF.The suggestion that they are in the majority of ‘misunderstood/overpunished’ sex offenders is insulting to the abused victims of the majority of sex offenders. The tragedy of a life long ‘shadow’ preventing one from being hired can be terrible. But there are different levels of sex offenders. I as an employer was aware of that and dealt with each offender accordingly. The fact that being homeless can exacerbate mental illness does not change the fact that many of the homeless are mentally ill. And can be dangerous and are would be more prone to joining the MOB mentality during a SHTF situation. Obscure ‘Dune’ references do not change that fact. f\Fear is the mind killer. But naivete is worse.

      • Givemeliberty says:

        I’m jumping into this discussion about 100 comments too late, but I caught SurvivorDan’s angle on the “sex offender” being the 19 y.o. with a 17 y.o. GF. Where are these people supposed to live? Not within xxxx yards (varies) of a school, a neighborhood, a retirement home, blah blah blah…maybe there isn’t anywhere for them to live but in a tent in a vacant lot.

        I’m not trying to excuse the criminally violent.

        The larger point is that when the law is complicated/arcane/byzantine (which it totally is; the Gov. Printing Office couldn’t tell me how many pages/shelf feet were in the federal register) EVERYONE IS A LAW-BREAKER. When you personally become too “inconvenient”, for example, labelled as too likely to want to injure a law enforcement officer (as in the now-infamous MIAC report from Missouri), they will selectively enforce some law from somewhere and that will be that.

        Please, you people with brains, get involved in government at the local/state level!

        • Yes, find out which of the gubernatorial candidates in your state, when your state’s leaders are up for election, are pro- secession. Vote them in.

        • SurvivorDan says:

          For those whose offense was ‘mild’ but still labelled a sex offense….the life long sex registration and draconian rules about where they can go and where they may live are devestating. Sadly you may be right that homelessness is often the result of these policies. I have no solution only a little sympathy.

      • I don’t conside a Dune quote to be obscure but I do believe that MOB mentality is more likely in lower class workers who have tried to do the right thing all of their lives until they are truly desperate for their families. I haven’t seen any great evidence of MOB mentality in the homeless up to this point so I don’t know where you extrapolate your statement from.

        • SurvivorDan says:

          Sorry Lee, I should have said apt Dune quote. And ‘naivete’ was snide on my part. My apologies.
          I do not extrapolate like some big-brain ivy tower type but rather experience real life while working as a grunt deputy sheriff and during my ‘visits’ to disaster areas such as Katrina, Rita, et al.
          Yes , many of the homeless are just people down on their luck but many I have had to deal with were violent. Often due to mental illness or drug abuse. So as a socio-economic class of people one can generalize (just what it means…unfairly lumping them all together) that the homeless can be dangerous in a SHTF situation where services (and drugs) are no longer available to them. I have stated several times that I believe the next socio-economic group, the poor, are far more dangerous and have given my reasons. Followed quickly enough by the lower middle class and then the middle class, etc. and on p the ladder. The long and the short is you have to be wary of everyone, huh? Watch your back. Trust but keep one eye open.
          Heck, Gayle is trying to write a definitive threat assessment for post Collapse and we are reacting to provide more stuff to sort out. Let Gayle sort it out. I will eagerly await Gayle’s next threat assessment article. 😉

          • SurvivorDan says:

            And I forgot Dune was recently made into a movie. I had read it years and years ago so I figured it was obscure. 🙂

  28. Old USAF Nurse says:

    Threats may be better identified by behavior, rather than trite outward appearances. Beware of being fooled by deception or misperception of any sort– it can originate from within yourself or by the efforts of others. It’s that “street smart” or “sixth sense” thing. Think about being ready to practice IFF (Identification Friend or Foe).

  29. I live in a low rent part of northern California and I fear when the shtf that it will get pretty bad by the entitled entitlement crowd. People on section 8 housing on food stamps and every other program known to man.They may only have 1/2 gallon of milk for the kids but have plenty of ciggerats to smoke and beer to drink.But if a check is 1 day late all@(*% will break loos.That is why we should prep.

    • Axelsteve,

      You hit the nail on the head. It’s the entitlement folks with their mob mentality that pose the greatest danger.

      If they have enough money to buy beer and cigarettes, they have enough money to buy their own food; they should not be on welfare.

    • Lint Picker says:

      steve, I agree completely. They will be the real threats. Homeless are a threat now. Every day I hear of another homeless person who stabbed, robbed, raped, etc. But perhaps the media uses the term “homeless” as code for “illegal alien?” Don’t know, don’t really care – they are all going to get what is due them when there is no WROL.

  30. Lint Picker (Northern California) says:

    Let me see if I have this right. Some of you don’t want the homeless to be lumped together as a bunch of dangerous paranoid dirtbags, yet in the same comment you accuse us of being heartless or generalizing or unfamiliar with the true reason for homelessness. So on the one hand you won’t generalize about the homeless but you will generalize about some of us? Wow, that’s not hypocritical at all. (hear the sarcasm?)

    As I said, if you like the homeless so much – please invite them to your town. Frankly, I am sick of footing the bill for every misfit, bum, drug addict, unwed mother, crazy person, illegal, international banker, union employee, politician, etc., etc., etc.

    There are numerous outreach programs for the homeless, but you cannot make them take what is offered to them. They live as they do because they WANT to live that way. If you don’t believe it, come see for yourselves. Otherwise, you have no basis on which to dismiss my comments as unfair or untrue or unkind, etc. Come. See. Take a homeless home with you – PLEASE. And while here, take a few illegals with you, too. And Jerry Brown.

  31. Lorenzo Poe says:

    I don’t think that all homeless are drug addicts or criminals, but I also don’t believe that they are any greater survivors than the run of the mill suburbanite. They are not growing crops or harvesting wild plants for the most part. They are living off handouts. And like the bears of Yellowstone, when they don’t get their handout they will bite the hand that fed them yesterday. We all know that the cockroaches will be the last survivors but if you have ever gone into a long abandoned place, even the cockroaches have moved on because they need a host.

  32. button crazy says:

    But by the grace of God go I.

  33. In my locale, I don’t see nearly the threat from the homeless as from those that bugged-out in my direction without enough planning or preparation. Better the homeless than failing survivalists.

    • I would definitely have to agree with you. The first thing that many new survivalists learn about is bugging out. That includes taking guns and ammo. if yall really want to survive with out the homeless being a problem, go live in Fairbanks AK. you practically are a born survivalist living up there.

    • we live in the country and I was wondering how many of the rich city folks would be coming our way when they can not go to a bank or use a credit card to get food or gas to drive their big fancy auto, the homeless will be with us till the world ends, the rich will be homeless quicker than the poor if the banking systems fall, the poor have a little to lose the rich everything



      • Suga,

        The homeless are in poor health and when the free clinics and handouts stop, they will be among the first to die. Not all homeless people know how to grow their own food and live off the land. The vast majority of homeless live a subsistence lifestyle which is made possible by the welfare offices and homeless facilities. Post collapse, these facilities are not going to be well stocked. It is likely that their stores are going to be robbed by gang bangers and other criminals.

    • Plant Lady says:

      Boy, this discussion went bad fast! My tongue is shorter and bleeding profusely from biting it so hard, trying not to get drawn into some of the less well thought out comments.
      My comments below are based on a long-term SHTF scenario without a major die-off of the population…
      But I have to agree with Red…I am not worried about the “present” homeless – I am worried about everyone whose main plan is to bug out when things get bad…the future willing “homeless”. Reading many of the above comments about how it is the homeless folks’ own fault for being homeless by making bad decisions, etc…well, that is exactly how I feel about those who plan to bug out. I would bet that any of the “current” homeless didn’t actively plan to become homeless…like those who plan to bug out “to the country” are literally “planning” to become homeless when times get bad!
      Yes, I have heard all the excuses for not getting out of urban/suburban areas now…jobs, kids in school, can’t sell the house in this market…well folks, no matter how hard it is now to get out into the country and get some land and the skills to be as self sufficient as possible – its a heck of LOT easier now than after a collapse. And as important as OPSEC is now, it will be far more important once TSHTF…even if you have skills & a few supplies, no one out here in the country is going to risk their lives to let you get close enough to find out if you might be useful, unless they are looking for slaves or sharecroppers to work their land. This is because we already know if you were wise enough to be truly useful, you wouldn’t be out wandering the roads with your little kids looking for food and somewhere to live.

  34. Why not just demonize everyone who’s at all different in circumstances than “us”? That way we won’t miss anyone as a threat.

    • indeed i tend to be of the opinion that i was buying bullets for a collapse not for a certain crowd during a collapse. Seriously i dont care if youre homeless, in a gang, rich, poor, a fellow survivalist. If you threaten my family youre gonna regret it.

      • Luke, well said. We can argue all we want about whether the homeless are more dangerous than other groups, but at the end of the day we will all do the same thing. If a person (regardless of economic background or drug addiction) poses an immediate threat to our loved ones, we will put him down.

        Sill, however, I think it’s important for people to realize that there is a greater incidence of mental illness, alcoholism and drug addiction among the homeless than other groups. We are not just dealing with members of our communities who are down on their luck. We are also dealing with violent druggies who will do whatever it takes to get their next fix.

        • Gayle….

          …..greater incidence of mental illness, alcoholism and drug addiction…..

          Agreed on that; but just as a matter of curiosity-which came first…the chicken or the egg?

      • Chilly Beaver says:

        Well said Luke, cuz Im with ya, I dont care if youre a crackhead, lawyer, homeless, or the girl next door. Threaten Momma Chilly Beaver n the Beaverlets, and shit is on.

  35. In my area the homeless situation is not that bad. Ocasionaly we have the panhandler or “bum” begging for some money. Our real problem is young kids you do not want to work, but instead milk the system for what ever they can. Have more kids, get more food stamps free health care and free rent. They also use these so called benefits to by drugs. What is going to happen to them when the system breaks down. Iam ex military I recieve a disability check from the military and still work a full time job as does my wife. But if something did happen to one of us we would get no help because we do not have 5 kids and are not dope heads.

  36. The Zombies are already among us and destroying the country. They are the federal, state and local government. They keep eating out money, growing and growing every year. When things fall apart I fear the government grabbing all our freedoms. Shuffling people off to their “survival camps”. Confiscating guns and individuals storage. Unfortunately I don’t see it getting any better regardless of who is elected President. The only question now is can we a least get a semi-moderate to slow things down for another year or so until I build up my own storage?

    • It will cost the governmant money to do that, to provide funds for troops and camps. I think the USA will go the way of the USSR– fragmentation into smaller nation-states, a decentralization of power. The fed is broke. Only a matter of time now, folks.

  37. Back in the days of Reagan, the mental hospitals all over this country closed up. It is the one thing Reagan pushed for that I totally disagreed with. By closing up the mental facilities, the government saved a ton of money. The objective was to use outreach and clinics to service them as drugs had come such a far way in managing them and it was deemed that most of them could have a life “outside the system”. Unfortunately it dumped thousands on the street without life skills. Most of that group has by now died off, however, those that have followed have no place to go. Many are schitzo, bipolar and paranoid and without consistent drug control they don’t do very well in society. Yes there are many alcohol and drug abusers in the same boat, I see them around the town I work in all the time. They meet and hang around the local burger joints and grab food out of the garbage cans when they can and beg for change, which doesn’t get used at the burger joint but is used across the street at the liquor store. They get in fights with each other mostly and sometimes accost passing customers with bad language. As far as fixing them? Never going to happen. As far as finding something for them to do constructively, it does not happen. As far as treating them? The clinic has closed that used to help out. Unfortunately what you have left are desperate people with little hope and disorganized minds that may do anything if things become bad enough. What they don’t have is much in the way of weapons, if they are drug abusers those were sold off long ago to support the habit.
    For those that have been homeless due to economic and dire circumstances and spent time living in a car or a shelter, those folks have the drive to make their way once given any opportunity to do so and will. They will find a job, a shelter and will eventually get on with their lives.
    To lump them all together is probably unfortunate, but there are two classes of homeless. Both if desperate may take any avenue to take care of themselves or families and therefore require due caution. The gangs however are organized and have weapons, due caution should be Defcon 5 when confronted.

    • Worrisome,

      I agree. Reagan’s decision to stop federal funding for mental institutions may have saved money in the short range, but it has cost society dearly.

      I also think it’s important to distinguish between the chronic homeless and the situationally homeless. The latter are folks who have hit upon hard times. These are folks who are willing to work, folks who just need a break. It is the chronic homeless that pose a grave danger. These are the mental cases who are drugged out of their minds.

  38. Wow! This is a pretty lively discussion!

    In Montana most of our homeless are transient (winter is just too cold). My greatest fear is the large number of people we have that are dependent upon “the system” for their basics and spend their money on what are really luxuries. They have grown to except that they are owed a basic level of subsistence, and any money they “make” is theirs for other things. So they have NO BACKUP PLAN. If the social system falls apart they will be looking to TAKE what they feel is theirs by “right”.
    I remember Y2K and taking with a young fellow and the UPS delivery man. The kid said “All I need is a gun. I’ll Just take what I need from someone who stored it up.” The UPS guy asked “Don’t you think they planned for people like you?” By the look on the kids face, the answer was NO.
    Since then I’ve had a could of jobs where I was around the “disenfranchised”. The entitlement mentality is worse now than ever. When I’ve asked some what they would do if their entitlements got cut their response is always something like “Well, they can’t; they have to.”
    The concept that the “gravy train” will stop one day is totally foreign to them.

    • I don’t know that there is really “all that much difference” between the “homeless” and the rest of us except that for the “homeless” the S has already HTF….for whatever the reason. And in the case of their children – through no choice or fault of their own.

      Should the SHTF or TEOTWAWKI actually happen, there will be little difference between today’s “homeless” and the rest of us except that some of us will be better prepared than others.

      For those unprepared…hunger and desperation will drive them to do what is necessary to survive. In a relatively “non-SHTF” situation, as presently exists…there are other ways for the desperate to survive that is less noticeable or offensive (Food Banks were mentioned) than becoming a “Zombie”.

      How people act and what they do, when desperate and hungry, will depend on character, their then present circumstances and their upbringing more than today’s economic groupings. That means your neighbor could be the “Zombie” and the threat from him every much as real as the guy who lives under the bridge.

      I don’t view the “homeless” as “Zombies In Waiting”. I view the “Zombies In Waiting” as anyone who isn’t prepared.

    • EXACTLY! Just wait till WELFARE ends. Hoo boy! A “Zombie Apocalypse” is nothing compared to millions of desperate people , the welfare generations, suddenly losing welfare!

      • JP and JC,

        As a nation, we cannot afford to keep paying for able bodies people to receive welfare and food stamps. Hopefully, such programs will be slowly phased out. It we cut these programs all at once, we will indeed have a zombie apocalypse on our hands. There are folks who are between jobs or who genuinely need help. I think these folks will receive help from their local church. But need need to realize that there are families who have been on welfare for three generations now. These people do not want to work. I read the other day that in the state of Georgia there is a shortage of farm workers. The folks who have been on welfare for generations do not want to go pick peaches. They want to sit around and smoke cigarettes and drink beer.

        • Yep! The American farmer works to support — what is it up to now?- something like 460 other people? I think they oughta just discontinue welfare and put them to work on farms. Pay them a fair wage.That welfare system WILL end someday soon.

          • I believe in the separation of church and state. HeeHeeHee. Welfare is a proper function of the church and not the state. Given calls for separation of power, let’s end state-sponsored welfare.

        • Earlier this year, in one of our local counties something happened to mess up the available funds for food stamps and there was close to a riot within 2 days. People were beating on the plexiglass partitions that were protecting the workers and women were on the sidewalk outside crying that their babies were going to starve. It was eye opening footage on the local news. Won’t be anywhere near those offices if funds disappear permanently. That’s for sure!

      • Amen brother!

      • Rob in Ontario says:

        just imagine every city town and village with the people on welfare- or any kind of social asst and it stops

  39. They could surprise us all.
    They are more used to adverse conditions and getting by with less and being artfull at attaining what’s needed. Most of the general public could not make it as well as them, if conditions for everyone -became what they live with daily.
    There will certainly be a lot of threats from all segments of society, if things got that bad. They may automatically be more united in their tent villages and small groups. Looking at it from a un-attached point of view, they may fair well – ‘surviving’….. Where it may take ‘regular’ folks awhile just to get as organized with nothing, as they already do. And they are already somewhat used to protect their united group, and may be more prepared to do what may be needed to survive. The end most basic goal, is to make it through, and they could have some edge, over the masses of unprepared. After the first week, most of the regular people will be out of food, and in the same boat. You may think they may not act lawfully or morally, but if things got that bad, how will the people on your street, or neighborhood act and behave. Makes one think deeper into what it means to survive. Luckily, most disasters will be less than a week. But what if…..

  40. I am new to this blog (and to prepping in general) so take this with a grain of salt… but to me the most likely shtf situations where the homeless are wonderring would be something viral that would affect them more quickly then others. So I 100% agree that those that are poorly prepared and armed are the biggest risk.

    Honestly right now I would fall into the underprepared and armed category.

    • yeah… me too.

    • SickSkilz,

      Welcome to the Wolf Pack. We usually aren’t so argumentative. But this topic seems to have gotten us going. LOL If you have any questions, don’t be afraid to ask. The main thing is to start putting up some food and water. You can get a couple of cases of water at your local grocery store, and you can buy basics like oatmeal and canned foods too.

    • GT Urban Prepper says:

      To add to Gayle’s point, be able to prepare everything you buy. If you can’t cook rice or beans, learn how to before you buy them, or after, just learn. Also, start slowly putting away ammo. When you go to the range, get 1 more box than you will shoot so you can put it away. Learn some outdoor survival skills, shoot watching Dual Survival or Survival Man goes a long way actually, you have to practice those things, but you’ll get a better idea of what to do. Also keep a low profile about your preps, if shtf you dont want the entire block coming to take all your stuff. and most importantly, read as many blogs and articles on here as you can.

    • SrvivlSally says:

      Welcome to your new survival home. Do not worry because in no time you will catch up. You know, if you just spend five or ten dollars a month on food stuffs, in no time it will add up. Good luck in prepping and, again, glad you have joined us.

    • Thanks guys for all the advice. I will definitely start reading up on everything here. If any of you would be willing to suggest what my next couple priorities should be, I would greatly appreciate it. Id be happy to send a list of the hodgepodge of things I have done. My email address is my name above at

      • SickSkilz,

        I suggest that you read M.D.’s article “10 Things to do Now” and “10 More Things to do Now.” That’s where I started. And now I have a year’s supply of food and I know how to fire a gun (I still need a lot of practice, but I took the gun class).

        Stick around. Ask questions. We have lots of answers and lots of opinions. LOL

      • GT Urban Prepper says:

        I would take your list and compare it to the articles mentioned above then start to fill in the biggest holes. Become as well rounded as possible.. that’s my $0.02 anyway.

  41. Wow! I have news for some of the folks who have posted here: Not all the homeless are drug addicted, alcoholic criminals. The majority of the homeless out there are just that– homeless. Putting labels on a class of people just is not fair. Yeah, there may be a minority of them that do some of the bad stuff. But come on! MANY OF US are only a few paychecks from being homeless ourselves. Some of you all need to start making investments in your community I suspect. Stocking up on another few thousand $$ worth of SHTF supplies that you may not ever use? Hey– how about you donate $1 to your local homelss shelter for every $1 you spend on guns, ammo and MREs ?

    • JC,

      No one has said that all homeless people are drug addicts. I made the claim that the majority of homeless have substance abuse issues.

    • Lint Picker says:

      JC, please point out just who it was that said ALL homeless are drug addicted and alcoholic criminals.

      So you can put a label on some here but heaven forbid if somebody labels the homeless? LMAO, funny.

  42. Living in South New Jersey (in the SJ pennisula) will be interesting if something big or prolonged happens in the ‘max’ population of the surrounding metro areas. If they have to evacuate, it will be in all directions in swarms of millions. There are plenty of people already in my area, with development after development, but on the edge of more open areas of South Jersey – which will def be invitating to those blocked from going other directions. Since this part of the state would be hard to get out of for me, hunkering down may be all that can be done, and I don’t have a set place to go further south in the state). Not much homeless in the immediate area now, but there will be plenty of “Home-Left'” migrating down this way if something Big happens. Homeless or Home-Left, they’ll be pouring in…

    Folks (hords of them) will come deeper into South Jersey; running out of gas -just about here! Effectively homeless now, unprepped, looking for a place to go, and aggressive about it. Talk about real Zoombie situations…. It’ll be the same defense. Keep tight, private, unnoticed, locked down, closed tight, lights out, doors, windows extra secured. But for how long…

    It will be hard to tell who is who at that point, nor would it matter. They are homeless, want what I prepped, and want to come in and take it. They’ll try to campout in the backyard sheds, inbetween houses, playgrounds, and even heading to the end of cul-de-sac’s where I happen to live. Its not the best situation, and blocking this street will be meaningless.
    If I tried to leave to go deeper into SJ (with no set destination of my own), I Now would just be “One of the Homeless” myself, invading their area…

    Humm, I may need some closed-end property along the marshes of the SJ Delaware Bay, backed up to wet marshlands and the bay. Say Fortescue, or Moore’s Beach. Down the end of some dead end street that can be blocked off. But I don’t have that. Better get out the home ads and start looking…

    So for me, my summary is, there could be many homeless (of all sorts) coming my way from the metro areas, making it impossible to stay and defend. A situation and status change, that changes on a dime. Turning me, well prepped, ‘Into one of the Homeless’ trying to get out. Getting pushed further to the Southern edges of New Jersey, and my last stand.

    • MtWoman (N Texas) says:

      Tneigel…your scenario makes a lot of sense…you’ve really thought it through. I think the folks that get in their cars (or on their MCs), and drive (or walk) until they are out of gas (and are not prepared in any other way) will pose the biggest challenge. I live an hour and a 1/2 outside a large city area. I know who will be coming this way.

    • SurvivorDan says:

      Get a boat and stash it. Doesn’t have to be pretty. Just not leaking. Once had a 16 foot car top sailboat that I bought for cheap. Woulda held me Mrs. SurvivorDan and 6-7 backpacks of gear. Of course best have a spot in mind to sail to. Hopefully where you’ve stashed some preps. I left that future zombie land state years ago. Too crowded. Good luck. God be with you.

      • Diver Gal (South Fla) says:


        The problem with the boat scenario is where do you come ashore? Where do you go once you get there? How do you get there safely? Do I have enough sunscreen if I’m stuck on the boat long term?

        Living on the shore in S. Fl, I have contemplated the whole boat as an escape route. Because of my work, I have 2 that are possibilities. However, using a boat as my BOV and/or BOL has it’s own set of inherant problems. We have ‘stuff’ stashed on the boat in case of, God forbid, some sort of engine failure… boat sinking… etc, but for long term survival, I don’t know if that is the best option. Yes, I could fish to supplement the food supply, and there are ways to get the salt out of the water but unfortunately long term life at sea would be difficult. I say this as someone who spends the better part of 6 months a year on a boat or underwater. Storage is also a problem as is salt water corrosion on equipment. Any ideas anyone has to help me figure out what all to stash on the boat would be great though. I worry I’m gonna be 60 feet down when the SHTF and will be totally screwed.


        • MtWoman (N Texas) says:

          Diver Gal…here’s a thread on another blog (hope that’s ok, MD) about just this. There is also a video embedded about Jessica Watson’s 7+ month trip in a sail boat…without stopping for supplies. You could do more research about her I bet and what her supplies were. There’s also a couple suggestions to cache supplies in different places onshore that you can access later, which I actually find to be a good idea even for me, a landlubber. A couple caches buried out in the woods somewhere is a great idea! Anyway…maybe this will be useful:

          • Diver Gal (South Fla) says:

            Thanks MtWoman (N Texas),

            I watched the little video they had. I’m going to have to do more research. Fortunately, I have a bit more space than she does. Long term anything in that tiny of a boat would make me nuts…

            Happy Prepping, DG

          • Oooh, probably very useful. Hubby wants a boat, and when he gets it, I’m going to use that as plan B in a “I just gotta stay alive for two weeks and everything will slowly return to normal” scenario. Mostly it’s going to be allowing MRE’s and Treet into my food stores.

            Using a cheap kayak or an inflatable raft as a lifeboat should make it simple enough to temporarily land on a beach if needed.

            • kelekona…..

              If you’re new at MREs, you may want to check out the Emergency Essentials web site. They don’t last forever and are temperture sensitive, more so than freeze dried and dehydrated (not that FD and DH aren’t somewhat sensitive, as well). Just a “heads-up” in case, like I say…if you’re new at them. Not trying to influence you or denigrate the MREs…frankly, I tend to like most of them.

            • Sorry, can’t reply, maybe too deep?

              I am interested in MRE’s that have the longest edibility. I’m not sure yet about best placement, but I bet it would be wet.

              My teeth may be weak, but I’ve gotten good at swallowing things before I became so “real food” centric. I don’t recall getting cheap enough to swallow the wrappers.

              Heck, when I had an over-zealous budget, I used to be grateful for the waste-for-one closing special at the per-slice pizza place; and I didn’t realize that Steak and Potato Co. used soft rolls until after some 3 months of buying a hot sandwich at closing, sticking it under my desk for three hours, reheating it in a microwave, taking a ten-minute run, then scarfing it.

              Years after all that, I’ve noticed certain effects to low blood sugar, but I’m hoping that is “kill Bambi and eat cardboard” mode rather than the reptilian brain that says that there is nothing wrong with eating your mahjong partner.

  43. Diver Gal (South Fla) says:

    Hey all!

    Well, the opinions are all over the place on this topic and I have to say my piece since I fall into the middle of the opinions.

    During my 6 months a year that I live in S. Florida, I volunteer at a women’s shelter a couple of times a week. There are women there that are good people, were hard working, and would like to be again but have fallen upon bad times. To find an apartment they are often required to have a sizable amount of money up front, and when you are trying to feed and take care of your family, that can be quite difficult to come up with. These women are the reason I give my time.

    That said, there are also women that completely milk the system for whatever they can get out of it. They are raising their children to feel entitled to all this. These are the type of people that are ruining the welfare system for those who truly need help in the short term, and those that we all should worry about. Of course I see the children of my friends who have homes that believe they are entitled… entitled to a new IPOD every Christmas, entitled to every new XBox game that comes out. I believe we also need to worry about them. Socio-economic status doesn’t discriminate when parents don’t teach their children good values, and that is so often the norm in today’s society.

    There used to be a time where food stamps was limited to buying food that was at least somewhat nutritious. Those days are gone and those that abuse the system know exactly where to go to be able to buy their 6-pack with their EBT cards.

    I have driven by many panhandlers with signs that say “will work for food”. Owning my own business has given me the opportunities to offer jobs to some. All but one have turned me down because they could make more panhandling than coming to work for me. The one who took the job has worked for me steadily now and is in his own house with his family instead of the SUV they were living in when I hired him. He is, without doubt, one of my best employees.

    People are quick to judge the homeless; I was one of those people. And we can say we aren’t one step away from all that because we are making smart decisions about not going into debt, we prep, we are Christians…. and that the circumstantial homeless are in that position because they made bad decisions. Who among us hasn’t made a bad decision? Maybe ours didn’t land us in a completely terrible situation like some, but that certainly doesn’t make them all worthless human beings.

    Just some words for thought:
    The ‘average’ student graduates from college with $25,000.00 in student loans. As someone who had even more since I decided to go “all the way”, I know finding a job to support yourself AND make those payments can be daunting. No matter how skilled you are and how positive you start out With the job market the way it is and so many unable to find work, the problem continues to grow.

    I’m gonna stop my rant now, didn’t plan of going on and on….


    • Diver Gal (S Fla)…..

      That wasn’t a “rant”. It was right on and well said.

    • A thoughtful and intelligent post. Thank you for your insight and shared experience with the homeless. Also, thank you for the comments about the ‘entitiled’ people who believe that possessions are a measure of their character.

    • SurvivorDan says:

      That was no rant. That was all good. I rant. You just made some good points.

    • DG, Thanks for sharing this, enjoyed reading your thoughts.

  44. “channnnge…… channngeeee….”

  45. Lint Picker says:

    People, I do not want to alienate any of you. As the time draws closer for a major and widespread catastrophe, we need to pull together and not drive each other apart. I would prefer to unite America, not divide it any further. The politicians do a very successful job of dividing us, let’s do what we can to bring ourselves together.

    Let’s stop the bickering and the divisiveness and get on with prepping. I will never change my opionion, I don’t suppose any of you on the other side of the debate will chance yours, either. So let’s agree to disagree and live with that.

    I extend the olive branch. Will you extend it, too?

    • Lint:
      A Men Brother!

      Lets argue about important stuff; like at what number of flashlights does it go from collecting to obsession (mine’s guns).

      WE are not going to be able to fix the homeless/druggie/sex offender problem. All we can be is aware that these issues could become important and we always need to keep our personal radar up.

      So…. did I tell you I got 2 multiple LED worklights with the posable legs in the mail yesterday?

    • Cliff in Douglasville says:

      Link Picker,
      I have no qualms about extending my right hand in friendship to any of the people on this blog. We are a diverse (age, experience, life style, economic situation, time prepping, ect) group and will not always have the same ideas about things. That’s good because other wise we would be a group of people exchanging recipes for roasted road kill instead of actually making points and getting people to see that there are other points of view. No one is right all the time. YMMV. I have a vastly different background than say Gayle and we live in the same state and have visited the same survival stores. We agree that the gangs and the homeless can and will become an issue. She has one view on how to deal with them, I have another one but they are close. I’ve done the combat thing, I know that anyone can be a good sniper the first time. It’s the second kill that is the most difficult because on your first kill you see the bullet impact and the destruction it creates through your scope and that’s a pretty powerful image. I have no desire to shoot, maim, kill, attack or verbally abuse anyone. But I play by the set of rules my 61 years have established and there are things that I don’t tolerate. Attacks on my family or the goods to sustain my family is a no go.
      We all approach what we are trying to prepare for with a different mind set, a different set of prejudices against one group or another, and a different world view. Our discussion are good at defining some of the areas where we are lacking and in some of the areas where we are taking for granted that certain things will or will not happen.
      Although we’ve never quarreled I take your olive branch and offer you the empty right hand in a hearty and heart felt hand shake.

      • Lint and Cliff,

        We may disagree on this or that point; but the fact is we have more in common than we have differences. Most of the comments here are really productive. Even though people disagree, people usually have good reasons for saying what they say. I respect people who have through through their own views and who are willing to reevaluate in light of new information. That means folks are reading, thinking and considering. And in my field, for someone to take the time to comment on or criticize your position is for someone to show respect–what you have to say is significant enough to warrant my attention.

    • SurvivorDan says:

      Ah Lint Picker….nailed it. Ok then, my wife is annoyed that I added tomahawks to our Go-bags. Says they are too heavy but I did eliminate the slightly lighter short handled camp axes. I like the long handles of the tomahawks for exigent circumstances. Additional functionality for about 1 extra pound per. Eh?

    • Chilly Beaver says:

      Hahaha, Lint, you are a treat my man, I wish I could adopt ya. There would be times when I felt like feeding you your mashed potatoes with a slingshot, but others when I feel like pinchin your cheeks and sendin ya Christmas goodies. I love the fact that your shoulders n nuts are just about as big as your mouth. You are entitled to your opinions as much as anyone, and I for one will always listen to them, even when I dont agree, or think youre off youre medication. I believe the word is character, and you sir, have it in spades.

  46. Nanners from St. Louis says:

    Been reading blog for a few months and first time commenting.

    What a thought provoking discussion. Been trying to learn so me and dh won’t be a “failed survivalist”. As far as gangs and homeless people go, anyone who doesn’t have food will be a threat. Since we’re only a year or so into prepping, our adult children and their thinking we’re crazy may be our biggest threat. We have to remind them to keep their mouths shut about our food storage which they can clearly see around the house. I’ve been taken aside and “talked to” and I have one son who will throw out my stock pile of water at the drop of a hat.

    We did just buy a home in a small community about an hour out of the city. We couldn’t do the acreage with the lone house, but yes, gangs would soon overtake our neighborhood if we are stuck here in
    St. Louis.

    Thanks for all your information you’ve given me and interesting topics to learn from.

    • MtWoman (N Texas) says:

      Wish you luck Nanners. Are there any other preppers around you can join with? Maybe seeing that there are many who are prepping, and that you’re not just on some “crazy” trip will help with the kids. I am VERY fortunate that my son is on board, but his GF is not, and that’s a challenge. I imagine that if TSHTF, your children will be seeking you out for help.

      • Nanners from St. Louis says:

        Thank you MtWoman. We’ve been led to some people but so far it’s been to give them direction. I’ve sent this website to a few people. Only a couple believe anything bad will happen but they don’t think it could REALLY be that bad. I’m just trying to gather lots of rice and beans to start. I’ve been called on a mission to “stock the silo’s” and I’ll do my best. Since I’ve finally posted, I feel more officially part of the Wolfpack. Thank you all!

    • Nanners,

      Welcome to the Wolf Pack. If you have questions, ask away. As you can see we have plenty of answers and opinions. LOL

      • Nanners from St. Louis says:

        Thanks Gayle. I am getting a lot of valuable information. Lots of copy and paste information.

        • Nanners,

          If you are fairly new to prepping, read M.D.’s posts “10 Things to do Now” and “10 More Things to Do Now.” That’s how I got started.

  47. Uncle Charlie says:

    Hey Diver girl, thanks for taking a reasonable position on the homeless. Especially now, not all homeless people are mentally ill, druggies or worthless pieces of crap like some have said in not so many words. Nowadays, many of them didn’t even necessarily make bad judgements. They (whoever they are) used to say all we had to do to have the American dream was to work hard and have 6 months in savings. Well, many of those people are now down and out because they lost their jobs through no fault of their own, despite what Herman Cain or Newt say, and six months have passed them by and no new job no matter how hard they try and they have lost everything. I understand that many corporations that do hire, won’t hire the unemployed. You can’t win. I just saw something about Slab City in California where many newly “homeless” people are moving to along with the long time snow birds. Now some of them have trailers, so technically I guess they’re not homeless. But I consider them homeless, because they’re not doing so voluntarily like MD did before he moved “up town.” But apparently they’re semi organized and have shotguns to protect themselves. Also many homeless are mentally ill (not from drugs or alcohol). I have some familiarity with mental illness as my brother in law is full blow bat shit crazy. I think the actual term is paranoid schizophrenia. Most mentally ill folk living under a via duct tend to be victims rather than predators, except for the skin heads. My brother in law became a skin head but fortunately he did not join a gang of like minded zombies. He is institutionalized (because he was considered dangerous to himself and others) which is somewhat rare these days, yet his facility is over crowded. Also Gayle, do you really think all crack whores got that way on purpose? I have read that in places like NYC that they give crack away free to teenagers because it is instantly addictive. Pimps in NYC who have stables of crack whores keep them that way by feeding their habit. It’s a modern form of slavery. I know they’re mean and will slit your throat but they are addicted, regardless of how they got that way. I will grant you that druggies can and will be dangerous to feed their habit which will be hard to fill unless the meth makers are preppers too. To get back to the original article, I too live in Atlanta, part time anyway. I live east of Atlanta (but within I-285) and there are gangs within a mile of my house as the crow flies. I’ll trade you my gangs for your homeless people anytime. Gangs are armed and dangerous. If there is a complete in law and order, think Mad Max not zombie-land. I’m not sure I understand the part about them not fitting in or standing out. If there is some kind of law, you may have a point but if there is no law, beware Will Robinson, beware. One more point before I retire, it’s getting to be my bed time (I like to get in before the sun comes up), let’s be careful how we throw around the word “entitlement.” Entitlement by definition means that one has a contractual right to something. When the politicians are talking about it, they’re mainly talking about Social Security and Medicare. This also covers Veterans’ benefits and disability. So when politicians rail on about reducing entitlements, they not just talking about able bodied Americans who don’t want to work, but people who did work for the most part. After reading some of the above, I feel that Preppers might be the most dangerous group around. After all, they will be armed and if things don’t go as they planned, they maybe very dangerous. Just remember that you too may be homeless after TEOTWAWKI. A major EMP exposure, natural or otherwise, could catch many of us unprepared. On no you say, I’m prepared to the hilt; but in a EMP situation if all of your supplies are at you bug out location, your screwed because you can’t get there unless it’s within walking distance. But let’s say your plan is to hunker down in place and you’re at work. Say you live and work in greater Atlanta like the writer of the article. Greater Atlanta encompasses 28 counties. You could easily be 50 or sixty miles away from home by interstate. Even with your bug out bag, you may be screwed, because we all know from history what happens in many major cities when the power is out. Good luck then! You will be homeless without a working car unless you have enough food and water in your vehicle to hunker down and it is out of sight in a dark corner of a parking garage. And if you are discovered by by that certain element, then you will be looked down upon as a sitting duck once your ammo runs out assuming you have a hand gun on your person and also in the glove box and a rifle in the trunk. Of course if you’re living in your redoubt, then you will be better off that most. So in the US anyway, stay at home Mormon moms will be one of the better groups to be in and I assume they’re all armed to the teeth and know how to shoot. Worldwide, the Swiss will keep more of it’s population in tack than any other country because their government is prepared. They can put 60% of their population underground when doomsday comes. By the way, welcome to the new preppers and remember water and a way to protect it should be your first priority, where ever you are.
    Good luck and let’s hope we never need it and try not to shoot too many homeless people between now and then.

  48. MtWoman (N Texas) says:

    What is the point of “surviving” if we’ve lost our humanity? Do I want to survive, locked away in a bunker somewhere, isolated from all others? Hell no. I believe there is good and not-good in all people. I believe in the teaching that you reap what you sow and in the Golden Rule. I choose to believe that WISE charity and compassion are the best behaviors.

    And since we are all FANTASIZING anyway as to what will happen if and when TSHTF (or if there is a Zombie Apocalypse), I’ll choose to fantasize that not all who show up will be dangerous, that safety is possible, and that I will help those who I can. I am prepping for myself and my family, but will help any I can. I have standards, and if someone presents a danger or a threat, I will defend myself and my loved ones. But I choose not to live in the mentality of paranoia, distrust, and suspicion. There is still good in the world and in people.

    Could I be raped, shot, killed, stolen from, taken advantage of, made homeless? You bet. That could happen NOW. There’s ALWAYS someone stronger, better armed, quicker, faster, more prepared who can take advantage of you. To the people who feel they are ‘safe’ because of their preps, God forbid you come across anyone with ‘better’ preps than you.

    In reading this post and some of the comments here, I think that if someone came to this blog to learn about prepping because it’s a prudent thing to do, but were skeptical because of how they’d heard that preppers were “crazy, militant, intolerant & narrow-minded”, and they read this post and comments, they would be put off. That would be a shame.

    That all being said, I see good points in this post by Cliff and in many of the comments. There ARE many dangerous groups and we DO need to consider many scenarios to prep for. But, I think we need to ask ourselves, What is the point of survival? Of prepping? What end are we after? I would have it be a “we”, not an “I”. If the post-SHTF scenario is one of armed people on the prowl and in bunkers, and if my compassion gets me killed, then so be it. I will have lived my beliefs, and that counts…that’s all that counts, really.

    And I want to take the space here to thank MD for this amazing place, where I can learn so much. And to thank the other subscribers for their knowledge…and humor.

    And, BTW, there are over 6000 (SIX THOUSAND) subscribers to this blog…almost 7000. Something to be aware of, I think. Bless us all.

    • I kind of have a similar attitude on the nature of survival. In the future, I hope to treat the world as “that place where the internet comes from.” But, I don’t want to live in a world where I have to deal with people who wouldn’t know what toilet paper was if it bit them on the behind.

      My prepping might be useless depending on when the depression conquers me, but at least I’ll be comfortable when I go. It will be less comfortable if I fail to keep the looters out of the garden and hen house.

  49. Cliff in Douglasville says:

    Just as a follow-up where someone said most of the sex offenders are the 19 year olds with 16 year old girlfriends, I got an email alert that 4 sex offenders moved in to my zip code this week. Of the 4, 1 might fit that profile, but the others, were 1 Child Molester, 1 Indecent Exposure and 1 Aggravated rape and sodomy. Three of the have regular addresses. One is in tent 14 of area 3. So, it’s not just the teenagers getting caught having sex that are ending up on the sex offender list (by the way, there is a national list available on line if you ever want to check on any of your neighbors)

  50. sw't tater says:

    I have been following this thread with interest…one thing about this site, someone will present an opinion and many others will bring out valid points for all to consider.
    We don’t have a huge population of homeless in our area, due to the lack of jobs and percentage of people dependent on their monthly check. Where there is no ready jobs for an influx of new residents…the homeless don’t stand in line at the nearest intersection.. No profit in it.Too much time to get enough to eek by.
    With most persons in our area having a struggle to make it from payday to the next…I have found some cost cutters that have provided some assistance to a few making our own laundry detergent, using basic ingredients in unusual ways.In doing this I have found a few persons willing to think ‘survival’…but many are already in a crisis.
    One of the major concerns is medications… being needed, but present and future insurance not covering specific medications. Some require name brand drugs for which there is no generic, ..
    So, Help Wolfpack ! Does anyone have a website for a legitimate company where we can obtain medications legally, but at a reduced price? We are not in this boat alone, several here are in the same predicament but… Three of my honey’s rx’d drugs are greater than 350$ per month. We need to cut this amount very quickly because two will only be available on new plan for about 4 months and the most expensive one ,550$,will not be covered at all.

    • Lint Picker (Northern California) says:

      sw’t tater, if you post your questions on Saturday, during the weekly “What Did You Do To Prep This Week” topic, you would undoubtedly get some useful answers.

      I’ll try to help, for what it’s worth – you can buy pet/fish medications that are supposed to be similar to human meds. I think your farm supply store would be a good place to look. Also, you do a search on this blog in the archives to find previous blog postings that refer to this subject.

      There is a youtube channel by The Patriot Nurse in which medications are discussed. Check her channel for ideas.

      Good luck, and welcome to the Wolf Pack.

    • Dang. I would be looking into Canada Generic. I have a friend who orders from them.

  51. sw't tater says:

    Thanks in advance!

  52. Uncle Charlie says:

    Cliff, remember many times indecent exposure (depending on the local law) is just some kid taking a wiz because he drank too much and a lack of public rest rooms, especially when every shuts down in the wee hours of the morning. I’m not disagreeing with you, I’m just saying. When I was much younger I use to do that once in a while; once under a lamp post so I could see what I was doing! Not too smart, but then I was a teenager who drank to excess occasionally. Fortunately, the police never observed me doing so and the statue of limitations has run.

    • Chilly Beaver says:

      At one point in my youth I was questioned by 2 local law enforcement officials while caught with my pants down (literally) on the steps of the local courthouse. Where I could have received a public intoxication fine, as well as indecent exposure. Luckily, back in those days, the local cops were a little more tolerant with “stupid kids” then today. Thats probably because we never went out of our way to hurt anyone, always treated them with respect, and they knew that after they had seen our parents at the local coffee shop the next morning, there would be more then enough punishment doled out on the home front!

    • Cliff in Douglasville says:

      Uncle Charlie, when I posted the new list of sex offenders in my area I didn’t include their ages. The statutory rate offenders was 23 when it happened. He could have had a 16 or 17 year old girlfriend, it’s not unheard of.
      For the indecent exposure it was a 46 year old man that committed the crime 3 years ago. I seriously doubt that he was caught taking a wiz behind the building and then put on the sex offender list for just that but I could be wrong. It was my error in not putting in the ages since they are germane in this case.

  53. Hmmm, interesting topic and I feel I should chime in even after coming late.

    Well, sweeping generalizations are gonna be wrong at some point. But depending on how it goes down, I think there are a few categories that are going to get more notoriety than the bad type of current homeless.

    Jocks and thugs mushed together; people who have been in aggressive categories before. I’m not sure what happens to the high-school bully once he graduates.

    I think that the credit-card users who are used to more than 2,500 calories a day, and those who are used to a comfortable existence on the edge of their means, are probably going to be quicker to unsavory methods.

    Then you get the homeless, and I imagine that the non-confrontational ones are going to be the problem once the dumpsters stop containing anything edible. (Bears in a drought issue.) They’ll sneak in during the night and try to steal your beans without waking you up.

  54. Oh, and…. well can we all pretend I found a polite way of putting it?

    I had trouble making breaks in my posts for this topic, too… but please don’t post more than 8-10 lines without hitting the enter key. (Or go back and find places to form internet-paragraphs of two sentences.) I know that grammar and possibly spelling doesn’t need to be perfect on the internet, but white space is easier to read on a screen.

    Nothing personal, I realize the passion involved. I’m not even sure how many people made long-posts. Please and thank you.

  55. Cliff, the vast majority of individuals who are classed as “homeless” are not actually homeless but this is what we’ve been accustomed to thinking by the word choice. Homelessness translates to a nomadic, vagabond lifestyle and the majority of “homeless” people are not nomadic. Most are simply setting up a temporary shelter (aka “home”) without paying for a shelter or for maintenance or taxes. I believe that the “homeless” are freeloaders because they are taking (or recycling) free materials they have scrounged and are making do with very little. They are living low, some would even say living simply. Some are living ‘off the system’, others are in a mode of survival. The big common denominator though is that the “homeless” are generally NOT homeless — they will set-up-home anywhere they are able to squat, no matter who’s property they squat upon.

    Lifestyle is a choice and these people who are “homeless” or “freeloading” choose a different set of values than we have. They have opted out of a normal, law-abiding society that is based on consumerism and a monetary system. They’ve opted out for a variety of reasons. I’ll guarantee some have made it into the “Occupy” movement too. Maybe there’s more drama/excitement doing that than just hunkering down in a tent pitched along the wood’s edge.

    Not all of these people are substance abusers despite the incorrect computation of statistics. Glad to see a good number of folks who challenged the resident expert on everything.

    Cliff, my take on “trust” with a group of “homeless” people would be no different than any other group of people. Trust is earned. With me, there would be no extension of trust with one stranger or a group of strangers.

    Very good post — I enjoyed reading this, although late to comment.

  56. Daaswampman says:

    Does it matter what the problems or cause of homelessness is? They are a hazard. Daaswampman

  57. JakeKasota says:

    I deal directly with quite a number of homeless people on the central California coast and just want to report some first-hand observations. Yes, there are plenty of messed up, alcoholic, drug-addicted, socially deviant homeless people out there. But from what I’ve seen the overall percentage isn’t any higher than your average office environment. A far larger percentage of homeless people are mentally or emotionally “disturbed”. I use that term very loosely because the vast majority seem to have fallen victim to the “Kicked Dog Syndrome.” They simply were either pushed beyond their capacity to cope or woke up to The System and made a conscious decision to… do what? Get Off The Grid.

    Along with the creeps, freaks, and students of modern chemistry out there wandering around there are also famous musicians from the 1960’s and 70’s (I’ve talked to them personally and listened to their music. Chances are you have too.); authors with dozens of books on the market (I’ve talked to them personally and read their books); ex-nuns, psychologists, counselors, business owners, working stiffs, and lots of people who DELIBERATELY got out of their homes before foreclosure and are living in their cars, RV’s, vans, tents, or the bushes by choice in order to save enough money to get out of debt; get off the grid; and get out of dodge. These people still take bathes regularly, eat three meals per day, wash their clothes once per week, cut their hair, and go to work every day in their offices. In fact, you can’t tell their homeless just by looking at them, smelling them, or talking to them. A surprisingly large number of them spend their daylight hours sitting in office cubicles!

    A short story: Just last week I walked up to two of my homeless friends in a local park. One of them had scored several large boxes of about-to-be-discarded sealed wrapped foods that had just been dropped out by the dumpsters at a local supermarket courtesy of a sympathetic employee. My two friends were dividing up a dearth of excellent foodstuffs for themselves and other homeless people and they told me to take as much of their food as I wanted.

    I asked how much they wanted for all that stuff and you know what they said? “Nothing.” They didn’t want a damn thing. I told them I couldn’t take any of it because I wasn’t homeless and they should give it to the people who were. They said “It’s okay. We want you to have this because you’ve been nice to us. You’ve been a friend and treated us like real people and you’ve helped us out when we needed a few dollars for gas, or a lift to a store, or to the post office, or to the flea market, or to the library.”

    I don’t mind telling you I just about broke down and cried right there people. I mean, what the hell do you say to a statement like that coming from a person in that position? I’ve had some good paying jobs over the years, and I’ve been offered a lot from time to time, but never EVERYTHING. These guys have a very real battle just to survive every night because while there’s a dearth of programs to get them BS food stamps and clothing not one program (here locally anyway) will give them blankets to keep warm with at night! And not one program offers them any kind of cash allowance to run their heaters (if they even have any)! (Oh no! They’ll just use the money for booze or drugs! Of course if they come back under and submit to The System something could probably be done…)

    Most of these people are out there because the system beat them into the streets, just as it’s doing to millions of other Americans every day. These people have no desire or incentive to re-enter the society that is represented by this system, and who can blame them? Certainly not anyone reading this blog! Who wants to re-enter this slave system?

    I’ve been a prepper for some time now and I’ve steadily compared what I’ve read here and on other blogs to what I’ve learned from these people by watching them and talking with them. We’re more alike than you might realize. Yes, these people go out into the parks and bushes every night after they close to the public. There most of them build small campfires; cook their meals; maybe do some housekeeping chores; and perhaps chat with one another. Many nights they also fight off-many times by hand or with a knife-bears, mountain lions, snakes, coyotes, raccoons, rats, and a dearth of other not-so-nice critters that are just as hell-bent on taking away what little they’ve got as the people employed in those disgraceful “Help The Homeless” programs. I can assure you this type of thing happens. Homeless people who get mauled by animals NEVER have their story told in the papers.

    My personal feeling is there’s much that can be learned from those homeless people who are not too far gone yet. It’s been my observation that those who aren’t are highly mobile (by foot, bike, or vehicle), inventive, creative, extremely adaptable, well organized, hard working, and very giving and supportive once YOU earn THEIR trust. What they have going is something better than any so-called commune I’ve ever heard of. They build their own Rocket Stoves and Dutch Ovens from scrap. They can build all-natural toilets that are better than any sawdust toilet or portable you can buy. They use a sealer from nature on the roof of their vehicles and rips in their ponchos. They not only know edible roots, gourds, and mushrooms but also which taste the best!

    Lastly, most of them don’t even have BB guns, let alone firearms. The closest the majority of them come to weapons is knives and sling-shots (both of which may be bought or self-made). They survive by discretion, not offense. They are Moving Target Survivor Subscribers. They are not looking to go hunting for-or confronting-unfriendly or unknown humans. They don’t NEED to. But they too set up their defensive zones and egress routes. They know how to blend in and disappear if they chose to. They know how to thoroughly go-to-ground. They know how to build delay into ingress routes to buy them time to make their egress from the area.

    Basically, they want to be left alone to live as they choose every bit as much as we do. And I’ll tell you something else. Many of them who are down at the ‘homeless’ bottom are in the process of, or already have, re-discovered their own humanity and love and cooperation with their fellow humans. I have found a larger percentage of decent people there at in The Great Outdoors than I have at The Office.

    Anyway, that’s just my .02.

  58. I think that knowing whether the people in the camps are dangerous is a matter of education. I can tell you that the majority of Sex offenders that are homeless are not there by choice. They are there because living restrictions make it impossible to find a place to live and the label makes it almost impossible to find a job. I can also tell you that a Sex offender is not armed (even with a make-shift weapon) they are regularly checked by the government and their living quarters are searched for weapons–to violate this means going to prison. The reason they take such precautions to keep “normal” people out is because of the fear of vigilantism. I cannot tell you that none of these people are a threat but I can tell you that of the thousands and thousands of people on the Sex offender list most are not dangerous. Their crimes are benign like urinating behind a tree and someone sees them or a teenager looking at teenage porn on the internet. I know a lot of people think there must be more to these crimes for these lives to be ruined but I am here to tell you there is not…it is estimated that only between 2 and 3 percent of the almost 700,000 people in the US on the Registry are actually dangerous child molesters. The remaining people are just regular folks who made one really stupid life altering mistake…many are young men that turned 18 while their girlfriend was still 17…they are now on the list and many of them are since married to their sweetheart but it doesn’t matter…the fear you should have is not of the homeless but of the apocalypse that is the police state the US is becoming (one where people are put on a public registry and labeled like a Scarlett letter) where people are denied the simple basic rights of finding a job and a place to live.

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