"As a formerly homeless male who got treated like shit by most charities, this is how I feel when I am asked to donate now that I can afford to."
I was homeless between 2006 and 2007, squatting and traveling the country and it was hard to get food stamps or any kind of assistance because a was male. The females in our group had no issues getting it.
A couple days ago my girlfriend asked me which charity I wanted to donate a dollar to in order to get the Domino’s pizza deal we wanted, a women’s shelter or a children’s hospital. Guess which one I chose.
always donate to the kids hospital
The utter lack of services that homeless men have is absolutely one of the most horrific examples of institutional misandry in our society.
Don’t get me wrong, being homeless sucks for anyone, no matter what services they get to make it less painful. But female homeless tend to get preference in shelters, and all those “women-only” domestic violence shelters also throw their doors open to homeless women.
Men get next to nothing, or, in many cases, ABSOLUTELY nothing.
Back in the day I was poor, and was friends with many poor people. I was lucky enough to (just barely) avoid homelessness myself, but several of my friends had periods of homelessness. I heard of the disparity of their living conditions.
One female friend got a room to herself and one other woman in a woman-only shelter with laundry on-site.
One male friend got a barracks-style room with maybe forty other guys.
Oh, and guess which one got shut down a year later.
About twenty years ago a group of us who were part of our towns youth centre lived as homeless people in the city for an autumn weekend (late friday afternoon through monday morning). There were two girls (including myself) and I think it was eleven boys (might have been twelve I’m a little hazy) and we all got sponsors.
It was a little naive and we didn’t really think at the time that we might actually be taking money from actual homeless people, but our intentions were good and it was also to experience a little of what it was like so we could have some sort real empathy. It was a pretty eye opening experience even though we were better geared than real homeless people and were in pairs for safety which I don’t think I’ve ever seen on the streets. Not to mention the simple knowledge it was all over come monday morning obviously made things significantly easier to cope with.
Anyway, the sponsorship money was about even between individuals and we raised about £3500 (~$6000) before the event and nearly another £1500 after. The biggest difference was how we were treated during the event, we did our best to actually look homeless and the boys weren’t dicking around, we all took it very seriously, me and the other girl combined pulled in around one and and a half times what all the boys did combined from people on the streets. I actually made more money in that one weekend than I would go on to make in most months in other part time “jobs” until I graduated University. The boys all got around £80 for the 3 nights, I remember getting around £450 and the other girl was similar. (We joked that the boys were slacking etc at the time, and I remember feeling a bit peeved, as if I’d somehow done more than them. Hindsight and reflection are wonderful tools.)
Not even mentioning the offers of assistance etc. that the boys said they didn’t get. The police tried to move them on but they tried to help us girls. They were obviously a bit funny about what all of us were doing, which we obviously had to explain (we had notes and photocopies of our sponsor forms for just such an eventuality) and our parents still got calls to make sure we weren’t just scummy kids running a scam or actually runaways. They still almost put an end to it though but were eventually convinced (not by us, I’m guessing the leader of the youth centre and our parents convinced them) but they also made us provide proof that we spent the begging money on helping the real homeless, which was admirable and a pretty spot on course of action.
We ended up buying space blankets, winter boots, warm coats etc. which we distributed ourselves with the help of adults (mostly because we were all too young to drive) to the homeless around the city and gave the surplus and food to homeless shelters and soup kitchens. We couldn’t give money to the homeless as we had to prove where it went, but we did divide the money to the shelters and kitchens.