• This is a political forum that is non-biased/non-partisan and treats every persons position on topics equally. This debate forum is not aligned to any political party. In today's politics, many ideas are split between and even within all the political parties. Often we find ourselves agreeing on one platform but some topics break our mold. We are here to discuss them in a civil political debate. If this is your first visit to our political forums, be sure to check out the RULES. Registering for debate politics is necessary before posting. Register today to participate - it's free!

Young adult voluntarily becomes homeless; sees if he can make it out of poverty...

Mensch

Mr. Professional
DP Veteran
Joined
Jul 12, 2010
Messages
3,715
Reaction score
751
Location
Northern Virginia
Gender
Male
Political Leaning
Independent
Scratch Beginnings: Me, $25 and the Search for the American Dream by Adam Shepard


Here's a young college graduate who voluntarily becomes homeless to see if he can make it out of poverty. He refuses to use any of his academic credentials, nor does he beg for money or use services that others are not at liberty to use. He sets some short-term goals that will provide him with a stepping stone to improve his life, long-term. He spends 2 1/2 months in a homeless shelter and describes the grotesque conditions in his book. At the end of his experiment, he is able to obtain employment with a moving company, purchase a car, have $5,000 in a bank account, and was able to acquire an apartment which he and a roommate furnished. It proves that the American Dream is not dead, and people can still make it out of poverty if they just make responsible decisions.
 

Orion

DP Veteran
Joined
Jun 25, 2008
Messages
8,083
Reaction score
3,918
Location
Canada
Gender
Male
Political Leaning
Independent
Re: Young adult voluntarily becomes homeless; sees if he can make it out of poverty..

Interesting guy... but I would argue that he didn't discard all of his possessions. He still had his education, which gave him the smarts to play the system properly. The homeless often come from uneducated backgrounds, and many end up homeless because they either have mental illness or they are addicts (and their addictions are due to self-medicating their mental illnesses with street drugs).

If he tossed his possessions, did drugs for the next 5 years, and forgot everything he learned in school, then maybe I'd give him more credit.

Interesting experiment nonetheless.
 

1069

Banned
Joined
Oct 21, 2006
Messages
24,978
Reaction score
5,126
Gender
Undisclosed
Political Leaning
Undisclosed
Re: Young adult voluntarily becomes homeless; sees if he can make it out of poverty..

Interesting guy... but I would argue that he didn't discard all of his possessions. He still had his education, which gave him the smarts to play the system properly.
Yeah, speaking power-structure-ese helps.
Those who grow up in generational poverty almost never become fluent in it.
A lot of our brain synapses are formed before age five.
 

Mensch

Mr. Professional
DP Veteran
Joined
Jul 12, 2010
Messages
3,715
Reaction score
751
Location
Northern Virginia
Gender
Male
Political Leaning
Independent
Re: Young adult voluntarily becomes homeless; sees if he can make it out of poverty..

Interesting guy... but I would argue that he didn't discard all of his possessions. He still had his education, which gave him the smarts to play the system properly. The homeless often come from uneducated backgrounds, and many end up homeless because they either have mental illness or they are addicts (and their addictions are due to self-medicating their mental illnesses with street drugs).

If he tossed his possessions, did drugs for the next 5 years, and forgot everything he learned in school, then maybe I'd give him more credit.

Interesting experiment nonetheless.
I don't know what you expect. You can't blame all poverty on a very subjective psychoanalysis of the entire general public. Mental illness may arise from a number of factors. They may be caused by circumstances in life that were brought on by personal decisions. Ultimately, it is the responsibility of the individual, not the collective society, to take care of the individual. It is not my responsibility to pay for one man's bypass surgery because he ate too much or to pay for another man's housing and utilities because he's addicted to alcohol or drugs. And you can blame it on "menal illness" all you want. It's just a rationalization for an extended welfare state.

The kid majored in business with a minor in Spanish. Nobody i.n the city where he was dropped spoke Spanish (as a general problem), and his occupation as a hardworking mover was not at all influenced by his training in business managerial positions. His hardwork, alone, is enough to promote him through the ranks. Why does he have to do drugs, and then succeed, in order to win over your stubbornness? That completely negates the message. It is the fact that he made responsibile decisions and that is the number one cause of prosperity. If you can't be responsible enough to stay away from drugs, than it is not my responsibility to bail you out. And no one bailed out Shepard. He rose out of poverty on his own, without any help from upbringing (except, perhaps, the value to act responsibly).
 

justabubba

long standing member
DP Veteran
Joined
Dec 22, 2005
Messages
49,717
Reaction score
31,540
Gender
Male
Political Leaning
Independent
Re: Young adult voluntarily becomes homeless; sees if he can make it out of poverty..

this was a courageous act by an articulate college graduate who appears to possess more than a few traits of an entrepreneur
i look forward to reading his book to learn of his accounts

for going on two years i have assisted in the start-up and operation of a soup kitchen
there is no cost, or requirements imposed on our guests. the soup kitchen is located in an affluent neighborhood and we welcome all with no questions or expectations (other than respectful behavior)
presently, we feed about 180 guests daily, with that number increasing by about 10-20 per month
and that soup kitchen experience has enabled me to come to know quite a few of them and their present circumstances
this young fellow does not sound or act like any of them
with rare exception our guests consist of those who have mental health issues (two-thirds would be my estimate), and/or abuse problems, and/or physical disabilities. some have significant arrest/conviction records (much to the dismay of some of our neighbors)
there are a handful who eat with us who are working poor, with what appear to be solid life skills and at least a decent education. i would speculate these are people who have been adversely affected by the economic downturn, causing their marginal employment to become sporadic employment
those with sound life/work skills we are frequently able to help find employment, or better employment
but if anyone sees this young college graduate's success as indicative of that which is fungible for most of the homeless, should the homeless only want success enough to strive for it, then those readers are allowing themselves to be misled
 

TacticalEvilDan

Shankmasta Killa
DP Veteran
Joined
Feb 16, 2008
Messages
10,444
Reaction score
4,479
Location
Western NY and Geneva, CH
Gender
Male
Political Leaning
Other
Re: Young adult voluntarily becomes homeless; sees if he can make it out of poverty..

Justabubba and Orion wrapped up my primary objections to this young man's experiment, in terms of actual applicability.

Aside from that, I too will look for his book.

I read the Cadillac Man's book, that's also a very interesting read on the subject; sometimes the problem isn't mental illness, it's the sense that you don't count for **** and the world is better off with you either living in the gutter or dead.
 

DrunkenAsparagus

Devourer of Poor Children
DP Veteran
Joined
Aug 2, 2009
Messages
4,496
Reaction score
1,878
Location
DC
Gender
Male
Political Leaning
Libertarian
Re: Young adult voluntarily becomes homeless; sees if he can make it out of poverty..

I remember hearing about this guy. If I remember correctly, he "started out" as a construction worker, so his education might not have been much of an asset or hindrance. I think the book shows that it is possible to rise up, largely through your own power. Of course this doesn't mean that poor people are all stupid or lazy, but many have a sense of hopelessness that they can't leave their position. This person shows that it is possible to rise up, but being born into the middle class or above does confer advantages, mostly in positivity.
 

Harry Guerrilla

DP Veteran
Joined
Dec 18, 2008
Messages
28,955
Reaction score
12,423
Location
Not affiliated with other libertarians.
Gender
Male
Political Leaning
Libertarian
Re: Young adult voluntarily becomes homeless; sees if he can make it out of poverty..

Interesting guy... but I would argue that he didn't discard all of his possessions. He still had his education, which gave him the smarts to play the system properly. The homeless often come from uneducated backgrounds, and many end up homeless because they either have mental illness or they are addicts (and their addictions are due to self-medicating their mental illnesses with street drugs).

If he tossed his possessions, did drugs for the next 5 years, and forgot everything he learned in school, then maybe I'd give him more credit.

Interesting experiment nonetheless.
I'm going to counter this somewhat.
Did his education play a role in how he spent his money, definitely.
Did it play a role with whether or not he got a job, I'm skeptical.

The reason being is that I consider myself pretty well spoken and decently educated.
That hasn't helped me one bit in obtaining employment.
I've even been certified by the state at the highest level of work readiness, only to be turned down by employers.
Paper education isn't worth as much as everyone thinks.
 

Mensch

Mr. Professional
DP Veteran
Joined
Jul 12, 2010
Messages
3,715
Reaction score
751
Location
Northern Virginia
Gender
Male
Political Leaning
Independent
Re: Young adult voluntarily becomes homeless; sees if he can make it out of poverty..

this was a courageous act by an articulate college graduate who appears to possess more than a few traits of an entrepreneur
i look forward to reading his book to learn of his accounts

for going on two years i have assisted in the start-up and operation of a soup kitchen
there is no cost, or requirements imposed on our guests. the soup kitchen is located in an affluent neighborhood and we welcome all with no questions or expectations (other than respectful behavior)
presently, we feed about 180 guests daily, with that number increasing by about 10-20 per month
and that soup kitchen experience has enabled me to come to know quite a few of them and their present circumstances
this young fellow does not sound or act like any of them
with rare exception our guests consist of those who have mental health issues (two-thirds would be my estimate), and/or abuse problems, and/or physical disabilities. some have significant arrest/conviction records (much to the dismay of some of our neighbors)
there are a handful who eat with us who are working poor, with what appear to be solid life skills and at least a decent education. i would speculate these are people who have been adversely affected by the economic downturn, causing their marginal employment to become sporadic employment
those with sound life/work skills we are frequently able to help find employment, or better employment
but if anyone sees this young college graduate's success as indicative of that which is fungible for most of the homeless, should the homeless only want success enough to strive for it, then those readers are allowing themselves to be misled
I think you're just being pesstimistic. Adam Shepard was an average guy, and he showed his readers that average people can rise out of poverty by way of making sound financial decsions. Those who suffer from some mental disorder are a minority, and each individual must be examined specifically. Some mental disorders are caused by personal decisions, which could mean that some of these mental homeless people are homeless because they're mental, but they're mental because of their own mistakes. Alcoholism can be a genetic problem, but one must have the responsibility to recognize the threat of such a disease, and therefore stay away from the substance that which causes them addiction. But for Shepard's case, he simply wanted to illustrate that AVERAGE individals can rise out of poverty if they strive to do so.
 

Mensch

Mr. Professional
DP Veteran
Joined
Jul 12, 2010
Messages
3,715
Reaction score
751
Location
Northern Virginia
Gender
Male
Political Leaning
Independent
Re: Young adult voluntarily becomes homeless; sees if he can make it out of poverty..

I would just like to add, because I've read the book, that Shepard credits the men in the homeless shelter for giving him the advice he so desperately needed to find a job.
 

TacticalEvilDan

Shankmasta Killa
DP Veteran
Joined
Feb 16, 2008
Messages
10,444
Reaction score
4,479
Location
Western NY and Geneva, CH
Gender
Male
Political Leaning
Other
Re: Young adult voluntarily becomes homeless; sees if he can make it out of poverty..

Adam Shepard was an average guy
I'm afraid I can't accept your premise. There are lots of "average" guys who don't have a 4-year degree. There are lots of "average" guys who don't have a business degree. In addition, the very fact that this fellow engaged in this social experiment at all is proof positive that his most certainly NOT average.

I know it helps your argument to portray him as such, but average people don't do what this guy did.

and he showed his readers that average people can rise out of poverty by way of making sound financial decsions.
No, he showed his readers that someone like him can rise out of poverty. As has been pointed out earlier in this thread, you can't apply his results on a broader scale without ignoring a lot of important factor.

Those who suffer from some mental disorder are a minority, and each individual must be examined specifically.
I would be interested to know where you read that those on the street "who suffer from some mental disorder" are a minority. We're barely able to count ourselves as a society, and we're certainly incapable of (or unwilling to) keep track of our least fortunate.

Some mental disorders are caused by personal decisions, which could mean that some of these mental homeless people are homeless because they're mental, but they're mental because of their own mistakes. Alcoholism can be a genetic problem, but one must have the responsibility to recognize the threat of such a disease, and therefore stay away from the substance that which causes them addiction. But for Shepard's case, he simply wanted to illustrate that AVERAGE individals can rise out of poverty if they strive to do so.
I'm assuming that the reason that you're trying to make a distinction between people who:
  • Make a mistake in their own lives and end up on the street
  • Become homeless through circumstances beyond their control
. . . is because either you believe those who didn't cause their own problems deserve help, or you know others will feel that way and you value their support for the remainder of your argument.

Whichever the case, respectfully, you're full of crap.

To begin, human beings are inherently flawed. We are not perfect. The one thing all human enterprise have in common are that the human factor introduces a certain quantity of flaws.

If you accept this, and you also accept the premise that we shouldn't leave people to hang when circumstances beyond their control conspire to disrupt their lives, then you must also accept the following premise: We shouldn't leave people to hang simply because the disruption in their lives was caused by a mistake on their part.

I can certainly understand the desire to avoid rewarding stupidity, or creating moral hazards. A line has to be drawn somewhere. Simple culpability isn't going to cut it.
 

TacticalEvilDan

Shankmasta Killa
DP Veteran
Joined
Feb 16, 2008
Messages
10,444
Reaction score
4,479
Location
Western NY and Geneva, CH
Gender
Male
Political Leaning
Other
Re: Young adult voluntarily becomes homeless; sees if he can make it out of poverty..

I would just like to add, because I've read the book, that Shepard credits the men in the homeless shelter for giving him the advice he so desperately needed to find a job.
Wait, I thought he pulled it off with sound financial decisions.

You mean he . . . needed help?

:lol:
 

1069

Banned
Joined
Oct 21, 2006
Messages
24,978
Reaction score
5,126
Gender
Undisclosed
Political Leaning
Undisclosed
Re: Young adult voluntarily becomes homeless; sees if he can make it out of poverty..

Wait, I thought he pulled it off with sound financial decisions.

You mean he . . . needed help?

:lol:

Well, I think the point of the book is that help is available.
However, if one isn't even capable of understanding- much less following- proffered advice, then the help really isn't worth a crap.
Like I said, it helps to speak power structure language, and to understand how things work in our society.
Most homeless people are pretty dysfunctional, and have neither ability. Many are mentally ill and or substance-addicted, to boot.

Some few can actually speak very well, but still not understand things: job applications, the necessity of having personal identification papers and how and where to obtain them, how bank accounts work, the IRS and taxes, cars and how to get one, how to register one, how to get a license and insurance, how to get a lease on an apartment, how much money one needs in order to do so, what sort of identification one needs to show (usually a utility bill, which one is unlikely to have if one is homeless) things like that. How to get a job when one doesn't have a phone or an address (or when one's address is a shelter, and prospective employers know that). What to do about bad job history, bad credit, a criminal record. Just how things work.
You may not believe there are adults in the world who are so dysfunctional they don't know these things, but there are.
People come from all sorts of backgrounds.
Some have lived their entire lives outside the box, and are very marginalized.
They don't even know there is a box, or they only vaguely realize there is, but they don't have a clue what the parameters of it are.
 
Last edited:

TacticalEvilDan

Shankmasta Killa
DP Veteran
Joined
Feb 16, 2008
Messages
10,444
Reaction score
4,479
Location
Western NY and Geneva, CH
Gender
Male
Political Leaning
Other
Re: Young adult voluntarily becomes homeless; sees if he can make it out of poverty..

Well, I think the point of the book is that help is available.
I'm sure it is (I can't agree or not, haven't read it), but ElijahGalt's positioned seemed to be that fiscal responsibility was the magic key to digging yourself out of your hole, the implication being that anybody can just spontaneously do it.

However, if one isn't even capable of understanding- much less following- proffered advice, then the help really isn't worth a crap.
Absolutely correct. The careful cultivation of ignorance is how the people with the power and money keep the power and money.
 

Mensch

Mr. Professional
DP Veteran
Joined
Jul 12, 2010
Messages
3,715
Reaction score
751
Location
Northern Virginia
Gender
Male
Political Leaning
Independent
Re: Young adult voluntarily becomes homeless; sees if he can make it out of poverty..

I'm afraid I can't accept your premise. There are lots of "average" guys who don't have a 4-year degree. There are lots of "average" guys who don't have a business degree. In addition, the very fact that this fellow engaged in this social experiment at all is proof positive that his most certainly NOT average.

I know it helps your argument to portray him as such, but average people don't do what this guy did.



No, he showed his readers that someone like him can rise out of poverty. As has been pointed out earlier in this thread, you can't apply his results on a broader scale without ignoring a lot of important factor.



I would be interested to know where you read that those on the street "who suffer from some mental disorder" are a minority. We're barely able to count ourselves as a society, and we're certainly incapable of (or unwilling to) keep track of our least fortunate.



I'm assuming that the reason that you're trying to make a distinction between people who:
  • Make a mistake in their own lives and end up on the street
  • Become homeless through circumstances beyond their control
. . . is because either you believe those who didn't cause their own problems deserve help, or you know others will feel that way and you value their support for the remainder of your argument.

Whichever the case, respectfully, you're full of crap.

To begin, human beings are inherently flawed. We are not perfect. The one thing all human enterprise have in common are that the human factor introduces a certain quantity of flaws.

If you accept this, and you also accept the premise that we shouldn't leave people to hang when circumstances beyond their control conspire to disrupt their lives, then you must also accept the following premise: We shouldn't leave people to hang simply because the disruption in their lives was caused by a mistake on their part.

I can certainly understand the desire to avoid rewarding stupidity, or creating moral hazards. A line has to be drawn somewhere. Simple culpability isn't going to cut it.
I'm sorry. You're making assumptions without even reading the book. Read the book FIRST, and then we'll debate the premise.
 

Mensch

Mr. Professional
DP Veteran
Joined
Jul 12, 2010
Messages
3,715
Reaction score
751
Location
Northern Virginia
Gender
Male
Political Leaning
Independent
Re: Young adult voluntarily becomes homeless; sees if he can make it out of poverty..

Wait, I thought he pulled it off with sound financial decisions.

You mean he . . . needed help?

:lol:
Of course he got help. I'm not so stupid as to argue that fiscal responsibility was the magic potion for success. He definitely received help from a number of sources. The men at the shelter helped him with advice and they befriended him (you can't succeed by having zero friends). The STATE govt. (and get this, I'm a libertarian!) helped him because the homeless shelter was probably provided with state financial aid. He got help from his upbringing, only because his family taught him to act responsibly.

He was an average guy. #1 In today's academic climate, the B.A. has been devalued to about the level of a high school diploma. Though the majority of citizens probably do not possess a B.A., I can guarantee that will change very soon. #2 Explain to me, how does a B.A. in business help a person obtain an entry-level position in a moving company?
 

1069

Banned
Joined
Oct 21, 2006
Messages
24,978
Reaction score
5,126
Gender
Undisclosed
Political Leaning
Undisclosed
Re: Young adult voluntarily becomes homeless; sees if he can make it out of poverty..

Interesting article in the LATimes today about the homeless, and a new "housing first" program they're trying out there, where they simply find the most desperate of the homeless and put them in flophouse rooms with no strings attached, where at least they're off the street, and can be found and offered various services; apparently this will ultimately be cheaper than leaving them on the street. Some of them have racked up 15 emergency room visits in the past year:

Homelessness: Homes for the hardest of the hard-core homeless - latimes.com
 

TacticalEvilDan

Shankmasta Killa
DP Veteran
Joined
Feb 16, 2008
Messages
10,444
Reaction score
4,479
Location
Western NY and Geneva, CH
Gender
Male
Political Leaning
Other
Re: Young adult voluntarily becomes homeless; sees if he can make it out of poverty..

Of course he got help. I'm not so stupid as to argue that fiscal responsibility was the magic potion for success. He definitely received help from a number of sources. The men at the shelter helped him with advice and they befriended him (you can't succeed by having zero friends). The STATE govt. (and get this, I'm a libertarian!) helped him because the homeless shelter was probably provided with state financial aid. He got help from his upbringing, only because his family taught him to act responsibly.
It's good that you're not saying that fiscal responsibility was the magic potion for success, because that seemed to be hinting at when you said:

Adam Shepard was an average guy, and he showed his readers that average people can rise out of poverty by way of making sound financial decsions.
He was an average guy. #1 In today's academic climate, the B.A. has been devalued to about the level of a high school diploma. Though the majority of citizens probably do not possess a B.A., I can guarantee that will change very soon.
So he's an average guy in today's academic climate, but when compared to the whole of the populace, he's not an average guy.

#2 Explain to me, how does a B.A. in business help a person obtain an entry-level position in a moving company?
I never said it did, if anything it would hinder you in that situation because employers don't like overqualified employees (too much upward mobility for them to feel in control of you). My argument was that his education (and, by implication, the experiences he had on the way to getting that education) was an asset that your average street person probably won't have.
 

DrunkenAsparagus

Devourer of Poor Children
DP Veteran
Joined
Aug 2, 2009
Messages
4,496
Reaction score
1,878
Location
DC
Gender
Male
Political Leaning
Libertarian
Re: Young adult voluntarily becomes homeless; sees if he can make it out of poverty..

I never said it did, if anything it would hinder you in that situation because employers don't like overqualified employees (too much upward mobility for them to feel in control of you). My argument was that his education (and, by implication, the experiences he had on the way to getting that education) was an asset that your average street person probably won't have.
How is it an asset if it hinders his low wage employment opportunities?
 

TacticalEvilDan

Shankmasta Killa
DP Veteran
Joined
Feb 16, 2008
Messages
10,444
Reaction score
4,479
Location
Western NY and Geneva, CH
Gender
Male
Political Leaning
Other
Re: Young adult voluntarily becomes homeless; sees if he can make it out of poverty..

How is it an asset if it hinders his low wage employment opportunities?
Argh, come on. In those situations you don't mention you have one. :lol:

An education is always an asset. You don't just learn about the narrow subject you're pursuing a degree in, your horizons are broadened, you're exposed to ideas and hopefully educators you wouldn't meet otherwise.
 

DrunkenAsparagus

Devourer of Poor Children
DP Veteran
Joined
Aug 2, 2009
Messages
4,496
Reaction score
1,878
Location
DC
Gender
Male
Political Leaning
Libertarian
Re: Young adult voluntarily becomes homeless; sees if he can make it out of poverty..

Argh, come on. In those situations you don't mention you have one. :lol:

An education is always an asset. You don't just learn about the narrow subject you're pursuing a degree in, your horizons are broadened, you're exposed to ideas and hopefully educators you wouldn't meet otherwise.
Hopefully yes, but the formula for financial success, while involving a lot of work isn't too complicated:

Live within your means

(Even a low-income person has the power to do this)

Hold down a job

(I don't see how a business degree helps one get job with a moving company)

Don't burn bridges.

(This should be common sense)
 
Last edited:

Mensch

Mr. Professional
DP Veteran
Joined
Jul 12, 2010
Messages
3,715
Reaction score
751
Location
Northern Virginia
Gender
Male
Political Leaning
Independent
Re: Young adult voluntarily becomes homeless; sees if he can make it out of poverty..

It's good that you're not saying that fiscal responsibility was the magic potion for success, because that seemed to be hinting at when you said:

So he's an average guy in today's academic climate, but when compared to the whole of the populace, he's not an average guy.


I never said it did, if anything it would hinder you in that situation because employers don't like overqualified employees (too much upward mobility for them to feel in control of you). My argument was that his education (and, by implication, the experiences he had on the way to getting that education) was an asset that your average street person probably won't have.

It is clear that sound financial decisions is the greatest recipe for improving one's life. And no, a college degree does not always provide you with even those rudimentary skills. Many high schools don't even lecture students about their personal budgeting habits. Usually, this sort of behavior is learned under a similarily responsible household.

Understand this, there are people in this world who have a disease, a condition, and/or who are disabled in some form or another. There are thousands of disabled individuals who make it every day in this world. If a disabled person can overcome their struggles and live a successful life, then why is it so hard for you to imagine an average Joe doing the exact same thing?

And again, I would have to argue that the kid was an average kid. He demonstrated no amazing skills in the experiment. A B.A. does not, automatically, elevate the average person into some sort of above-average status.
 

Harry Guerrilla

DP Veteran
Joined
Dec 18, 2008
Messages
28,955
Reaction score
12,423
Location
Not affiliated with other libertarians.
Gender
Male
Political Leaning
Libertarian
Re: Young adult voluntarily becomes homeless; sees if he can make it out of poverty..

Hopefully yes, but the formula for financial success, while involving a lot of work isn't too complicated:

Live within your means

(Even a low-income person has the power to do this)

Hold down a job

(I don't see how a business degree helps one get job with a moving company)

Don't burn bridges.

(This should be common sense)
Seriously three things to almost guarantee success.

Having a bachelors degree isn't a promise of knowing these things either, as is present with the current economic recession.
 

Hoplite

Technomancer
DP Veteran
Joined
Feb 6, 2010
Messages
3,779
Reaction score
1,077
Location
California
Gender
Male
Political Leaning
Moderate
Re: Young adult voluntarily becomes homeless; sees if he can make it out of poverty..

I think you're just being pesstimistic. Adam Shepard was an average guy, and he showed his readers that average people can rise out of poverty by way of making sound financial decsions. Those who suffer from some mental disorder are a minority, and each individual must be examined specifically. Some mental disorders are caused by personal decisions, which could mean that some of these mental homeless people are homeless because they're mental, but they're mental because of their own mistakes. Alcoholism can be a genetic problem, but one must have the responsibility to recognize the threat of such a disease, and therefore stay away from the substance that which causes them addiction. But for Shepard's case, he simply wanted to illustrate that AVERAGE individals can rise out of poverty if they strive to do so.
While it's an interesting experiment, as others have pointed out, it doesnt account for a lot of things.

What if you have a medical condition? Children? No education at all? A substance abuse problem? A criminal record? What if you live in an area with higher than average unemployment? What if you have unavoidable debt?

Shepard is a young, healthy, white, educated male with no (apparent) debts and as such that puts him above a lot of people who are struggling financially. With nothing to lose and nothing holding me back, yeah I could probably go from zero to renter in a few months.


The other thing is he doesn't have a very high target. A furnished apartment and $2,500 isn't a huge accomplishment and I dont think should reflect the "the poor are only poor because they want to be/are too lazy/are too dumb" mentality. If I got a job working minimum wage ($8 an hour) 40 hours a week, I'd have the $2,500 in a month or so. Accounting for expenses and taxes, four months of minimum wage work would fulfill his target.

I want to see someone do this experiment with a $250,000 goal. Then I will be impressed.
 
Top Bottom