Hobo, tramp, and bum are terms associated with homelessness. There is an important difference:
- Hobo: Someone who travels from place to place looking for work
- Tramp: Someone who travels from place to place but avoids work
- Bum: Someone who doesn’t want to work or travel
Among the homeless in Bucks County, PA, there is a mixture of hobos and bums. The “hobos” in Bucks County fit the hobo definition in that they work but they don’t move around very much.
Many in Bucks County’s homeless population want to work and many do, although often temporarily, sometimes part time. Tonight a guy told me his temp to perm job was going to be permanent. Being a hobo is nothing to be looked down on, although some do. In the 1893 edition of Funk and Wagnalls dictionary, “hobo” is defined (for those of you in Doylestown) “An idle, shiftless wandering workman, ranking scarcely above the tramp.” This is unfair! Wrong!
The term was used rightly during the great depression to describe people who were forced off their farms, which failed largely as a result of big government intervention, and on the road, often hopping freight trains, to look for work and food. http://livinghistoryfarm.org/farminginthe30s/water_07.html
The Joad family in John Steinbeck’s The Grapes of Wrath is a fictional particularization of this. Many smaller farms folded as a result of FDR’s New Raw Deal, where the government paid well connected big farm conglomerates to burn their crops in order to raise prices, while people had to scavenge for food.
The difference between the “hobos” in Bucks County and during The Great Depression is that in Bucks County, most of the homeless who work and are looking for work stay within the county.
Tramps are virtually non existent in Bucks County. There is enough incentive – handouts – for someone who doesn’t want to work to stay in Bucks County, and become a bum.
At tonight’s community meal for the homeless and those in need I met people who recently became homeless. The woman said she thought this would never happen to her, and she’s trying to deal with it. As is the case with others, she said she became ill and had other problems. And like other “hobos”, she works, looks responsible and acts civilly. I she hadn’t told me, I wouldn’t have known she was homeless.
“Hobo” sounds like a harsh word, mainly because how others who have never experienced homelessness judge the homeless. “Homeless” also has negative connotations. The urban dictionary includes the word “hobophobia”, which means the irrational fear of the homeless. The cure for hobophobia is a dose of homelessness – to see how it is to walk in others’ shoes.
Hobophobia is the main obstacle for providing homes for the homeless, just about anywhere. There are plenty of vacant properties in Bucks County, which the homeless could fix up, maintain, and manage, given the chance.
For example, the Sunbury Farm property in Bristol Township would make a great place for the homeless. Bristol Township, which said didn’t have the funds to keep it up, sold it to a builder a year ago. Today it’s boarded up. Maybe come Halloween, the township could use some homeless people to host a haunted house. There is so much hobophobia in Bristol Township, however, the township may not want to assume liability for having the homeless even participate in the event. http://levittownnow.com/2016/05/02/sunbury-farm-property-purchased-by-builder/
It’s ironic that druggies can live in houses in a neighborhood, but for the homeless, there is no room in the inn. Crime has mushroomed in areas where there are recovery houses. People are homeless for different reasons, such as prolonged illness or job loss. People do drugs because of a choice they willfully made, and duh, they need money to keep up their destructive habit. Ergo, they steal!
And people have come from miles around to go to the thrill, up on the hill. The thrill up on the hill let’s go! The pushers and the dopers will all be there…
There are about 100 recovery houses in Levittown, PA.
Consequently, the alleged emergency shelter in Levittown has a waiting list. It’s become a flophouse for druggies, drunks, and other miscreants, at the expense of people who just need a place to stay as a result of job loss or other problems, and who are not a threat to the community.
The Bucks County Mental Health Hustlers, the guys who prey on homeless people to try to get them to sign up for their programs and encourage them to become bums, should by now have at least one of their programs defunded – Host, run by Allen Johnson. Keith Smothers said that his program, PATH, which is really redundant of Host, will be negatively affected. On the front page of the March 29, 2017 Bucks County Courier Times, the headline reads “Funding woes hurt homeless.”
“They say losses of funding still could bury the homeless individuals even deeper, especially those with mental illnesses or substance abuse problems,” the article continues. “Especially those with mental illnesses or substance abuse problems” They need Allen Johnson and Keith Smothers to save the day!
The homeless just need homes!
Even by the by the Bucks County Department of Housing and Community Development’s count of 551 individuals living in emergency shelters (the de facto flop house for druggies and drunks) transitional housing and outside, 106 were labeled as having “mental illness” and 85 were said to have substance abuse problems. This is much less than half, by their own count! At the community meals I’ve been attending for three years, I can scarcely count on one hand how many people are off the wall so much they are not ready for society. We all have problems, and being homeless is a problem. But we don’t need no stinkin’ taxpayer funded, high priced head shrinker to deal with any of these problems. (I doubt shrinks help anybody but some people at least need to be under wraps).
What the homeless need, besides housing, is understanding, acceptance, encouragement and guidance. For those with substance abuse problems, some churches in lower Bucks County offer 12 Step programs, which gets to the root of problems, whether they be alcohol, drugs, anger, depression, anxiety, harboring resentment…
In an earlier article, on LevittownNow.com, Bucks County touted that its “Rapid Rehousing Program” got a homeless guy out of the woods after only three years! The county waited until he got sick enough so, instead of helping him become a productive member of the community, helped put him out to pasture. These vultures watched the former cross country truck driver’s downward spiral until he no longer became a viable human being. http://levittownnow.com/2017/02/19/bristol-organizations-help-homeless-man-find-permanent-shelter/
Maybe now that HOST is defunded, Bucks County can try funding the BBB program. Bucks Builds Bums! It will replicate HOST, but just be under another name.
People can be restored, if it’s done the right way. As someone at the community meal said tonight, help people with housing and from there they can iron out any problems. Housing and mental health are separate things.
The Bucks Mental Health Hustlers act like they are playing Marco-Polo. Someone says “Homeless”, then someone says “Mental Health.”
“For I will restore health to you, and your wounds I will heal, declares the Lord, because they have called you an outcast: It is Zion, for whom no one cares!” Jeremiah 30:17