6 votes

Is it OK if someone wants to live for years on a bench?

12 comments

  1. [7]
    WMWMWMWMWMWMWMWMWMWM
    Link
    After about 20 years of building my tech resume and breaking the six-figure barrier, I decided to gradually unsubscribe from it all and live outdoors largely money-free, which I've been happily...

    After about 20 years of building my tech resume and breaking the six-figure barrier, I decided to gradually unsubscribe from it all and live outdoors largely money-free, which I've been happily doing for about 3.5 years now. Feel free to ask me anything.

    I am not against receiving government aid, especially as I've been paying into "the system" for quite a while. However, it is typically a long process with many requirements and much paperwork. The reason I started unsubscribing in the first place was to avoid such things.

    9 votes
    1. [2]
      DonQuixote
      Link Parent
      Do you live on your own land or somewhere else?

      Do you live on your own land or somewhere else?

      5 votes
      1. WMWMWMWMWMWMWMWMWMWM
        Link Parent
        I travel around, primarily using public land and public spaces.

        I travel around, primarily using public land and public spaces.

    2. [2]
      CALICO
      Link Parent
      What's the plan for when your cash runs out, assuming you're not passively making income? I would love to unplug myself from the machine—and intend to do so at some point—but I wonder about things...

      What's the plan for when your cash runs out, assuming you're not passively making income?

      I would love to unplug myself from the machine—and intend to do so at some point—but I wonder about things like clothes, food, healthcare (US), gas, tools/maintenance, and other non-luxury expenses. If I buy a chunk of land, I'll have to consider taxes as well.

      Is government assistance enough to cover such things? Or are you drawing from savings to enable such a lifestyle?

      5 votes
      1. WMWMWMWMWMWMWMWMWMWM
        Link Parent
        My cash has long run out. For a while, I received food stamps, but those were cut off. I now live primarily without using money, and trading convenience and time instead.

        My cash has long run out. For a while, I received food stamps, but those were cut off. I now live primarily without using money, and trading convenience and time instead.

        1 vote
    3. [2]
      Greg
      Link Parent
      That sounds fascinating! Do you have a fixed area you live in, or is it more nomadic? How much do you interact with others - either those with similar lifestyles or those still in the "normal"...

      That sounds fascinating! Do you have a fixed area you live in, or is it more nomadic? How much do you interact with others - either those with similar lifestyles or those still in the "normal" working world?

      4 votes
      1. WMWMWMWMWMWMWMWMWMWM
        Link Parent
        I generally stay on the East Coast of the U.S. My default location is NYC, and I regularly visit Boston and Philadelphia. This year I've also been to SFBay and Miami, but that was accomplished by...

        I generally stay on the East Coast of the U.S. My default location is NYC, and I regularly visit Boston and Philadelphia. This year I've also been to SFBay and Miami, but that was accomplished by requesting a plane ticket for my birthday. I've since decided that I cannot justify plane travel.

        1 vote
  2. [3]
    Greg
    Link
    After reading the article, I think it's particularly well titled - is it OK in the eyes of society? In the eyes of the law? Is it OK for the wellbeing of the people who choose to live there? Is it...

    After reading the article, I think it's particularly well titled - is it OK in the eyes of society? In the eyes of the law? Is it OK for the wellbeing of the people who choose to live there? Is it OK to respect their decision, or should the council intercede for "their own good"?

    Unusually, as so often it isn't the case, these people have the support of the local authorities and the community - but they staunchly refuse to accept housing.

    They have been living on this bench on a busy London street for more than four years. By day they sit there watching the world go by. At night they pull the cover over and sleep. The bench has become their home.

    When I first saw them, I assumed they were another tragic homelessness statistic, abandoned by society. But the more you know the more complicated it becomes.

    So who are they?

    As I looked into it, I discovered that the bench people are a mother and her adult son, originally from Somalia. The mother is in her 70s, the son in his 30s, although he looks older.

    And bizarrely, it turns out that they have been offered a series of flats by the council. Each offer has been refused - they haven't even gone to have a look. Living on the bench appears to be a choice.

    2 votes
    1. [2]
      alexandria
      Link Parent
      Maybe they fear strings. A UBI study in an African country (I don't remember which one, unfortunately), failed because the villagers thought accepting the money would come with hidden strings and...

      And bizarrely, it turns out that they have been offered a series of flats by the council. Each offer has been refused - they haven't even gone to have a look. Living on the bench appears to be a choice.

      Maybe they fear strings. A UBI study in an African country (I don't remember which one, unfortunately), failed because the villagers thought accepting the money would come with hidden strings and they would be forced to do something for it in return later that they did not want.

      6 votes
      1. Greg
        Link Parent
        I can quite believe it, although they have apparently had quite a few offers of hospitality from the local Somali community as well, some of whom they have a more personal connection with - not to...

        I can quite believe it, although they have apparently had quite a few offers of hospitality from the local Somali community as well, some of whom they have a more personal connection with - not to say that makes for instant trust, but whatever their reasoning it seems to run deeper than just being wary of the authorities or their motives.

        1 vote
  3. knocklessmonster
    Link
    I would think the thing to do would be forced occupancy of a home, but the only solution would be to imprison them because allowing them any agency would mean they could just take their stuff and...

    I would think the thing to do would be forced occupancy of a home, but the only solution would be to imprison them because allowing them any agency would mean they could just take their stuff and leave, or figure out how to get new stuff and settle somewhere else if they're really that opposed to living in an apartment or house. This government-backed "tough love" approach would just be a waste of resources larger than holding a flat and sending a social worker.

    The only reason they seem to "get away with it" in a sense is that they don't beg, and actually refuse aid offered, except for the food they get and the use of local bathrooms. If they're doing okay there, and not harming the community, then there would really be no reason to push them out.

    2 votes
  4. mrbig
    Link
    Maybe they’re wanted criminals and don’t want attention from authorities.

    Maybe they’re wanted criminals and don’t want attention from authorities.