Why do homeless people refuse to relocate?

I live in Chicago, and every winter, I see homeless people on overpasses, a few intersections, and such, asking for food, money, and what not. But from my point of view, what they really need is warmth first. As a guy who studies a lot of geography, I have learned that Chicago's area rivers, especially the Des Plaines River, the DuPage River, the Fox River, Salt Creek, and such, all are part of the Mississippi River basin. They eventually merge and become the Illinois River, which empties into the Mississippi River, which drains into the Gulf of Mexico. Additionally, a lot of people raft rivers like that all the time. In the early days, before streamlined hulls and mechanical propulsion were invented, people used to tie logs together to make a raft, which made an excellent vessel/floating platform for those days.

I am very surprised that seemingly so few if any at all homeless people in Chicago, especially those with no place at all to go, have likely ever thought of tying a few logs together (with either vines, discarded fabric type items, etc) and riding the Des Plaines River into the Illinois and then Mississippi Rivers to escape Chicago's long, cold, and brutal winters. Especially even with some really nice warm weather cities at the bottom of the Mississippi, like New Orleans, Baton Rouge, and such. Why exactly is that?


I don't mean to be selfish at all. What I mean is for their comfort and convenience, so they (the homeless people) don't have to suffer through winter's cold and brutal freeze. And it isn't just Chicagoland homeless people who have an easy way out of winter's brutal freeze, it's also homeless people in Minneapolis, Denver, and in fact most of the states of Illinois, Indiana, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Minnesota, the Dakotas, Wyoming, Wisconsin, Colorado, Montana, and such. Homeless people in those states also need warmth to live, and the Mississippi River basin will easily get them there.

3 Answers

  • 7 years ago

    Yes, it is inconceivable why one would choose to be homeless in a cold climate but I will add that warm weather cities such as San Diego, Los Angelas, Phoenix, etc., are overwhelmed by homeless populations that swell in the winter time.

    I was homeless long term in my younger years, I hadn't been raised with good life skills. Back then the homeless would hitchhike all around the country. I would migrate to warmer climate as the seasons changed. Many states have outlawed hitchhiking now making it difficult to migrate. When I was homeless I might have been seen with a sign that read "Phoenix" or some destination but I never had a sign asking for money. I would also sleep in Salvation Army's or Rescue Missions, if no emergency shelter was available I would find a place to sleep out of sight, never in a doorway or on a park bench. I didn't beg passersby, I would sell my blood-plasma or try to get a days work. I had a certain shame and embarrassment about being homeless and I could never ever even consider standing at the end of a freeway off-ramp with a sign asking for handouts. Now I am an older guy, I not only take care of myself but I take care of others too and I live in a cold climate where I can afford a roof over my head and to pay for the heat to keep us warm. If not I would be in somewhere warm.

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  • 7 years ago

    They are homeless...so they have no map. Geography isn't the first thing that comes to mind when you have no food, water, or shelter.

    They live a remote life. They have no where else to go. Even then if they do move somewhere else, the situation will be the same.

    It seems to me you are just upset that they are around. They will always be around. This country is built off capitalism. When 1 succeeds, 1 fails. When 1 rises, 1 falls

    I've always been poor, but I was homeless once when I was 11. That lasted 3 years, so it gets very upsetting when people treat the homeless like they are pathetic, lazy, and a nuisance. They might have had a wealthy life once. They might have been born into poverty (like I was). You do not know their situation. Asking them to relocate is selfish of you!

  • 7 years ago

    No one knows that without studying, they stay where they can get money, and imagine being homeless, no one to help you, everyone against you, and being expected to build a raft with no previous building experience, and possibly a family to take with you.

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