When I was homeless and was allowed to stay in someone’s place it was bc I had something they wanted and was willing to share in exchange for the roof. I had two ways of looking at the situation. One, I wanted to maintain this contact and be a good, helpful guest by not stealing and bringing them what they wanted so that I could keep coming back. Or, two, I was never planning to see them again and since they were doing so well in their lives compared to me given that they had a home and lots of stuff, I was totally justified in stealing everything I could fit in my bag. I justified my actions, which means I figured out what to tell myself so I could see myself as a good person while doing something wrong. They didn’t need it! They wouldn’t miss it! And I was so much more in need and therefore I was more deserving. Is stealing really stealing if I had excellent excuses? At the time, I was ok with taking anything from so eone I would never see again.
I am not saying that all people are like me but the only person I can really accurately tell you about is me. When my situation changed, and I became the one with the permanent place to live, I invited people back to my place in order to give back. However, I discovered that people often had a third motivation I never considered. People wanted to come back to my place to sabotage my good situation. Instead of looking at my comfortable home as a place that they could share, they looked at it as a place that I did not deserve and if they couldn’t have it I shouldn’t have it either. I can’t tell you the number of times that people told me they were going to go to my manager and tell the manager all sorts of stories about me so I’d get evicted. Or, they would make noise, or smoke in the hallway, or litter, or even graffiti on the walls just so I could get in trouble. People acted out against with with seemingly little provocation, as if the rage was ever present and required the skimpiest of excuses to emerge. People we’re not shy about telling me they wanted to see me “out there again.”I learned the hard way that although I want to give back by sharing with homeless people that I know, homeless people that I know don’t want anything good for me, not even if they could share in the goodness.