Thursday, November 23, 2017

This site is being archived

I have decided to not develop this site further. For now, it will be left up because it does not cost me anything to do that. I do get notifications of comments and I do reply to those in most cases (or I delete them if they are spam). So, it isn't being entirely abandoned at this time. However, it is likely that it will eventually be removed from the internet.

There are two things driving the decision to stop updating it:

1. I was in the city of San Diego when I started the site. I was in the North County, which is what locals call the northern part of San Diego County, when I decided to make it a countywide resource. Then I left and went to Fresno. I never included Fresno specific resources. Instead, I began trying to write more generally useful information. My hope was to be helpful to homeless Americans generally, regardless of where in the US they lived.

So, the site started as very specific to a particular place and has gradually become less and less specific to that place, yet the place name is in the site name. The result is that people outside of San Diego routinely respond with the idea that this is not relevant to their needs because they aren't in San Diego.

This has been true for a while, but has become more obviously problematic now that I am living outside of California and reaching out to people locally. People and programs in Southwest Coastal Washington are especially resistant to the idea that this site is relevant to their needs because of its name.

Thus, I have plans to make a site that doesn't have a place name as part of its name. Trying to convince people that this site isn't just for people in San Diego seems like a huge time sink with little benefit. Just creating a new site without that issue seems like a better use of my time and energy.

2. People who are homeless take the site as a suggestion that they should move to San Diego. This was never my intention and the best solution seems to be to simply discontinue the site.

There are a number of problems with people seeing the existence of this site as encouragement to move to San Diego as a homeless person. They all bother me.

I was initially only aware of a couple of problems with it. Over time, the list in my mind has grown and has finally reached some kind of critical mass or tipping point.

First, it places additional burdens on local resources. I am not comfortable with making the nation's homeless problem a burden to be born primarily by California in general and San Diego County in specific.

Second, if you are poor, traveling a great distance can be a significant burden. I would rather help people find resources and solutions closer to where they currently live, for the most part, or encourage them to travel to a much wider variety of places than just one, if travel makes sense for them as part of their solution package.

Third, there is currently a deadly hepatitis outbreak in Southern California. It began in San Diego and has already spread as far north as Los Angeles. It is impacting the homeless population more than others. I feel it is incredibly irresponsible to promote the idea that homeless people should move to Southern California at this time, no matter how inadvertently I am doing that. The hepatitis outbreak means that being homeless down there is currently a potential death sentence. I don't want to end up feeling like I have someone's blood on my hands.

Fourth, the cost of housing in California is insane, so there basically isn't any affordable housing anywhere in California. It does not look like this will improve any time soon. So moving to California as a homeless person may well be a recipe for remaining homeless for years to come because the barrier to entry for housing is so high, and this seems unlikely to change.

Fifth, the dry, temperate weather that has historically made homelessness in San Diego County relatively tolerable may be a thing of the past. Recent weather in California has been generally both hotter and wetter. Some studies suggest that hotter, much wetter weather may be the new norm for California thanks to global warming.

Last, I have been spending more and more of my time trying to convince people that this site is not intended to encourage homeless people to move to San Diego. (In fact, my stance is that I would like to actively encourage homeless people and poor people to leave California.) I am at a point where I feel that is taking time away from actually writing about useful information. So, I think just starting over with a different site would be a better use of my time and energy than continuing to fight this uphill battle.

Another detail that makes me feel it is a good idea to move on is that Google put out new BlogSpot templates some months ago.  Converting other blogs of mine to the new templates broke formatting. Trying to clean that up was eating a lot of my time while not fully resolving the problem. So other blogs of mine have recently been archived and replaced, in part for that reason.

I halfway expect Google to eventually do away with some or all of their old templates. I never changed this site to a new template. I would hate to feel forced into it. It just makes more sense to me to just start fresh in anticipation of old templates being discontinued at some point.

Wednesday, November 15, 2017

Address Verification Challenges and Modern Software

Someone left the following scaremongering, histrionic comment on my How to Get a Street Address for Your Mail


The USPS now offers psychical addresses. However, there are now computer softwares used by creditors and also cell phone carriers when activating a phone, that have the ability to recognise a physical RESIDENTIAL STREET ADDRESS vs a SPECIFIC physical BUSINESS ADDRESS. If you do not provide an "acceptable PHYSICAL RESIDENTIAL STREET ADDRESS," your appl will be rejected.

Some ppl are even saying their bank made periodic verification of their "residence" address while they were on extended vacation abroad, and sent them a letter to provide their "current residence" location or their acct would be closed in 30 days!

Apparently, banks and other businesses must comply with Homeland Security anti moneylaundering and anti terrorism enforcement laws.

Things have changed. You either live in brick n mortar and be forced to choose between rent and food, or never get credit not even.a loan to repair or replace your four wheeled "house."
I am currently off the street. I got off the street a bit over two months ago. Ironically, when I tried to apply for a store credit card after getting off the street, my application was rejected because the apartment building I live in could not be verified to be a residential address.

When I was still homeless and using a street address from a mail box service, my Starbuck's account clearly stated the name of the business where I rented my mail box. However, I never had a problem with my bank.

I am not saying there is zero merit to the above comment, but I am deleting it from the page in question because I don't feel it is really helpful. I feel it is more like a scare tactic. I don't know if this is a homeless person who is upset and can't figure out how to make things work or if this is some homeless hater just trying to crap on people who are homeless. Homeless haters do exist. I don't get it. I can't imagine being that warped. But whatever.

So, be advised that you may run into issues with a mailing address, but it isn't universal. Some organizations readily recognize that a mail box is actually a mail box and not an apartment. Ironically, some government organizations I dealt with did not appear to have this capacity. Starbuck's was the most up to date organization I ran into with regards to this issue and they did not care that it was a mail box and not an actual home.