As a paramedic I had many encounters with the homeless culture. While I don’t look at them all with the same stereotypes they had many commonalities to them. We were called out several times to incidents where some of the homeless were breaking into vacant homes for a safe place to sleep. In the winter we would transport several homeless to the hospital each shift for intoxication. This allowed them a warm place to sleep and a good meal. We spoke with many of these individuals and found that they had plenty of money each month for adequate housing but didn’t find it a priority. Some of these individuals were mentally ill but they were the minority. Regardless of our interactions with them they definitely appeared to have a strong culture among them with cultural bonds to one another and culture norms.
Looking back on my experiences with them I can say that each one was an individual with individual circumstances and views. While they shared commonalities with the other homeless it was a result of lessons learned on the streets and not a medical illness or disposition. Some of them we came to know and respect a lot for what they had faced in life. We even bought Christmas gifts and Thanksgiving dinners from year to year. It was a pleasure to be a part of some of their lives.