Hobos, Hustlers, and Backsliders: Homeless in San Francisco

This is terrible to say, but I read this book concerned the whole time that I was getting bedbug bites. Clearly this book is of interest to the (again, terrible:) unwashed masses who congregate at the Main Library, evident in the water stains and general decrepitude of the book. The book contents are part exploration of homeless life and part sociological thesis statement, “To put it simply, Lee mostly saw homelessness as an outcome of his unchangeable orientation toward “shady places” and life’s “candy,” whereas Charlie’s tendency was to blame a hostile, fiercely unequal society that left him few alternatives. These profoundly dissonant perspectives, which I call sin-talk and system-talk, dominated the sidewalks and encampments of homeless in San Francisco.” The best bits were when she was recapping her dialoging with the men, retelling their stories. Precarious existence, forced out of sleeping in certain parts of the city, congregating in the Dogpatch area, but for how long now that development is happening apace there as well. The professional recyclers, robo-can, eking out a meager existence by finding scraps in the garbage of others, but having pride in their work, liking the feeling of doing an honest day’s work when nothing else is available to them. Prison culture spilling onto the streets, making people more violent when they’re in shelters or halfway homes. Written by a white Englishwoman, she focuses her study on the men on the streets, writing off women with an airy, “oh all the city services go to women and children first as they’re more likely victimized,” noting that the one woman she spotted wasn’t dumpster diving because “that’s man’s work, no woman should have to do that.” ???
There is no solution presented, only a blow-by-blow account of the build-up then break-down of city services available to these folks. Many of them don’t get food at soup kitchens because it consumes too much of the day to wait around. There is nowhere they are allowed to linger, to rest their weary bones, without being prodded by a police baton.