And here we are, sitting on the internet talking about how similar it must be to backpacking?
Shame. What a disconnect.
I'm shocked by the indifference behind this thread. It's like a bunch of noblemen strutting around during a tea party offhandedly debating whether the starving peasants outside on the street below would prefer to eat strawberry cake or crumpets with cream. It is not at all the same. Not even close. What I find most harsh is the complete lack of empathy for the despair that homelessness brings. Perhaps none of you have ever known that kind of feeling; lucky for you. But, no matter how competent you may be skill-wise, falling out of luck or becoming mentally or physically ill or losing your home (which precludes you from getting a job), can all strike a giant blow to your confidence and willingness to get back up on your feet. Sure, some of those people messed up, but messing up is what happens to us all. The consequences are bigger for some. Some never get back up. But I guess people here would condemn them for "not being strong enough".
I'd be willing to bet that there have been/ are people who visit this site who are or have been homeless. Most are never going to tell anyone. For the most part because of the reaction that some of you have posted.
I may not like organized religion, and in particular the Christian Church, but one thing that the Church has always done is recognize the frailty of our lives, and has done much to help those who are destitute and starving and homeless. Shame on you for not doing the same.
As to the statement about backpackers living off the land? I'd say 99% of backpackers have never once in their lives actually had to depend on the land for survival, and if they suddenly had to, wouldn't know the first thing about what to do to survive. Many of you would be going to experienced homeless people for advice. It's a hard, hard world out there that we with our cars, our credit cards, our ultra-modern shelters and clothes, and sacks of prepared food brought from home are totally insulated from. Lose one of those things and we are at the mercy of the real world.