From Joe Bernstein’s piece “Stealing from the Homeless.” Illustration by Drew Bardana

8 Key Quotes From a Homeless Seattle Man’s AMA

Joe Bernstein, freelance writer and homeless Seattle resident, answered questions about homeless encampments, what makes Seattle his home, and how to “fix” homelessness.

Yesterday, Joe Bernstein, who has been homeless in Seattle for the last four years, took part in an “AMA” (Ask Me Anything) thread on reddit.com, where users pressed him with myriad questions about life on the street.

The AMA was part of the Homeless in Seattle project, in which dozens of Seattle media outlets highlighted their coverage of homelessness to bring more awareness to the issue. Seattle Weekly facilitated the AMA with Joe, who has shared his perspective with our readers before (Stealing from the Homeless is required reading.)

We encourage you to read the entire AMA (87 comments and counting), but we selected eight of the best exchanges in the discussion.

1. “I very much doubt Seattle could arrest and export its way out of this.”

2. “It seems pretty clear that housing first works wonders.”

3. “The standard thing downtrodden groups are supposed to do is unite against their oppressors, and we really don’t.”

4. “That new company’s office told me my resume was useless to them. One month later, I was homeless…”

5. “Selfishly, anything that takes a significant number of other people off the streets makes it easier for me to find places to sleep.”

6. “The increases in homelessness around here aren’t just in Seattle, but all over urban King County.”

7. “Your office’s bathroom sounds like a good resource.”

8. “Taking a chance to get revenge for the badness of your life, not caring whether your target deserves it.”




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