Hobo Hilton Homeless Living in Storage Area

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Re: Hobo Hilton Homeless Living in Storage Area

Post by wyntyr » Sun Mar 16, 2014 1:59 pm

Well, to discuss why we would rather allow people to be homeless than to reclaim abandoned homes in areas like Detroit, the lower 9th Ward, etc. would probably devolve into a politics discussion, and this hardly seems the place. So I'll just share some stories about the storage facility I worked at and maybe some ideas on how you can incorporate a storage unit into your own personal survival plan.

First, a story about weird stuff. Prior to taking over that location I worked as an 'assistant manager' at various locations - basically worked in place of someone on their days off, stuff like that. Most storage facilities are minimally staffed (although that can vary from location to location - personally, when shopping for a storage facility I like to find places that have management that live on site, but I'll discuss that more later or in other posts I'm sure). For example, we had two people that worked at each facility, and generally you'd have one guy doing marketing for the facility (bringing goodies and so on to local apartment complexes and so on) or doing collections calls while another guy would be doing maintenance - adjusting springs on empty units, changing light bulbs, but mostly just sweeping and so on. Anyway, if you get a location that's poorly staffed, with people who aren't being intentionally observant, a lot of weird shit can go on at a storage facility before anyone catches on.

One day I get a call that there's weird stuff going on at our location nearest Fort Benning. Some customers were saying they'd seen a guy carrying banks of car batteries in to a unit, that he'd go inside the unit and close the roll up door behind him, etc. Again, this was a climate controlled one inside, so my first instinct was that it was someone living there (even though I hadn't seen it firsthand yet, I'd heard the horror stories / rumors). By the time I got to that location he was gone, and we didn't really have anything to go on to cut his lock and check out his unit - that was reserved for people who couldn't pay their bills or if we had a REALLY strong suspicion that something was going on, like when the cops thought someone was running a meth lab out of a unit (they weren't. I don't really remember the details there). So I just decided to keep an eye on the unit and check it out next time the guy was actually on property.

Two Saturdays or so later, the guy comes onto property, I had someone else with me that could man the office, so I left to "sweep out a hallway" and see what this guy was up to. I could see the roll up door was barely cracked and there was light from inside the unit, which seemed weird. I hear the guy talking to himself and he starts repeating "oh no oh no oh no oh no". At this point I'm kind of weirded out. I called out "This is Nick from [Company name] Mini Storage, everything okay?" He tells me that everything is fine and I ask him to please open his unit.

I've never seen someone look so embarrassed in my life. I've also never seen a more elaborate model train kit. Turns out that yes, this dude had banks of car batteries - all to provide electricity for lamps and for a truly impressive model train set up. The town this guy had built that his train serviced was detailed to the point that it'd make most Warhammer players blush with envy over his paint skills. He was renting, again, a pretty expensive climate controlled unit so he'd have a place to go play with his model trains. His wife hated the fact that he had the trains, she wouldn't let him take up room in their house with it, so he hid his toys in our units and played with them at great inconvenience to himself, all for the love of model trains.

That was the weirder one. A funny one was a doctor who rented a unit he could pull his car into - every day, you could set your watch by it during the week, this guy would come up and pull his car into his unit, and he and his receptionist (or whoever she was, we assumed receptionist) would have sex in their car inside a regular old storage unit. Granted, I'm sure he had the A/C running in the car, but when they went into the place looking normal and left looking sweaty as hell and it happened every day, it wasn't hard to figure out what they were up to. Oh well, he paid his bill and nobody was getting hurt, what did we care?

When I've got some time to spare I'll write up some stories about the odd things we found when units would go to auction, and how you could incorporate a storage unit into your own urban survival plan.
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Re: Hobo Hilton Homeless Living in Storage Area

Post by majorhavoc » Sun Mar 16, 2014 10:39 pm

You've got the makings of an awesome (and marketable) book there. Just sayin'.

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Re: Hobo Hilton Homeless Living in Storage Area

Post by Dave_M » Sun Mar 16, 2014 11:44 pm

When I lived in NC I had a storage unit. When I signed up there were two guys in the office. One of them asked me if I wanted climate controlled or not and the other looked at him like he was crazy. A little weird but whatever. I told him that regular was fine, signed the contract etc.

So I go to move my stuff. All of the climate controlled was in the back and I passed them every time I left. Climate controlled had regular doors on the front (as opposed to roll up) and some even had small windows. WTF? That's -off-. Then I rolled by another time and lawn chairs were around the doors and guys were grilling and drinking beer.

Turns out, 'climate control' was just a code word for 'illegal cheap housing for migrant workers'. Obviously the storage unit guys were in on it (by all means it appeared that they were specifically designed for a living space).
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Re: Hobo Hilton Homeless Living in Storage Area

Post by IronEagle » Mon Mar 17, 2014 11:20 pm

To go along with this story as a possible improvised safehouse there is something similar which I saw in a comic forever ago (It was very well drawn graphic novel level, sadly I do not remember it's name and I think it went belly up.) was using a shipping container as a location. Think about it because with doors that open out, preventing zombies from "pushing" them open with massing up on it, relatively strong doors at that in addition to being able to bolt them shut. If you live near a port or even a truck stop/station it's a possibility that would work decently well if you need a place to crash at night when/if the weather is bad, to leave supplies for others if needed, and are relatively easy to secure. The only problem with setting up such a place before any major disaster is that they are much more likely to be moved, unlike storage units if you pay the bills, because those things are almost always used because they rarely go "bad" as opposed to other such containers, like wooden boxes or something.

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Re: Hobo Hilton Homeless Living in Storage Area

Post by RosieTheRiveter » Tue Jun 09, 2015 12:31 am

Das Sheep wrote:Its crazy to me that we have all these forclosed empty homes. Way more than we have homeless people.
That's just what I was going to say! My husband and I had a modest little house with a standard 30-year fixed-rate mortgage until we were foreclosed on a few years after the great crash of '08, when he lost his job and I was trying to finish up college. We sent what we could when we could, signed up for payment plans that the bank would quickly lose all record of, tried for a bailout, but it wasn't enough.

The thing is, the house sat empty for over a year, and this was prime real estate--great property values where we lived, wonderful location. But the big banks get kickbacks from good ol' Uncle Sam when they have to foreclose, because the poor little bank lost money on the deal. So in many cases, the banks actually make more money on empty houses than on occupied ones; it's not in their best interest to help mortgage holders stay in their homes.

~~~~~~~~~~~~

I have heard of people stockpiling emergency supplies in storage units, but to me it sounds kind of risky. All the employees of the storage unit probably have an idea what's in there, and they have padlock cutters. When the SHTF and you can't get to your unit right away, can you count on your stuff still being there? I might do it as a contingency plan, but it seems just too risky to have that as your plan A. Perhaps if you hid all of your supplies inside of gutted-out crappy furniture and moving boxes labeled 'knick-nacks'?
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Re: Hobo Hilton Homeless Living in Storage Area

Post by zantra » Sat Jan 28, 2017 10:32 am

living in an old mini-van makes far more sense, actually. A "close friend" did so for 2 years, once. Sold plasma, did craiglist work gigs, daylabor, flew a sign, while "living" at the misson. In 3 weeks, was able to buy on old car. tossed away the back seat, hacksawed out the cross-members, laid particle board over the rear area and trunk so could sleep in it. The vehicle cost $250 and would barely run. Over the next month, got it repaired enough to be reliable. Never did plate or insure it. After had reliable wheels, day labor became readily available and moved up to a $600 mini-van. Got it repaired, got into a jr college (ie, 6k of school loans per year). Used the loan money to get a Filipina dentist as wife, and now, gets 30k per year from her, tax free. :-) Just cause you start with nothing doesn't mean you have to keep on living that way. School loans got paid off in 2 years. Sure, when she gets to be a UX citizen (she's not interested, so far) there may be issues, but hey, now there's an in-demand skill, job, apt, vehicle.

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Re: Hobo Hilton Homeless Living in Storage Area

Post by teotwaki » Sat Jan 28, 2017 12:07 pm

zantra wrote:living in an old mini-van makes far more sense, actually. A "close friend" did so for 2 years, once. Sold plasma, did craiglist work gigs, daylabor, flew a sign, while "living" at the misson. In 3 weeks, was able to buy on old car. tossed away the back seat, hacksawed out the cross-members, laid particle board over the rear area and trunk so could sleep in it. The vehicle cost $250 and would barely run. Over the next month, got it repaired enough to be reliable. Never did plate or insure it. After had reliable wheels, day labor became readily available and moved up to a $600 mini-van. Got it repaired, got into a jr college (ie, 6k of school loans per year). Used the loan money to get a Filipina dentist as wife, and now, gets 30k per year from her, tax free. :-) Just cause you start with nothing doesn't mean you have to keep on living that way. School loans got paid off in 2 years. Sure, when she gets to be a UX citizen (she's not interested, so far) there may be issues, but hey, now there's an in-demand skill, job, apt, vehicle.

I wish a significant percentage of the homeless worked as hard as your "close friend" to pull themselves out homelessness.
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Re: Hobo Hilton Homeless Living in Storage Area

Post by TacAir » Sat Jan 28, 2017 12:22 pm

Living in Vans or storage units may soon become a thing of the past.

(Headline)Hawaii pols propose bill that would classify homelessness as medical condition(/headline)

HONOLULU – As an emergency room doctor, Hawaii Sen. Josh Green sees homeless patients suffering from diabetes, mental health problems and an array of medical issues that are more difficult to manage when they are homeless or do not have permanent housing.

That's why Green says he wants homelessness classified under Hawaii state law as a medical condition.

If homelessness is a disease, he reasons, then doctors should be able to write prescriptions for the cure: Housing.

"It is paradigm shift for sure, but the single best thing we can do today is to allow physicians and health care providers in general to write prescriptions for housing," Green said.

Green last week introduced a bill in the Hawaii Legislature to classify chronic homelessness as a medical condition and require insurance companies to cover treatment of the condition.

But if a doctor wrote a prescription for six months of housing, where would the patient fill the prescription?

That's where Green wants Medicaid to step in.

He wants to redirect some of Hawaii's $2 billion annual Medicaid budget to pay for housing.
END Quote

I'm not getting into the politics, but rather wonder - what happens to folks who need, say, dialysis treatments, buit cannot get the medical care because too much of the scarce (tax) money is going to slumloads?

This is a different version of the Housing First meme that's gaining traction all over. What makes it unusual, is that it seeks to siphon off Federal Health dollars to support home-less housing - something that, up to now, has been a local issue (both providing and paying for).

I have to give this Doc props for ignoring the box in his thinking. I suspect he will soon be back to doctoring full time.

I'll follow up on this as to how well the Feds take to the notion.... Could be an interesting story.
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Re: Hobo Hilton Homeless Living in Storage Area

Post by woodsghost » Sat Jan 28, 2017 3:16 pm

TacAir wrote:
(Headline)Hawaii pols propose bill that would classify homelessness as medical condition(/headline)
We used to have housing forthe (many) homeless. Then we moved to de-institutionalize the mentally ill. In this case compassion will smack up against compassion. In the end, economics will win.
Last edited by woodsghost on Wed Feb 01, 2017 5:27 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Hobo Hilton Homeless Living in Storage Area

Post by zantra » Wed Feb 01, 2017 5:12 pm

the homeless DESTROY buildings, get drunk, let fires get out of hand, get rodents and roaches coming,in, bedbugs, etc. If you dont keep a manager present, a VERY aware and hard-nosed one, you'll regret letting in most people! Do NOT rent to the low=$ people, it's a huge mistake.

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Re: Hobo Hilton Homeless Living in Storage Area

Post by Asymetryczna » Tue Aug 01, 2017 12:52 pm

Don't know about zantra and longy. Do know that people should include more stories about squatting and storage areas. I find it interesting. The last time I drove onto a boat and crossed back and forth between Dover/Calais, there were people everywhere (ditches, under plastic sheet tents, etc.) waiting for any opportunity to cross the channel to the UK. Their numbers can only grow. https://www.theguardian.com/world/2017/ ... ear-calais
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Re: Hobo Hilton Homeless Living in Storage Area

Post by teotwaki » Tue Aug 01, 2017 1:37 pm

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Orange County, California has become powerless similar to Los Angeles County to take any action at all against homeless encampments. Even though the areas are well marked with warning signs against loitering, camping, littering and so on the encampments continue to grow along the banks of a dry river.








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Re: Hobo Hilton Homeless Living in Storage Area

Post by teotwaki » Tue Aug 01, 2017 3:10 pm

The other bad aspect of these encampments along the river is that I had hoped to use the bike pathways as alternatives
to paved streets during any sort of event; earthquake, alien invasion, Archer-style nocturnal missions :lol:
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Re: Hobo Hilton Homeless Living in Storage Area

Post by flybynight » Tue Aug 01, 2017 5:35 pm

teotwaki wrote:The other bad aspect of these encampments along the river is that I had hoped to use the bike pathways as alternatives
to paved streets during any sort of event; earthquake, alien invasion, Archer-style nocturnal missions :lol:
What about further inland in Riverside or San Berdoo ?
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Re: Hobo Hilton Homeless Living in Storage Area

Post by TacAir » Tue Aug 01, 2017 6:35 pm

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Fires in these camp pose real hazards to the general public - like the overpass that got destroyed by some bum's out of control fire.

I have suggest more than one that Anchorage step in with temp housing like this

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The tents provide shelter from the rain and can be heated in the winter. The 10 foot high, razor wire topped fences will keep the bears at bay and protect the homeless living there.

The Muni chose to spend $30 million on fixing up an old hotel for about 30 of the street people... Could have bought a lot of tents for that....
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Re: Hobo Hilton Homeless Living in Storage Area

Post by teotwaki » Tue Aug 01, 2017 10:02 pm

TacAir wrote: I have suggest more than one that Anchorage step in with temp housing like this

The tents provide shelter from the rain and can be heated in the winter. The 10 foot high, razor wire topped fences will keep the bears at bay and protect the homeless living there.

The Muni chose to spend $30 million on fixing up an old hotel for about 30 of the street people... Could have bought a lot of tents for that....
I don't disagree with the overspend on the hotel. Questions on the tents: For winter in Anchorage would a tent stove really be good enough to heat each tent? I've no experience with that setup. What would the city supply to burn in the stoves? Cut wood?

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Re: Hobo Hilton Homeless Living in Storage Area

Post by TacAir » Wed Aug 02, 2017 12:54 am

teotwaki wrote:
TacAir wrote: I have suggest more than one that Anchorage step in with temp housing like this

The tents provide shelter from the rain and can be heated in the winter. The 10 foot high, razor wire topped fences will keep the bears at bay and protect the homeless living there.

The Muni chose to spend $30 million on fixing up an old hotel for about 30 of the street people... Could have bought a lot of tents for that....
I don't disagree with the overspend on the hotel. Questions on the tents: For winter in Anchorage would a tent stove really be good enough to heat each tent? I've no experience with that setup. What would the city supply to burn in the stoves? Cut wood?

Thanks!!
Those are GP Mediums. Spent many a winter night at Ft Greely (-70F some nights) in a 5 or 10 man Hex - easily heated with a Yukon stove burning diesel. GP Medium, add a couple of the stoves. GIs have been living in these in the cold (Alaska, Korea, Europe) since the 50s.

Good enough for a GI is more than good enough for a bum. I have some small sympathy for the truly mental. Nothing for the rest.

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This tent is not set up correctly, but does show the liner inside.

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Stove, M-1950 AkA Yukon stove - can burn wood, much better with kero or diesel. This looks so familiar....

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Another option would a Jamesway shelter. The new version is called a Weatherport locally.

The idea for me is to keep the "homeless" from freezing to death, not to let them live the Rancho Deluxe lifestyle on my dime.

The muni wonders why the homeless population keeps growing. They put folks up in swank digs, feed 'em 3 hots a day and not even an attempt stop them from drinking....and then wonder why you get swamped with freeloaders? YGBSM.
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Re: Hobo Hilton Homeless Living in Storage Area

Post by teotwaki » Wed Aug 02, 2017 10:16 am

Unfortunately the minute the tents are set up they will be comparing to the ones in Arizona so it might slightly explain why they went with the hotel

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Re: Hobo Hilton Homeless Living in Storage Area

Post by Asymetryczna » Wed Aug 02, 2017 10:46 am

It's a good point. I have lived in those GP tents as well - Bridgeport, McCoy, Drum, Norway, etc. In some there were plywood floors and cots. We stayed comfortable in freezing conditions - and one acclimates quickly.
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