I lived in Boulder, CO and its environs, mostly outdoors year-round, for about a decade (with only brief respites indoors). NEVER did I apply for any taxpayer-funded benefits like food stamps, SSDI / SSI, Colorado AND, Section 8 or other housing vouchers, etc. NOR did I hang out at the many Free Giveaway venues on a daily basis, grabbing everything I could lay my hands on whether I needed it or not.
People in my neighborhood of north Boulder, friends I made elsewhere in the city, and eventually passersby who saw me on a regular basis began to offer all kinds of support, including cash. This went on for a couple of years until I finally tried my hand “flying a sign.” That also proved profitable because I was respectful to everyone, and I could make as much money as I needed for all of life’s necessities in two or three hours per day. I have no expensive vices like smoking, drinking, or drugging and I never got a ticket for petty offenses so many get caught up in, so I never had fines to pay.
ANYBODY could live as a homeless person in the same way I did. I truly believe I enjoyed life much more than those always worrying about the social services system, because they were utterly dependent on it.
Who needs a government safety net? Well, when I had a heart attack and some other medical issues in December, 2017 I found out that I did. As I was laid out on a gurney in the ER, a nice lady with paperwork on a clipboard came by and signed me up for Medicaid. I’ve been living in a long-term nursing facility since leaving the hospital, and like nearly every other resident it’s the government paying for it through Medicaid / Medicare.
Personally, I have no need for any of the other benefits available.