Perspective: Mac McGill on the reality of homelessness

August 15, 2014, 2 Comments, Written by , Posted in Uncategorized

I want to tell you about a guy named Mac McGill. He lives in Santa Barbara. And he’s been doing a lot of work to tell the stories of homeless people. I’d consider him an authority on the subject, as he’s spent a lot of time homeless himself.  He’s kind of awesome, and you should pay attention to the passion and the explanation and the conflicted emotions he is willing to share with the world if it helps. He is fiery and true, and a generous man with a lot of good insight. Learn from him.


Last night around 2 AM brutally cold winds strong enough to knock over many of the full trash cans that had been put out descended on Santa Barbara with absolutely no warning. At least not for us homeless. It was cold enough to wake me to where I had to scramble to pull my parka and overpants out of my case, and windy enough to make it difficult to do so. I had fully planned on going to my new job today, which is about aa mile and a half away. However, when I woke up the chill was penetrating enough that taking off my winter wear was not really feasible. It was quite simply to damn cold to even consider riding a bike without my parka and over-pants, but then what do I do once it warms up? My pack is already too full to accommodate them. It would be warm enough by the afternoon that wearing it really wouldn’t be an option, and I am already wearing dirty clothes, and the commute whether by bicycle or on foot already causes me to sweat pretty heavily. It will be days before I can do laundry. So I ask you what your willingness to endure all of that would be, and how often you even have to face decisions like this. I would quite happily bootstrap myself up if the opportunities were not only more lucrative, but even feasible given my circumstances. Exactly how many people want an unshaven employee who reeks of sweat and hasn’t slept well because of factors utterly beyond his control? The solution we are constantly given is to “get a job.”

Well, I have a goddamned job and it isn’t fucking working.

-May 6, 2014

Find him at

Or on Twitter @MacMcGill7




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