11 May 2021


A mnemomic for the homeless population that fits amazingly well from when I was a psych student or volunteering in the community...


That's Crazies, Addicts, Tramps and Out-of-luck.

The ratios were about 40%, 30%, 20%, 10%

Crazies are the mentally ill, who likely cannot be cured and will not be institutionalized.

Addicts are those who cannot, for one reason or another, get clean and stay clean.

Tramps are the people who are sane and (mostly) clean of drugs who simply don't aspire to more than this lifestyle.

The out-of-luck are what we think of as homeless if we follow the news.  These are the people who, if given half a chance, rebound and resume their place in normal society.

The comments in that link have several disagreements over this ratio.  I admit, I volunteered in my lily white community where the ratios match.  But the anecdotal evidence suggests that the ratios for other races are different.

I dunno.  I've made no observations and done no research.  I cannot confirm or refute.


  1. I would say that is pretty close to the shelter population I volunteer at once a week.

    Some of the crazies are much nicer than some of the tramps.


  2. FWIW, the current ratios are more like 50-40-7-3.

    And with a large slice of addicts, the question becomes chicken-and-egg, i.e. Are they taking drugs because they're crazy? Or crazy because they're taking drugs?

    1. I'm certain that there's a lot of overlap on a Venn diagram.

  3. The numbers don't seem too far off for here, which is very "diverse". If anything the number of crazies and addicts may be higher than that and the amount of tramps and OOL may be lower. Maybe 50% 40% 7% 3%. Not many stay OOL around here for long if they are trying. Lots of tramps who claim to be OOL more than they really are. Many if not most of the crazy and addicted refuse to seek or accept help beyond handouts.

  4. Did you notice that "the homeless" didn't get on the media radar screen until the Reagan administration? A lot of chronic Reagan-haters (if he'd cured cancer, they'd have screamed that he wanted oncologists to starve) seized on this as a way to punish those heartless Rethuglicans. Never mind that the problem had roots running far back before Reagan's election---both sides were at fault, too. The left side of the aisle thought that the mentally ill were just "differently thinking," and were fooled by the fact that many of them could seem fairly functional---as long as they were in a controlled institutional environment and were on their meds. And a lot of the right side of the aisle snapped at the idea of closing the institutions because it would save money. The bad reputation a lot of mental institutions had didn't help, either---too many people thought that One Flew Over The Cuckoo's Nest was a documentary, and missed the way the movie made it damned clear that the people in there with McMurphy belonged in there.

    Magically, the second that the Side of Goodness, Light and Sweetness (the Democrats, at least according to the news media) got into the White House, media coverage of the "homeless crisis" dried up. But the second that the side of Badness, Old-Fashionedness and Meanypants got back in, the spotlight was back on "the homeless."


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