Outside of agriculture, there are the usual suspects. Bars, restaurants, cleaning jobs, roofing, painting, other forms of low skill construction, landscaping/yard work, and with the unemployment rate so low, other jobs are becoming available as well. Many of these jobs have someone who drives, and a passenger or two to help with the work when they arrive. I know several folks who do not have licenses due to DUIs, and they are gainfully employed without owning a car, in places where cars are almost a necessity.
I never said it would be easy - but it certainly is doable.
I suspect that there's more to OPs story than what was told. Substance abuse, etc. Not faulting the guy but I think that he needs to make an honest assessment of his situation. It's not the lack of work, I know that.
Good luck, OP. My parents were both drug addicts and I moved from house to house for most of my life, too. I know how hard it can be. But, I clawed my way out and I know you can, too.
Getting out of homelessness is extremely difficult.
You smell, you can't keep your stuff safe, you can't keep your devices powered on, you can't get constant internet, you may not be able to find a place to sit and work in peace, etc.
It's a catch 22:
without a job, no apartment. without an apartment, no job.
you need a phone, an apartment/living space, internet, and electricity in order to work as a programmer.
If he is any reliable and ask for help locally, he will get it.
There is more to it than his text.
There are homeless people out there with alcohol addiction or other hard drugs. Schizophrenia untreated etc.
How homeless and helpless is your situation when you still can write a blog post?
Don't get me wrong, people should get/need help but people are not "just" homeless and something is missing in his story.
Like others have mentioned, this is a stepping stone job. I mentioned in my post that I, too, had a rough time as a kid and young guy. I failed out of Vanderbilt after my first year and had to take a job assembling trophies to get back on my feet. Believe me, it doesn't feel good to go from playing frisbee on Alumni Lawn to being back home in my crappy town, making $4.25/hr screwing nuts onto threaded rods for eight hours a day alongside people who never even went to high school. It was humbling but it paid the rent on my shitty apartment and paid for my dialup internet connection, which led to my first tech job at an ISP in 1994. It's been pretty amazing since then.
Also, economy in your city being good and job opening for lanscape available does not imply same economy in other cities.
The pairing may happen on individual basis, basically when most of work is teamwork and they don't need you to go around alone anyway. A lot of work is single person work. Or when boss is nice and willing to help you out and organize more.
So I guess that depends on what exactly the company needs you to do. Plenty require car so that you are flexible whether there is acute need for it or not.
And don't forget prejudice against people without cars, it is out of norm and suspect for many people. (Same with being homeless, they may not give you job for fear of you being trouble).
Sounds pretty smart to me, but I don't know anything about being homeless or getting a job in the USA.
I've been exactly there. You're not making minimum wage when you show up to the farm to pick apricots all day.
Bars - need a bartender license. Yes, you do, nobody is risking it in 2018.
Restaurants, sure, but again, you're not making minimum wage, and if you whiff of hobo you're not working front of house and getting tips.
Cleaning jobs are usually cornered by some immigrant class . If you're an immigrant and have friends/family with the hookup or maybe can speak their language, congrats, you're in (not making minimum wage). If not, move on.
Roofing - you need to bring your own tools. Speaking from experience. Also, this isn't just a "show up and do it job," the shysters that manage to sell shit crews to homeowners never last long, so you'll have to get on with a crew that know what they're doing, and they're not going to want to bring someone on that wants to just do it long enough to "get their feet under them" and then bail. Decent pay, sure, but it's a "career."
Painting - this means standing outside of home depot, just like OP said. Not minimum wage.
Other forms of low skill construction - like what? It's not "low skill," the immigrants you see doing it get trained up by their cousins on the job, and once again, it's bring your own tools.
Landscaping/yard work - market cornered by immigrants and highschoolers. Nobody wants a random hobo mowing their lawn. Maybe you can get on with an immigrant crew. Non-minimum wage.
>unemployment rate so low
Yea, because people are being paid like it's still 1991 (the 2009 raise was putting a finger into a ten meter diameter hole in a dam).
This guy didn't have a family to support him. That's how the immigrants do it, in case anybody is wondering - they stay with families, get jobs due to families, and afford life here because they're all supporting eachother. Random hobo programmer dude is going to have a MUCH harder time scrabbling out of the hole.
Yea, you can scrabble a life, but you're not building a ladder out of the hole for yourself. I'd argue, if you can program, the 3.75/hr you'd make for 3 months is meaningless if you can instead spend that 3 months homeless but then pull a programming job for even a month.
> That's how the immigrants do it
Not really. Lots of generalizations there about immigrants. Some might have networks but many come here on their own with nothing and grind it out for decades to build up their lives. The key is persistence.
Your post seems to be full of assumptions and complaints which makes it clear that you likely have never attempted to get such a job, because it's definitely not as impossible as you make it sound. Also, when you're homeless, anything is better than nothing.
Especially the parts about someone teaching you trade and borrowing tools so you can show up like pretending to be pro instead of like someone who never done that trade. Or relative helping you get job and teaching you on the job. Smart person can learn basics fast, but can't figure them on his own and need someone to cover up basic mistakes at the beginning.
And also ability to find a place to sleep in shared with other non complete strangers (e.g. People you know something about even if a bit) - not as comfortable nor with privacy but cheap and provides connections.
The shared housing was common enough that Americans attempted to prevent it in places (via rules on multiple families in one house etc).
Culture aspect is real but it's highly localized, even to immigrants, meaning you don't get help from "your people" just because you share the same origin.
It took a loan from my sister
(hey, lucky I had a sister with money to loan me!) to get one of those rooms in a shared building where you aren't allowed to have guests and the kitchen cupboards have padlocks on them.
You NEED an address to get anything more than one-off day work that you can't count on to pay the next months rent with. It's not optional.
I did the one-off "go to a construction site, ask if they need help, get 20 bucks for cleaning the work site" thing and that's fine for EATING but that's about it. You can't send resumes out or get back to recruiters during that time, etc. It's enough to keep eating, that's about it.
At that time the rent was like $380 for the room (this was in the Multimedia Gulch days...) so that's like 11 bucks a day for rent, don't miss a day.
So, in one day of programming, I would make rent for the month and then some, but I needed to have a place with a computer to program.
So today, you have laptops, but you still need electricity and internet. You need a stable place where you can plug your stuff in, keep it safe, and work.
That's totally different than some kind of state proctored or recognized bartending exam that a bartender must have passed in order to work at the bar.
It might also be possible that being a 1099 contractor also avoids minimum wage laws by having a contract based on the job's completion, not the time taken.
While not Iowa, the farms around here will easily pay you $20-30/hr. if you are willing to work on equipment. Which, anyone who is capable of software development, also has the mindset required to work on equipment. They're pretty similar activities when you get down to it. I'm not sure there is any reason why someone with such a skillset needs to go into picking apricots. We're not exactly talking about a 12 year old who has never worked before and who's greatest ability is being able to turn on his video game console.
But as a farmer, I have to walk up and fix equipment all the time.
There are people who are better at it then me. I will definitely hire them when I am under a time crunch, but they also charge way more money than the figures I quoted earlier, so you cannot afford to take them on full-time (if they are willing to work on a farm full-time) and have them to perform other duties on the farm that do not have the same value proposition.
> would you expect an average mechanic to be able to develop software as well?
Yes, absolutely. I distinctly remember when I started developing software as a teenager and was able to start writing software after a day or two of honing my thought process, without the benefit of having a professional background like a mechanic has. It is a very accessible activity. I don't know if they could walk into a SV tech company offering $200k/year, just as a farmhand who works on machinery isn't likely to walk into higher paying heavy equipment mechanic position. There are going to be better developers out there, but like mechanical work, there is a gradient.
Directing him to ag-work here is somewhat of a non-sequitur IMO
I don't consider it a low skill though, it's being handy. Something I am not, so respect them. They build your home that you pay a loan for. While some of us get paid for apps that cost 1$ with a ad supported free version and that gives a 30% commission to the platform owners.
You also missed a large category of jobs, which is retail. And most people working retail are not immigrants. All you need to do is be reasonably presentable for these jobs.
I know felons with difficult histories that find work, if they can then anyone can.