When reading local publications about the homeless problem in the Haight Ashbury, eventually those who say Yes to Sit/Lie Prop L typically cite “gutter punks” as being the main problem. In other words, some homeless people are good, but gutter punks are really bad.
So what makes a gutter punk a gutter punk? In some ways, their encampments in the Lower Haight remind me of a harmless frat house without walls. After asking a person who identifies themselves with this language about defining aspects of their culture, I was informed with several intelligent points. What I did not hear were issues of drug abuse like meth and heroin.
In the end, I find many of the gutter punks are artists, musicians, and kids below the age of 28 that are from middle class or working class backgrounds. So why are they homeless? Out of 8 people that I talked to that were Haight Ashbury homeless, 5 cited inappropriate parenting as the main issue. All cited the recession as the main reason they became jobless or did not get their first job.
For this reason, homelessness for gutter punks is a lifestyle default choice that has larger issues behind it. 7 of the 8 gutter punks I talked with on Halloween weekend said they looked for jobs for 2-3 years, eventually gave up, left their childhood homes, and saw being a gutter punk a helpful community to be a part of.
In the end, it is clear to me that the gutter punks banded together, at one point and time, because they were younger. Older homeless people in the Haight Ashbury are often homeless because of drugs, alcohol, and disability related issues. More explanations from the gutter punks can be found here.