The homeless find themselves in great stress daily. Their stress is not just about other’s behavior, but about life and death issues. This stress builds up over time and creates depression. Pretty soon, the homeless person is desperate to find some joy in their lives. And they can find temporary joy in alcohol or in drugs. Almost none of the homeless are interested in making drugs or alcohol a lifestyle, but a good number of them fall into that, almost by default.
Because of this, the homeless are accepting of other people’s addictions. They will complain about other’s addictions and occasionally make compassionate statements about their friends stopping a life-threatening addiction. But there is little moral quandary about drugs or alcohol. Everyone recognizes it as a survival mechanism, or self-medication.
And yet, at the same time, there is an underlying current of people constantly trying (and usually failing) to quit their addictions, for personal reasons. And the homeless community support these efforts, even if they find themselves unable to do this themselves.
For all this, it must be admitted that there are a number of the chronic homeless who are not involved in drugs or alcohol in any way. Being a part of the community doesn’t necessarily mean that addiction is required. The actual number of addicts on the street is almost impossible to determine realistically, however.