Much of the time when I see a homeless person, I think "There but for the grace of God, go I." -- I can imagine any number of poor choices I could have made earlier in life, or perhaps even just bad luck, that could have led me to a similar situation. It's seldom that I am able to "help" such an individual, though I try make a point of acknowledging them as a fellow human, like I would do with any other person, with a nod, or a smile. Interesting twist of irony: smiling at most homeless people will get you a "Hi" or a smile back, whereas nodding or smiling at random people on the street will often (but not always) get you a glare and a wide berth, I guess some would say that's as it should be.
There's really only a thin veneer separating the homeless from about half of the US population. In fact, I'm sure that there are a lot of people that while having a place to live, are actually worse off than some who are homeless, wintertime in northern climates wholly excepted of course.
So anyway, basically, I agree with you, and what you're doing, though lack the temperament to employ your methods myself -- though I do strive to "consume" as little as possible, just on principle. I've been called "unamerican" (whatever that means, can you be "uncanadian" or "unswedish") for this philosophy, though not by many fellow "yankees" here in rural New England, some of whom still practice the art of frugality for it's own sake.
Americans, on the whole, however, are too willing to say "Those people are just lazy." or "Those people are mentally ill." And while I'm sure those descriptions fit, for some percentage of humans (not just the homeless) more often than not, it seems to me that those two statements are essentially regurgitation of propaganda; platitudes to make us feel less ashamed that we live in a society with so little regard for our brothers and sisters, especially in a supposedly "christian nation", that we allow some of them to languish in the streets, to the detriment of the communities they inhabit, out of some bizarre philosophy that to "give handouts" to them would somehow harm our society. It really is the most twisted logic: damage the culture in order to save it.
Salt Lake City has a program where they're simply providing housing for their homeless population. So far, it's a resounding success, though I'm sure the program isn't perfect (what is?). The city is actually *saving money* since the load on social workers, emergency services and law enforcement is lower. San Fransisco has a similar program, but it hasn't worked as well there, probably for a whole host of reasons.
It seems to me that homelessness is just the tip of the iceberg of America's social ills, a glaring symptom of a root cause that very few are willing to face: monstrous greed produced by a highly-infectious "mental illness", the carriers of which are "neo-liberal" economists and policy makers, convincing us that all we have to do is keep buying shit and working at our jobs that we hate and All Will Be Well, while most of the the imaginary wealth is transferred to a ever smaller sector of the population, as it has done for the better part of a century. It seems they've even deluded themselves into thinking that this can continue indefinitely, by hand-waving away the mathematical absurdities that result if one actually looks at the reality.
I'm not surprised that SimCity has a "virtual homelessness" problem, since the simulation models are probably as absurd as the models used in the real world -- though it has an excuse, it's just supposed to be a fun game, where the outcome doesn't cause real suffering and death for those on the losing side.