Blaze News original: Former homeless man Jared Klickstein was forced into a suitcase naked by a meth dealer — he says it’s a funny story

News & Politics

Former homeless man Jared Klickstein says California’s policies on homelessness are failing, calling the current system a jobs program for liberal arts graduates.

Klickstein has experienced the horrors of San Francisco’s street encampments firsthand and lived for years as a drug-addicted homeless person who was supposedly to benefit from California’s extremely generous policies toward those who live on the streets.

With the state spending literal billions on fighting homelessness, Klickstein is faced with the question of whether the problem is the people making the policy or the people enforcing the policy.

“I think there’s people that want to help and there are people in these organizations that mean well, [but] the policy is completely broken.” At the same time, Klickstein believes California has built a homeless-fund infrastructure that is itself its own economy that benefits from a large population of street-sleepers.

“What we have is a jobs program for liberal arts graduates that are sort of failures and couldn’t get jobs in other arenas. We’ve propped up this entire job market of nonprofits that sort of maintains homelessness. It’s kind of free-range homeless; they’re like shepherd that maintain this situation.”

‘This is very bad. It sounds like he is sizing me up as a product he’s going to sell.’

Thousands of homeless are not on a track to get off the streets. It’s more like putting the homeless in a comfortable situation while maintaining homelessness, he explained. Homeless people aren’t necessarily being viewed as “human”; they’re viewed as “job security,” Klickstein said. In some ways they aren’t even human, he admitted, referencing addictions to drugs like fentanyl that he described as putting people in a “zombie”-like state.

The new author said that after years of pushing from friends, he published his own story about living on the streets as a “meth-addicted homeless person.”

It’s a (drug-addicted) comedy!

Klickstein’s book, “Crooked Smile,” has resonated with popular comedians like Matt McCusker, who spoke about it on his podcast with Shane Gillis. McCusker wrote a blurb for the back of the book after receiving a copy from Klickstein, who said the comedian was incredibly receptive.

“Comedians have an ethos that they just want to lift people up,” the San Francisco native said when asked why he thought comedians have responded so well.

Along with comic Sam Tallent, McCusker and Gillis joked about the stories in the new book. Klickstein said that even though it’s a book about drug use, homeless people, and almost being human trafficked, it’s the story’s “comedic elements” that have attracted so many eyes.

“You have to laugh at it,” he added. The writer said joking is a way to overcome trauma instead of letting it eat you alive. This mirrors what a lot of comedians cite as the reason for talking about some of their darkest experiences.

Naked in a suitcase and nearly sold

McCusker spoke about a story from “Crooked Smile” about the author being beaten and put in a duffel bag by two drug dealers; Klickstein said that wasn’t true. It was actually a suitcase.

“I was a homeless drug addict in San Francisco, and I wound up in a situation where my female drug dealer had suspected that I had done her wrong, that I had stolen a cell phone from her and sold it to somebody.”

While he was going over to the drug dealer’s home to purchase drugs, “she had plans of attacking me with her sister,” he detailed. “I got beat up by two women; one of them had a really large knife.”

“They told me to get naked and get into a suitcase,” he recalled. “So I did.”

After realizing that it wasn’t a good situation to be in, Klickstein said the drug dealers insinuated that they were going to kill him and put his body parts in said suitcase.

“They wanted to make sure I could fit in there, and I did.”

He managed to “negotiate” his way out of the suitcase and was then ordered to sit nude in a closet. After some time passed, a friend of the drug dealer came over nicknamed “Cousin Meth.”

Cousin Meth brought another person with a gun, who then made it clear to Klickstein that the goal was no longer to kill him, but rather to traffic him, most likely as a sex slave. With a smirk, Klickstein recalled being asked to “try to look sexy” as pictures were taken of him. He was also asked his height and weight so he could be evaluated by potential human trafficking customers.

“This is very bad. It sounds like he is sizing me up as a product he’s going to sell,” he remembered thinking.

While Cousin Meth was making a series of phone calls asking if anyone was interested in Klickstein, the writer imagined that he was likely going to be sold into a “dungeon” and it was probable that the buyer would be a man. However, no one really wanted to buy Klickstein, as he looked “crazy,” was on heroin, and was “emaciated.”

Klickstein noted that the drug dealer was only his current drug dealer because her boyfriend, who typically supplied him with drugs, went to prison.

“He actually went to jail; that’s why she took over the operation,” Klickstein said.

The boyfriend called the woman from jail and explained to her the consequences of forcible confinement and murder and how she would likely end up in prison if she didn’t let Klickstein go free.

“His name was T-Bone. So thank you, T-Bone, he actually convinced Chantal to let me go.”

The ordeal was estimated to have lasted 12 hours, but the author admitted he was drugged with the common date-rape substance GHB, and after his release, he passed out in a 7-Eleven before being picked up by police.

Funding the homelessness problem

“The way that [governments] are utilizing this money is not working,” Klickstein insisted.

Things are being done in a backward manner without considering human incentive. The policies have incentivized bad behavior, Klickstein continued, posing the question that either policymakers in California don’t know what they are doing or they are “embezzling” millions of dollars.

While the problems will take money to solve, the simple act of pouring funding on a problem that has been exacerbated by poor policy simply won’t work, he said. The author also expressed that he thinks that the government has incentivized bad and antisocial behavior through laws that have softened punishments for theft and drug use.

California’s solutions haven’t worked, so whose have?

‘What I’m up against is a progressive ideology that is basically “let this person just be insane and die slowly in the street.”‘

Klickstein said he lived in south Florida, where being homeless is essentially illegal. “That is one strategy I suppose,” he joked.

“It’s not really a good path in my opinion … making rules like that probably drive people to cities that are more lenient towards the homeless.”

He then pointed to Houston, Texas, as a place that has reduced its homeless population significantly. Houston’s methods of putting NGOs under one banner, as opposed to being in competition with one another, seems to have worked, at least on paper.

According to a 2023 report by Governing, the city once had competing nonprofits that didn’t communicate at all. Since 2011, Houston has reportedly dropped its homeless population by 64%, and 17% from 2022 to 2023. That was a reduction from 8,500 people to 3,200, with 2,000 of those homeless living in shelters as of that publication.

Klickstein said that finding a path to housing a person or admitting a person to a mental health facility is now seen as the “conservative” viewpoint.

“What I’m up against is a progressive ideology that is basically ‘let this person just be insane and die slowly in the street.’ Which doesn’t really make sense to me.”

“That is the way it has been handled in San Francisco.”

Illegal immigration in California, while not the driving issue, hasn’t helped, Klickstein revealed. He stated the issue has indeed driven up the cost of housing, which is a contributing factor to keeping people off the streets.

“Houses where I live rent for $5,000-$6,000. I’d imagine that is due to an influx of people moving into the city who are looking for a house.”

Not much can be done about that, he admitted, besides actually curbing illegal immigration.

Helping Hunter Biden

Before the interview ended, Klickstein wanted to offer advice to the first son, Hunter Biden. His best suggestion: “Hunter needs to laugh a bit.”

“I get it; he needs to walk this line, and he takes his role very seriously, but he is the funniest thing about this presidency. People would respect him more if he had a sense of humor about [his transgressions], and people would like him more if he was more humble about selling state secrets for crack.”

“Crooked Smile” is available on Amazon. Klickstein provides the following synopsis:

“If you’ve ever wondered what it’s like to grow up in a crack house, get adopted into a rich neighborhood when you’re 12, then become a chronically homeless drug-addict criminal for 10 years, then escape it, and then outline a plan on how we can actually help the many thousands of current homeless drug addicts get back on their feet, you might like my new book.”

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