I have been meaning to write a blog about homeless people and my homeless days but have never gotten around to it. Well, today a friend of mine asked for my opinion about the things homeless people are sometimes reduced to. I found that my reply was getting to be too long so I told her that I would try to go ahead and post this blog. This came as a total suprise to me and I havent had time to organize my thoughts on this subject. So bear with me as I'm sure I'll ramble on and skip back and forth!
First of all I want to say that no matter if they are educated or not, homeless people ARE smart! They have to be to survive in their living conditions. Not many people can survive for an extended time on the streets. Some starve, some freeze to death and some are murdered. The homeless lead a very hard life. Nobody wants them around. Some say it is their own fault. While this may be true for some, it's definitely not true in all cases. I was homeless at a very young age and let me tell you, it's NOT easy to get back on your feet. You spend most of the day trying to find work. Then you have to work to eat. You have to figure out how and where you are going to eat the food you have acquired. You have to figure out where you can wash your ass. Then you spend half the night looking for a place to lay your head. A place where you wont be robbed, killed or arrested!
You spend all your time and energy trying to acquire the minimal needs to survive. So most of the time you dont have the energy to do anything else. Getting ahead again is a f 'ing joke! Most people think that camping is roughing it. Try camping with no tent, no bathrooms or bath houses, no coleman stove or lantern, no permanent place to camp and no permission to camp there to begin with.
And society is set up to be totally against homeless people! Nobody wants them around. Nobody trusts them. In my town they have even put locks on the restaurant and fast food dumpsters to keep these poor souls from eating WASTED food! Most government institution such as social services will not help you either. To begin with they want a mailing address, a physical address and proof of income. All sorts of things are required that a homeless person naturally does not have. Hello, it's called homeless for a reason. Even the people who are not against the homeless either are embarrased by or about them or just try to ignore them. If you ever want to spy on anyone just dress up like a homeless person. They are INVISIBLE! Good tip for the CIA huh?
And just how do you think these poor people are supposed to get a permanent job???? Not counting the energy I have already mentioned that they expend just trying to survive. Think about this, most jobs are just like the institutions. They require you to fill out an application. How are they supposed to get ahold of you if you have no address or phone? How are you supposed to clean up for the interview? Where do you leave your stuff while you are on the interview? How do you eat that day when you have spent your working hours doing interviews? The problems are endless. Problems that most people wouldnt even think of because they take for granted all the little things that come from having a home.
I know personally how hard it is to get ahead without having a base of operations to work from. I am now closing in on 40 years old and I am still trying to get my own place. I have been working since before I was 15.
The first time I was homeless I lived in an old abandoned garage. Half the roof was caved in and half the floor above the basement was gone. I always wondered when either the roof would fall in on me or I would fall through the floor while sleeping. I was too proud to beg or eat out of trashcans even when I was starving.
One of the few times I ever stole anything was at this time. My first five days of being homeless I didnt have anything to eat. But even as a thief I was at least straight up about it. I had decided that if I went to jail I would at least have three hots and a cot. So I went in one of the local Hop-in's with an overnight bag I had. I told the lady working there...Look lady, I dont want to scare you. I'm not going to harm you in anyway. But I am homeless and havent eaten in five days now. So I'm sorry but I am going to leave here with some food. I hope this wont come out of your pay and when I make some money I'll be back to make restitution for this. I walked to the canned food shelf and scraped all the cans that would fit into my bag. Walking out I once again apologized.
As I said, I had gotten to the point where I was almost hoping to get locked up. So I walked right down the side of the main road through town carrying my bag of stolen goods over my shoulder. Zip, Zip, Zip go three cop cars right by me on their way to the hop-in. Shortly there after Zip, Zip, Zip go the cop cars right back by me. They never even looked at me! I figured out later that the lady had felt sorry for me and told the cops that it was a black man who robbed the food from the store.
To be continued in next blog
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