posted on Apr, 25 2014 @ 09:58 AM
a reply to: AccessDenied
This is a subject quite close to my heart.
I can't tell you the frustration and deep sadness I often feel towards some peoples attitudes towards the homeless.
Several years ago a family member of mine lived on the streets for many years. I would go in to town a couple of times a week and see him in a shop
doorway....with dirty clothes, holes in his shoes, painful blisters on his feet and fungal infections. He would beg for money. Most of the time he
would sleep in squats or dis-used old mill buildings because he would get kicked out of the homeless shelters or hostels because of his drug
It used to crush me to see him in such condition and to watch the attitudes of passers by. Some choosing to simply ignore him too scared or
uncomfortable to give him eye contact and those choosing to sneer at him with abusive comments.
I wanted to help him. We tried many times to get him help for his drugs problem. He also has mental health problems and if he wasn't living on the
streets he was in prison or a hospital institution. A few times I opened my doors to let him live with me but as I have children to think about he
would repeatedly start using drugs again and I had to put my children's safety first.
Every time he was let out of prison or hospital he had next to no support and help and he just went back to the people and places he knew and very
soon went back to the drugs.Outside of institutions it was the only thing he knew. A huge problem for him was that as a child he ended up in "care"
after an abusive family life. All he as known after that is prisons, hospitals and living on the streets. I think he just at some point became
institutionalised. Outside of some form of institutional living he is incapable of the responsibilities and decision making that comes from "normal"
living. I say this because he wasn't homeless living on the streets through lack of opportunity of somewhere to live...he just couldn't handle the
Many times I have heard people say of him and others like him that he needs to man up and take responsibility for his own choices and his life. I have
heard people say " well I had an abusive childhood and I managed to drag myself up and make something of myself and my life" and I totally respect
people who can say that. But what of those who for whatever reason are not able to do this? Whether it be because of mental illness, or simply just
because they are weaker in character. Are people less deserving of our compassion because of mental illness or personality flaws or weakness of
He has been in hospital the last few years. I wish I could be positive and say that when and if he is released he would be able to turn his life
around. I honestly don't know what kind of life he will ever have and it still pains me now
I have worked with the homeless and all I know is.....that life isn't black and white, behind every homeless person is a complex story and chain of