posted on Jul, 27 2009 @ 02:37 PM
Yes, I was homeless. I had been working a very marginal job and living in a rooming house. I lost the job, and had no savings. I had nowhere to go,
so I was homeless, just like that. Lucky for me, it was during the summer.
I wasn't out there long - not more than a month, tops, I'm pretty sure. But it was an education, that's for sure. People think you're out there
because you're lazy or stupid or on drugs or drinking, but it's not always true. Lots of guys do drink or drug - seems like most of them may be
doing that. But - they can't get the money for drink or drugs most of the time. A lot of the guys started abusing stuff *after* they hit the
streets. It makes it easier.
And a whole *LOT* of those guys are veterans. They served in Vietnam or Gulf I, and got traumatized or whatever, lost it, and couldn't get any
benefits from the VA to get them back on their feet. So they lost everything and wound up begging for change. Thanks to all our veterans for
defending this country. Now get a job.
For me it wasn't too bad. I found a shelter that would take me in (it was summer, so they weren't crowded), and they helped me get cleaned up and
look for work. It wasn't easy. You lose your self-confidence out there, and then it's hard to look someone in the eye and tell them you'd be a
good man for the job. You're not really sure about it any more; you feel like you might be lying to them. And they pick it up and wonder...
But for those of you who don't know, the guys on the street aren't just "bums" and druggies or alkies. Many of them - maybe 1/3 of them - are
soldiers we've let down. They're hurting and they need help - not just a dollar in their cup, but a kind word, too. Better yet, get your
politicians to make sure the VA honors its obligations to our veterans.
As for the rest - well, until they're helped with their addiction or mental illness, they'll stay out there begging until they freeze to death one
winter. They need help, too. No one belongs on the streets. Contrary to what people think, most of those guys don't want to be on the streets.
They just prefer it to the dangerous, unsanitary "shelters" where they are often attacked, beaten, raped, and robbed. The streets, they feel, are
safer than some of the shelters.