By Michael Boyd
My name is Michael Boyd and I am going to tell the story about me being homeless. I’ve been homeless longer than I care to admit. When I first became homeless, I had no idea what I was going to do. I have arthritis in my back. It always hurts, but I am not getting a disability check. I just recently got out of a ten year relationship. I went down to the shelter at 2100 Lakeside, and they let me in.
I found Mr. Brian Davis and he allowed me to sell the Street Chronicle so I can make me some money. I would like to first thank Brian for letting me sell the Street Chronicle. I would also like to thank the West Side Catholic Center, St. Augustine and the people I met at the West Side Market who allowed me to stand there and talk to people. I wake up at 6:00 am, wash up, eat at 7 a.m. and leave at 8.
Being homeless is a little rough, especially with no income. I am not willing to stay outside and not willing to get in family or friend’s way, but with God’s Grace everything is getting better.
I get clothes from the West Side Catholic Center and I get food also from the West Side Catholic Center and I would also like to thank people for donating to these places. I eat at St. Malachi. I met some intelligent people in the 2100. It’s amazing how many intelligent people you will and can meet down there.
Okay, my experience of being homeless is a little tiring. Some days and rough. The people that are homeless around me, sometimes you can see how tired they are in their face. The shelter 2100 is a little rough at times. [Family or friends] drop people off that doesn’t have a place to go or an address or they are straight out of the penitentiary. The people who have mental illnesses, they used to have a different shelter, but they closed that one and now it’s all of us down there in one great big melting pot.
For people who might read this story or buy the paper I would like to say thank you. God willing, with this paper and the Coalition, I will not be homeless much longer. Just because I’m homeless does not mean I am worth nothing. God has a plan for all of us, and I want that to be printed in big bold letters. GOD HAS A PLAN for all of us, every single one of us.
Some days you have to ask yourself, who really cares who about the homeless? Who is looking out for us? We are not worth nothing, we are all God’s children. I walk a lot I ask people for a lot of help. Some days are really rough. When it rains we have to get out of the shelters. When it snows we have to get out the shelters. I remember one time I was looking at the news and one of the newscasters said that the Animal Protective League was paying $10 if you bring a stray cat or dog in that’s how cold it was outside, and 10 minutes later they was putting us out. And I had to just keep saying “God is great” and “we are not worthless.”
They say that this city they make jokes about this city The Mistake on the Lake, the economy [is bad] and so on and so on. There are some very generous people here in the City of Cleveland. There is one thing I can say about the City of Cleveland: we have great Browns fans, die hard Browns fans, and we do look out for each other. Forty-four years old I have 4 girls (all of them grown). I just don’t want their help like that. So the next time you see someone on the streets begging for change, maybe they don’t have the paper, it’s not what they might do with the money, it’s the fact that you know in your heart you want to give them the pennies and the nickels and dimes that you might just drop on the ground and not even pick up. You may be in your office at work somewhere and you see a penny and you won’t even pick it up. At the end of the day, you see someone out there shaking a cup or someone like me selling the Cleveland Street Chronicle, just remember that we are all worth something and everyone needs a helping hand. There are black, white, green, purple and blue at 2100, and if you don’t believe me you just come down there one day and glance around.
Copyright Northeast Ohio Coalition for the Homeless Cleveland Street Chronicle #19.1 April – May 2012