It is nice to know that people care and are concerned about human life and suffering, and that they choose to help and listen to you to get a better understanding. I am often asked “Why,” when I ask for a hand. “Why don’t you go to the City Mission? Have you ever been to Cosgrove? Why don’t you go to the shelter at 2100?” I don’t go to those places, because I don’t want to be around stressful people; I want to be away from the frustration and anger. I prefer to deal with my problems in a place that is quiet and peaceful. I don’t want to be around the same old environment. I don’t want to be in a place that’s similar to being institutionalized.
I was homeless before. I always say, “Winners never quit and quitters never win.” I am sympathetic to the fact that life is hard, and not easy. Life is a struggle, yet to be a part of it is great. You have to be strong, determined, and not give up. Set goals, pursue them, and make them a reality. I feel you should be yourself, and not someone else’s idea of how, and who, you should be. Don’t give up. Be content to be human. Citizens have certain rights, and sometimes when you try to exercise your rights, you are intimidated, victimized, or punished. I dealt with these situations and issues many years ago. My SSI benefits were denied, then extended to me, and finally terminated. I was evicted from my home, my car was stolen, and I ended up on the streets.
Some people ask why I would choose to be homeless. I am an independent man, and proud, to a certain degree. I choose to not put my problems on my family and friends. I panhandled and sold a few flowers every now and then. I ended up sleeping in different places with my friends and around downtown. Downtown, I was often approached by the police, ticketed and sometimes taken to jail, whether I was in the wrong or not. When I’d try to get housing, I’d go through the proper channels, but because of false information on my record, I’d be denied housing.
Eventually my friends moved on. I spent birthdays and holidays alone, away from friends and family. Bewildered, disoriented, mentally and physically ripped apart, those days and nights were hard, cold, and lonely. Everyday things in life that the average person takes for granted, are difficult for a homeless person to achieve.
When everything around you seems to be a disaster and a struggle, meeting someone with a friendly face, a helping hand and a word of encouragement is greatly appreciated. I think there are a few people who would assist me like Jim, Paul, Sarah, and Bridget. There are others who would help me and they know who they are. Thank you for your help.
I cannot thank you enough.