A Different Look at Homelessness

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Part 1
What is it like to be homeless? What are some reasons a person “chooses” to become homeless? Is it safe to live on the streets? What country has the most homeless people? The answer to the last question is Uganda. This country is followed by Ukraine and the United Kingdom. The United States is fourth as the country with the largest population of homeless people.

What Is It Like To Be Homeless?
There are three “D” words that describe being homeless: demoralizing, destabilizing, and depressing. One former homeless person, Todd Murphy, answered the question by saying, “it’s bad.” He said the list of this lifestyle is too long to list. One of the great difficulties is the lack of food. Murphy said that people avoid you. The police may tolerate you or beat you up, according to Murphy. He also added that you will most likely be celibate. In the winter you freeze. Murphy went on to say that, “you’re depressed. You become useless to anyone, and not much good to yourself. If you try to get into government programs, you’re turned down in favor of people who need the services more, unless you are in one of those groups, like the elderly, or the seriously ill…you’re probably a man. Women have more options for shelter, they can turn to sex work, or ‘take up’ with a man who wants to ‘help them.’ About 76% of the homeless are men.”

Day In And Day Out – Little Difference
Murphy said that people completely misunderstand you. If you have a drink in the freezing cold weather they label you as an alcoholic. If you make a noise then you’re a nuisance. You might be a drug addict (cheap drugs only). Your feet hurt. Why? Because you spend your days walking around, according to Murphy. Your shoes wear out. You’re dirty. You smell bad. Where can you wash? How can you wash your clothes when you only have one set of clothes, Murphy asks. He describes your underwear as becoming a “disaster zone.”

Life Goes On
Murphy said that you easily lose touch with your life. You concentrate on your day-to-day affairs. You stop thinking about the future. Your main focus is on your next meal, your next drink, your next fix, your next pair of shoes. People hand you their “used” food. “But,” Murphy says, “beggars can’t be choosers.” You accept the packet of instant oatmeal, or cold, slimy noodles leftover from when they were warm and tasty.” He said that you sleep in the open. This is because if you find a place offering a little privacy you can be beaten up. He said that bad cops, drunken violent people, and other predators don’t like to work where they can be seen. Eventually, for those whose life has become permanently homeless, death strikes. The lifespan for a homeless person is 30 years less than for other human beings.

Another Homeless Person
Andrew Gage was another former homeless person. It all started when his roommates moved out, he couldn’t afford the rent, and he had a dog to look after. After some unpleasant experiences, he eventually moved into a motel. He was unable to find work. He still had his daily motel bill to pay as well as food to buy for himself and his dog. He found employment at a couple of different places but they didn’t work out. Eventually, he was able to rent an apartment. During this time his dog died. He was able to draw unemployment until it ran out. He was more lucky than most homeless people, despite the experiences he had, and he learned that homeless people are not just crazy fringe people. He said, “Circumstances can spin out of control for anyone and leave them without a home.” He pointed out that this is particularly true in such locations as San Diego, Los Angeles, Seattle, and other high-priced cities. He said, “I met really decent, smart people who were doing what they had to do to survive after being dealt a bad hand. His summary of homelessness is this, “Until and unless the conditions which are causing homelessness are dealt with, the problem will only continue to get worse.”

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