Yesterday when I was running errands I was sitting at a red light and there stood a man taking off his sweat shirt and pulling something out of his back pack. He put his sweat shirt in his back pack and stood up straight with a homeless sign in his hand for all to see. I began thinking about him and about the homeless in general. I worked in the inner city and saw and actually knew a lot of these people. They are people just like all of us, although, sometimes not seen that way.
Most people have preconceived ideas about the homessless and most of the time it is not a positive one. Probably the most prevalent concepts are that he is lazy and/or on drugs or alcohol. Even if that is true there is much to be said about this. Substance abuse is a disease. However,this is not a discussion of substance abuse. The topic is homelessness and how these people can get off the street and lead productive lives.
There are many other reasons why people end up being homeless. Not all homeless people started their life as poor and homeless. I know some homeless people that had luccrative jobs and graduate degrees. They were sucessful business and professional people. There are others that are not as lucky, but did have a job that did not pay well and they lived pay check to pay check. All it takes is something to happen where they are not able to work anymore or are fired and can’t get another job. Few are exempt. Things happen in people’s lives. They were once successful, but now they are on the street. It happens.
If you found out that this is the case would you still feel the same and have the same preconceived ideas about them? My next question is how do you think these people feel? How do you think that someone that has degrees and had had a successful business or job feels? How does he feel about himself and about not having a job, a car, a home and all that money buys? Pretty horrible? Put yourself in his place. How would you feel? Depression sets in and then the person is incapable of doing anything. He once was successful and had everything and now he has nothing. Many times, even his family gives up on him. He is alone.
I can relate to how this person and how he probably feels. You see, I have not been able to find a job in my field for the past four years. I had a very good job and made a lot of money and traveled and had whatever I or the family wanted. Then I decided to retire and now I don’t make what I used to. No I am not on the street yet, but things are not good. I really empathized with that man when I saw him yesterday. I don’t know his circumstances, but I don’t need to in order to know how he feels. I would guess that he feels like a failure and hopeless. He probably feels rejected and isolated.
“Is there any way out of this” may be a question he asks himself. What alternatives does he have? Is there a place for the homeless person?
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