I grew up on the east coast and came out to California. I was on the streets in Glendale for about a year and a half in the 1980's. Joblessness is what got me there. I made real good money for a while and then nothing. Today my life is stable. I work full time and my health is good. I never forget what I learned, what it was like to have nothing. During that year and a half my health started to fail. I started to loose teeth. I was also talking to myself. I was ready to crack up.
I want to talk about people who aren't homeless helping homeless people.
While I was homeless there was this foster kid that I wanted to help.
He was making small amounts of money with his talent, I don't want to out him, but let's say he was being proactive and I admired that. He also didn't seem to be mentally ill and seemed healthy to me. So I hooked him up with some of the Christian churches that I was leaning on and they were going to get him work and get him some place to live, like a room in a house where he could live until he had his job a year and had saved up deposit money. In the 1980's it was a whole lot less expensive to rent in Southern California. So he did go with me to the church that wanted to help him but in the end he was unable to keep to a work schedule. I gave up on him and just focused on my own recovery from homelessness.
When you see a homeless person in the library or the park, don't say or do anything to out them. Usually there are people around who have figured it out or know the person is homeless. If they are able to stay sheltered during the day like that and aren't causing issues, let them be.
If you want to help them with food or clothing or money, give it over without expecting to interview them or without getting a story from them. Just pass things on.
It can be sensitive.
Sometimes a person's reasons for not trying to get into a shelter or going to a shelter may make no sense to you. They may be rational or not about it. They may think being homeless is their fate. They may know they are near death. It's their life.
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