Do you think you can never walk in their shoes- The Homeless?

" YOU could be ME "
” YOU could be ME “
" YOU could be ME "
” YOU could be ME “

Here it is over  decades – HOMELESS still exist in our community. What is so funny is that when you  (or we ) walk or drive pass the individuals that live under a bridge, on the front streets ; create a home behind stores or empty building, you immediately think: “ That could never be me “ . Well how do you know? You don’t have to live under a bridge or behind empty buildings to be homeless. You can live in a shelter or live with friends or relatives to experience the same conditions of hunger of UN MET “ needs and wants “ on a daily basis.  It is a shame how we treat one another without a second thought when an individual(s) life style drastically changes due to economic reasons, mental illness; through some form of violence or other forms tragedy.

On June 15, 2009, I remember when I was walking toward s the Dollar Tree store, I ran into a long time (best) friend. At first I did not recognize him because of his shaggy appearance and light weighted skinny body (appeared to weigh below 100lbs).  Before I walked in the doors of Dollar Tree, something in my spirit told me to call out his name: “ C***-*” . So, I turned around and yelled out his name with heartbroken tears streaming down my face. I didn’t question him about how he ended it up the way he did. I can only remember that the very last time I saw him which is  before I went to Louisiana back around(  1990) the time his mother had died .  However, I immediately ask him do he needed anything out in the store.  And all “ C***-*”  asks was for was  “Water”. In my mind, I couldn’t just get water. So that day, I forgotten about myself and shop for a best friend who was there for me during my toughest times throughout the earlier years.  I had just cashed my pay check that day and used half of my pay check to shop for things he needed for survival (outdoors) and care for at least 2 months. You ask why? Because, he was my best friend! Not to mention  I bought that amount of food and other necessity, because I wasn’t for sure if he wouldn’t  or would let me  take care of him back to my house or take him back to the house his mother have left him . Especially, after I had already asked him about still living in the house his mother left him and his sister after she died.   After we shopped, I gave him extra cash to last him 2 months as well. It is a funny thing. I did not think of myself at all. All I was thinking about was helping my friend and had an attitude that payday will come around again.  Before we departed ways… I tried my hardest to get “ C***-*” to let me take him home or to let me take him to my house for couple of days since he was off work.  “ C***-*” would not hear of it.  I was trying to convince him for 30 minutes before he gave me a hug of appreciation and proceeded to walk away. Before “ C***-*”, reached to the street light, I drove up beside him and gave him my number to call me if he need me for anything , especially for emergency.  “ C***-*” took my number  and 4 additional numbers to self help organizations  which I wrote on a huge sheet a paper so he wouldn’t forget it. As we departed ways, I have immediately call the self-help organizations and gave them my friend’s name and his description, including my contact information just in case he reaches out to either one of them.  Until this day, I often (when I could) go back to the same Dollar Tree;  go by his mother’s house  including saying  “Hi” to his sister and call those same organizations  who always say “ C***-*” have not been register or  there have not been  show for help from him. But I do remember his sister told me couple weeks ago that “ C***-*”  started coming back to visit once a week but refuse to stay home and don’t try to find him. Because  when he doesn’t want to be found, it is hard to find him when he eludes us all. “ C***-*”  sister went on to say that “ C***-*” has never been the same since their mother died.  I know when I am out sometimes in the community and even though I don’t see “ C***-*” , I see people like him.  Right now – like before, I may not have much. But I am willing to give my last penny even if I have to do without that day or week . I guess it’s because my best friend and my dad will always be on my mind when I have the spirit to give.  Even before my dad died, I use to hop out my car in the middle of the street to give him a hug ;give him money and try to encourage him to go home  to family like I had tried with “ C***-*” . Even though they both refused…. They taught me 2 lessons : 1) Always keep my giving spirit ; 2) and despite how life turn out , keep walking forward.  But my lesson for  everyone out there in the world is  to be mindful and always remember  there is always a chance YOU can walk in their shoes – THE HOMELESS !

2 SELECTIVE   REPORTS on homeless

1)      “The N.C. Interagency Council for Coordinating Homeless Programs (ICCHP) sponsors an annual point-in-time survey each January. The survey was conducted in more than 55 counties. It provides a conservative, but defensible, unduplicated count of people who were homeless in our state on one given night.

The 2008 survey found:

  • 12,371 people identified as homeless, including
  • 3,643 people in families, 2,216 of whom were children.
  • 1,054 identified themselves as veterans of military service.
  • 1,961 identified themselves as having a serious mental illness.
  • 4,206 identified themselves as having a substance use disorder.
  • 1,108 identified themselves as being a victim of domestic violence.
  • 6.5 percent of people identified themselves as having been released from the criminal justice system.
  • 6 percent of people identified themselves as having been released from a mental health hospital or drug treatment program.

The count continues to be a critical step in quantifying the size and scope of homelessness in North Carolina, and in measuring the success of measures aimed at reducing homelessness in our state”

2)      Economical Causes

  • A healthy economy provides jobs involving the production, exchanging and distributing products in demand. Unfortunately, economic activities are unable to provide employment to everyone, economist call this the “unemployment rate.” A person experiencing prolonged unemployment may decline. This situation may eventually lead to hardships below the national poverty line within the United States. That results in inadequate hygiene, poor health care, scarce shelter, and limited access to nutritional meals.

             Psychological Causes

  • The July 2008 issue of the Journal of Psychosocial Rehabilitation addressed psychological causes of homelessness involving substance abuse resulting in an unwillingness to work, or “doomed-to-failure” interpretations of their social and work environment leading to a kind of self-imposed poverty. Psychological reasons for homelessness are as vast as the experiences themselves, and range from physiologic damage causing a mental illness to a demoralizing, disempowering belief system from an otherwise normal mind. Read more: Main Causes of Homelessness |

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