Kylyssa Shay was homeless for over a year in her youth; it lead her to become a homelessness activist. She thinks, feels, and has opinions.
Don't try homelessness yourself if you can avoid it!
Over twenty-five years ago, I experienced just over a year of homelessness. During that period of time I was badly injured, both physically and emotionally. I have Asperger's Syndrome, a type of high-functioning autism, a likely contributing factor to my homelessness in my youth, and a barrier to escaping it.
I'd like to share a little look into what it was like to live un-homed and unwanted. My point in this is to spread awareness and to perhaps wake up a little empathy in people. My hope is that people will do something to prevent homelessness in their country, their community, and their family. I also want to show that people with nowhere to live are not all addicts nor are they people too lazy to work.
Due to unemployment and record foreclosures, more Americans are losing their homes. These people need our help and understanding.
Advice for the From an Old Pro: How to Get Money
Sarcasm and Survival on the Streets
The article linked below contains some actual advice on how to earn a bare survival income as a person without a home along with some biting sarcasm and a hint of barely suppressed anger.
Perhaps the traditional approaches have failed you but you still need income to survive. The article linked below gives some suggestions that actually worked for me, with varying degrees of success, until I was able to get a regular job in a retail establishment.
I'll warn you, I wrote it when I was very angry and upset after one of my partner's friends referred to homeless people as "the walking dead" and also said they aren't "real" people. This was after he brought over some videos to play that he said were the best ever and they turned out to be "Bum Hunter" videos in which a guy pays seriously mentally ill street people to beat each other up.
So in a fit of pique, I wrote an article chock full of sarcasm and snark. Strangely enough, the website bought my weird, how-to rant and published it. Sometimes I feel embarrassed by the "real people" bit because some people have taken it to mean I'm really saying homeless people aren't real people. Keep in mind, the nastiness and sarcasm is directed at the guy who had the really crummy attitude about destitute people and appeared to take pleasure in watching them be abused. However, it does explain some of the ways I earned enough to get by and quite a few people have found it helpful.
It's very hard for me to talk about these experiences despite the many years that have gone by but I feel it is necessary. I find it much easier and less stressful to write about being without a place to live than to talk about it. This may in part be due to having PTSD but it is also an effect of Asperger's Syndrome. Writing also provides emotional distance and keeps me from getting too overwhelmed by the feelings associated with those times in my life.
In the blocks below you will find several how-to articles and an editorial I wrote about "The Homeless" from my own perspective. Understand that some of these articles were written from a place of pain and anger so they and their content are not pretty. Homelessness is not pretty, either but it has a face, and the faces of people without a place to live are just like yours and mine.
Read the Article
- How To Get Money While Homeless If You Don't Have A Traditional Job
As mentioned above, please keep in mind I was feeling very upset and angry and sarcastic when I wrote this article so please don't take my "real people" jab to heart.
A Powerful Book on the Issue
Do You Know Anyone Who Is or Has Been Without a Home?
Chances are that you know someone who has been homeless unless you travel strictly in the wealthiest of circles. However, chances also are they've never mentioned it due to the stigma deep poverty has in our society. Prejudice continues long after the actual living conditions are long gone.
I'm Sick of Hearing about "The New Face of Homelessness"
It doesn't have a new face, it just has a lot more faces
Homelessness does not have a new face. A lot more people are on the street but they are not "a better class of people." People who were living without homes before have similar stories, the economy has just made those stories a lot more common.
In America, health related issues and medical bankruptcy have been major causes of homelessness for decades. Any human being can become sick or get injured and if he loses his insurance he has a pretty high chance of losing stable housing, too.
The lack of affordable housing and lack of a living wage have also created such issues for a long, long time. Job loss is another long-time culprit.
Decent, hard working people have never been immune to losing their homes. Yet every other article out there on homelessness stresses this concept of "the new homeless" or "the new face of the homeless" - as if something has changed about the people rather than the economy.
People have this very limited idea of working poor citizens. They think of the bums and panhandlers who can be found in any given American city as the "old face of homelessness" when, in fact, those people have never been representative of the majority of people living on the street. You could see about 15-30 panhandlers or obviously homeless people in the streets of Chicago, even ten years ago. It sounds like a lot but if you consider that, at the time, there were about 6,000 living without housing in Chicago it wasn't even one percent of them who were behaving like the stereotypes people associated with them. Less than one percent of a population is not its face. The real face of homelessness has not changed. No one ever noticed the majority of homeless people because they looked just like anyone else.
What people are labeling as "the new face of homelessness" and "the new homeless" are really just the real face of the situation and the reality of folks with nowhere to live. People living without housing are just what they describe, people who are down on their luck, people just like you and me in lousy circumstances- and that is how it has been for a long time now.
Advice from an Old Pro: Where to Sleep
I Guess We Could Call It Urban Camping for the Disadvantaged
When I had no home I was constantly tired. My thoughts were consumed by a burning need to sleep somewhere safe. I usually couldn't find any such a place.
Eventually, I learned how to avoid most dangerous and uncomfortable street-sleeping situations. I wrote this article both to share that information with others who might need it and to enlighten homed people as to the conditions people without suffer.
Maybe the shelters are turning people away, you got assaulted in or near the shelter too many times, or you just don't like getting scabies with your night's lodging. Whatever the reason, you may need to find somewhere else to sleep. I am in no way representing these suggestions as either legal or even necessarily all that safe. I'd like to share some ways I learned to cope with the inconveniences and terrors of sleeping in the rough while living on the street.
Read The Article
Keep in mind that these were actions of desperation. I take no responsibility if you choose to use any of the ideas in the post.
- Where I Sometimes Slept While Homeless
You can read about some of the places I slept while homeless when I was trying to avoid getting beaten up, harassed, or bothered by police.
The Vast Majority Don't Panhandle or Beg - ...and Some Panhandlers Have Homes
Unfortunately, the most visible homeless people are the small percentage who do beg and thus most Americans associate all of them with pushy, dirty, and/or mentally ill beggars. Most who live on the street do everything they can to blend in for safety's sake and that means avoiding shelters and soup kitchens and begging of any kind.
Why I Hate The Words "The Homeless"
Words Are Used To Dehumanize
The following editorial is dedicated to Justus, a lovely man who saved my life - after society had discarded him and given up on him, too.
For years, America has been working to further dehumanize people who for one reason or another have found themselves living on the street. The recently favored descriptive phrase chills me to the bone. "The Homeless" - they are no longer hobos, transients, children of the street, vagrants, bums, or street people - they have become "The Homeless." You may say it's only words but words speak of deeper feelings. That is what words are, feelings and concepts given life as sound.
Let's look at that phrase a moment. When we use words to name other types of people - daughter, hooker, dentist, criminal, lawyer - do we use "the" in front when we refer to them as a group? Homeless is a state of not having somewhere to live, not something that a person is like a profession. People speak of "The Homeless" situation or "The Homeless" problem. At the holidays, people sometimes think of donating to "The Homeless."
They are PEOPLE. They are PEOPLE who have no place to sleep at night that is safe. They are PEOPLE who have fallen on hard luck. They are HUMAN BEINGS dying in your world. They are HUMAN BEINGS getting beaten by your policemen, your bored teenagers, and your reality show producers.
During my time as a PERSON without a place to live I learned that many MEN end up on the street because of illness, loss of a job, or as with many WOMEN, they have run from horrifying abuses while still teens. During my time as a PERSON without a home I found that most homeless WOMEN become that way from abuse, sexual or otherwise. They run from situations that their families, their law enforcement agencies, their charities do or can do nothing about. They walk the razor edge between flight and suicide and for some reason, they choose to run rather than face another rape by their stepfather or another bone-breaking beating from their spouse. Once they run away, they discover that they've merely jumped into a more slowly burning fire rather than to true safety. By that point they are stuck. There's no hand up, there's no government assistance to save them, there's really nothing to save them but themselves and sometimes each other. While the rest of the country is shedding tears over the little girl molested by her Uncle on the Lifetime movie the real little girls and boys are sleeping in dumpster surrounds, too broken to understand what to do or how to function.
After my first rape, it was a homeless man who saved me. I was tucked into a bloodied ball behind a dumpster, deep in shock. Without his intervention, I would have died. He covered me and sang mumbled songs. He bathed me like a child in someone's motel room where he'd carried me. Fittingly, his name was Justus. My angel had Parkinson's and had suffered several strokes. His bladder control wasn't perfect so he smelled pretty bad, too. He talked to me of soldiers he'd seen shell-shocked in Vietnam. He prayed and sang "Amazing Grace" as I stared into space, trembling and waiting, hoping to die while he carefully dabbed my face with a washcloth. He showed me a very old picture of his daughter, a cute toddler in corn rows. He spoke of her with such love. It was then I unfroze and began to cry. If this gentle, lovely man could be discarded and dying out where no one cared what hope was there for anyone?
I regret that I was too deeply wounded, too deep in shock at the time he finally urged and convinced me to let him take me to the hospital - I regret I was too damaged at the time to think of how I'd find him again. I was hospitalized for several days while they pumped me full of antibiotics and wrestled to get my fever under control. I never found Justus again.
Of all the people I've ever met, Justus was perhaps the most humane person of them all. Justus was not "The Homeless," he was a man of substance and humanity.
For the sake of Justus, don't use that phrase, "The Homeless."
The Word That Comes Next Should Be "Person" or "Man" or "Woman" or "Child"
- Here a Homeless, There a Homeless
Christine Schanes gives her take on the trend of dehumanizing people without homes by calling homeless individuals "a homeless" instead of "a homeless person" or even a hobo.
What Turned It All Around For Me
I'll Give You A Clue - It Was Money
My prospects were pretty dim; I had little work experience and nowhere to shower regularly. I walked funny and talked with a slurred voice after the brutal beating that had hospitalized me.
I couldn't get a regular job so I walked from door to door in suburban neighborhoods, scouting out homes where older folks lived. I knocked on doors asking to mow and rake lawns, scrub toilets, clean out homes and garages, and clean up dog poop. I also picked up bottles and cans for their deposit. I managed not to starve to death. Just barely.
One day I had a particularly bad day after almost a week of bad days. I'd been beaten up the night before and I hadn't convinced anyone to hire me to do any odd jobs in almost a week. No one seemed to appreciate the bargain at which my services could be had - not even poop scooping a really nasty yard for $2. I hadn't eaten in several days and was feeling pretty down. I thought about suicide.
As I walked along the freeway picking up trash and cans I found a number of cigarette boxes that day. When I picked the last one up I saw the edge of a paper bill sticking from the package. This was pretty common; often people would put a few dollars in their cigarette pack and forget about it. My hands were shaking and I was tearing up. I was going to get something to eat! As I pulled the bill out I couldn't believe what I was seeing. It was a folded hundred dollar bill! I looked at it in disbelief, thinking that somehow it must be a fake.
This was a turning point for me. I was able to rent a Post Office Box, buy a tarp to sleep on, buy showers at the truck stop, and clothes from a thrift store. I had an address to put on job applications and I could stay clean and well-dressed. I was then able to get a regular job, ten days after finding the money.
It wasn't really that simple but the money got the ball rolling.
Do You Think People Can Return to Society After Living on the Street?
You Can't Really Count On The People You Think You Can
One of the saddest things I learned about losing my home is that that you can't count on anyone. If things go wrong for you, chances are, there's no one you know who will help you enough for it to matter.
This sounds really bitter but I've heard the same story over and over and over. I've seen elderly parents who put their kids through college fall to the streets when they became too old and sick to work too early to collect Social Security retirement. I've seen them disowned for being ragged and poor.
When you stop earning a good wage or your parents kick you out or if your parents abandon you, your friends will soon follow. Once you can't go out to the movies or out to eat, your friendships are done. Once your family becomes ashamed of you for not earning what they feel you should or because your clothes are worn and old it's likely your family will turn on you, too.
Fortunately, sometimes some people you never suspected will step to help. But don't count on it. It's survival of the fittest out there. If you fall, there's no one to catch you. So you'd better not fall.
Don't think that your parents or spouse or close friend will give you a couch or porch to sleep on, the welcome ends far faster than you'd ever believe in most cases.
Why Street People are Often Afraid of Police
...and being without a place to live is sometimes considered a crime in and of itself
Many living on the streets are terrified of police and there's a good reason for this. It is because some policemen use their position of power to harass or even harm them. Now that many citizens have video recording equipment on them in the form of cell phones and digital cameras, more of this behavior is being exposed. If you just search for "police beating homeless" on any search engine you will find many shocking results.
Being homeless is considered a crime in some cities, adding to the fears of those with nowhere else to go. In cities where it is a crime in and of itself there is an increased likelihood of arrest. Increased exposure to police increases the likelihood of encountering a dangerous police officer.
When I had nowhere else to sleep, I was wakened many times by non-too-gentle kicks by police "checking on my welfare" when I fell asleep in public places. I was also treated dismissively when I tried to report crimes. I was once even accused of prostitution and threatened with arrest.
I know most police do not behave this way but there are enough around that if a person stays on the street long enough, he or she is pretty likely to encounter a policemen of this type. Many people see homeless people as worthless, lazy criminals and it becomes dangerous when those individuals are law enforcement officers.
It sucks to have nowhere to sleep at night. It isn't some carefree, free-wheeling existence as many people have been led to believe. Homelessness is living constantly one step away from degradation and violence while standing exposed outside the boundaries of society's protection.
People need to know that the majority of people living on the streets don't get government checks or real health care. They need to know that a diagnosis of a serious illness or chronic disease usually means death for those in deep poverty. Folks need to know that women without homes often get raped again and again, mostly by people with homes. They need to know that homelessness could actually happen to them.
The safety net is badly broken in many places. The job market is slipping toward a third-world economy with businesses finding ways to hire workers at less than minimum wage while fighting the wage laws in place to try to get rid of minimum wage.
However, I feel that there is hope. I know that there are more good people than bad. I have learned that most individuals, when confronted with the realities of homelessness, open their minds and recognize that what they were taught about poverty was wrong. I have seen the some of the most rabid of homeless haters turned into caring shelter volunteers.
© 2008 Kylyssa Shay
What Has Your Experience Been Like? - Have you ever lived without housing or known someone who has? How do you feel about homelessness?
Helen Russell on October 03, 2020:
I became homeless in 2010 after a serious illness caused me to lose my job and my car died in the same month. I know people can return to society, but they need ongoing counseling and help dealing with the mental and emotional damage and actually learning to live a "normal" life. Everything changes
Deirdre Adele Thompson on January 18, 2015:
You make some really great points and give some fantastic information in this article. Although I don't agree with you on everything you said, just because it doesn't match my homeless experience, doesn't mean you aren't right. It sounds like you had a tougher time of it than I anyway. I wish you the best.
Mariana Fuzaro from São Paulo, Brazil on November 22, 2014:
It sucks that society simply lets people fall without help, then criminalizes them, despises them, blame their condition on them when they have no control over it.
Kylyssa Shay (author) from Overlooking a meadow near Grand Rapids, Michigan, USA on August 22, 2014:
@TMICONDEV: I think it is society that leaves homeless people, not the other way around. You get shoved out and have to fight your way back in with nothing but a fake happy face for armor.
TM on August 22, 2014:
For5 the question do I think homeless people cna be re-integrated into society I said yes if for no other reason than the fact that they have not generally LEFT society..if for no other reason than the unfortunate truth that homelessness is a part of society and one of its shortcomings.
Sam Montana from Colorado on July 17, 2014:
@conanoscit: I would be very careful. I have been around a lot of homeless people, young and old and I have seen problems. I have lived at the cheap motels where they stay and learned a great deal. The main problem you might run into is their friends. They seem to meet a lot of different people on the streets and they might decide to start bringing them to your place. These new friends are almost always trouble and eventually the police have to be called. I don't know if you are just wanting to help or if you are very knowledgeable about the homeless. There could be mental problems and or drugs involved. If these are under age teens, I think it wise to let the city or state do their job.
Kylyssa Shay (author) from Overlooking a meadow near Grand Rapids, Michigan, USA on July 17, 2014:
@conanoscit: Without knowing anything about their situation or yours, it is impossible to know. I took in mostly teens and young adults discarded by their parents for being LGBT and women fleeing abusive homes. People homeless for straightforward reasons like that generally don't need any sort of "transitioning"; they just need straightforward help. Mental health care is a great idea in any case. I have no idea how long the people you are thinking of helping out have been homeless but chances are that they've experienced some things that would hurt anyone emotionally if it's been longer than a few weeks. You can pm me by clicking my photo icon by this post or the one in the upper right corner of this page and then clicking the "contact" button under my face on the profile page that comes up.
conanoscit on July 15, 2014:
hi, i'm just wondering if I could pm you somehow? I am about to take on a couple of homeless kids (employment & accommodation) and everyone is warning me against it as they need to be 'transitioned' but I'd like to get them off the streets asap & not wait for 'the system' to process them. I'm just wondering if I should in fact consider counseling for them & if I'm just setting us all up for failure trying to take them on myself? thanks very much for your article :)
bugscuttle on June 27, 2014:
I just want to say thank you. You speak so much truth, and I can see your knowledge was hard won. I worked in a soup kitchen in high school after a very cool teacher taught some of us suburban kids what it was REALLY like to be poor in Uptown Chicago. Who knew I'd be homeless years later, thanks in part to addictions. Luckily it wasn't for very long. Anyway, may the Lord & Lady bless you richly for what you have done here.
kittyhappykitty on June 15, 2014:
I had the opportunity to look into some of the homeless shelter situations, and the most surprising thing to me is that the shelters can be worse for dehumanizing than being out on the streets. The workers can become jaded, and they are also restricted by grants and bureaucratic rules. Thank you for this terrific lens! You make me happy!
GEMNITYA5 on May 12, 2014:
Breathtaking, your lens made me emotional, really heart melting.I have also seen same kind of situation years back, but God forbidden I had my family to support me.Really You're Special work may bring some light in people's life.BlessingsGEM
David Edward Lynch from Port Elizabeth, South Africa on May 07, 2014:
I met somebody once who had been homeless; he said he used to eat food from garbage dumps but I think it affected his health.It seems like it's a cruel world out there, one's self-confidence must take a terrible knock, I can't imagine what it must be like to be homeless.
Kylyssa Shay (author) from Overlooking a meadow near Grand Rapids, Michigan, USA on April 22, 2014:
@WikiDZ: I'm sorry you went through that. It took me years to stop feeling "less than" after my experiences and I was a young adult, not a child. People use words in devastating ways to people who simply do not deserve such treatment. One of the young people I took into my home years back had aged out of foster care and described his experience inside it as being homeless with a roof over his head.
WikiDZ on April 22, 2014:
I agree with the idea of dehumanizing people through words. I was in care for 16 years, and as I progressed through the system I became more and more aware of the term "Foster Child". I hated that name as it made me sound like something unnatural, something that didn't "fit" into the natural world, and honestly, it hurt like hell. Now I see stories on the TV and as much as the word "Homeless" is a horrible one, I think it is only so horrible because of the media-hyped stigma that is now attached to it.
TheHarlequin246 on March 29, 2014:
I was homeless for many, many years. I have PTSD from physical and sexual abuse I suffered while on the streets, and I disagree with some of your comments, such as that those who panhandle have homes- not ONCE in 13 years did I meet one panhandler who had a home. I "flew signs" to get money to live on, and for food to get through the day. I met some amazingly beautiful souls along the way, and all of the donations given were much appreciated. I also have a horrible time adjusting to being off of the streets. I sleep horribly, have nightmares (despite trying therapy and every psych drug imaginable, and multiple hospitalizations) and can't seem to sleep unless outside. I am also miserable living in a house, though in the beginning I thought I had been very blessed to have a roof over my head. I do agree with everything you said about shelters, as I chose to sleep outside rather than be put through religious persecution and disrespected (most of the workers at shelters are horrific). Ive had a gun put to my head while I was sleeping by a cop, been beaten by a baseball bat by a man, had my head shoved in the dirt and even witnessed murders. I can no longer adjust in every day society, and this has made me confused on how to go on living in society. I think there should be help for people transitioning out of homelessness, especially long-term homelessness. I have been homeless for more than half of my life. I would like to feel happy about my situation, but I feel i can't identify with anyone but other homeless people...
alienbritt on March 26, 2014:
Rose Jones on March 23, 2014:
I think you are such an inspiration, as well as a real authority on the true statistics of homelessness and of some of the solutions. I am so glad you made it out and I know you will use your logical mind to continue to create success for yourselves. Maybe that is a bit of the gift of your Aspbergers, which you have written so eloquently about. Keep up the good work!
Kylyssa Shay (author) from Overlooking a meadow near Grand Rapids, Michigan, USA on March 20, 2014:
@TheSkyStealer: You can do it. You can show rather than tell what your character is going through and when people put themselves in the character's place they will fill in what they think they would feel. You've seen enough pain to know what it "looks" like and to know what details have made you hurt for someone else. Thank you for trying to feel and understand what it is like before creating a character which could come to represent what other people think of homeless people. As to meaning and purpose, I make my own up as I go along. I'm at peace with my own experiences most of the time but I'm not at peace with others still having similar or worse experiences. Anything anyone does to understand or to help others feel that pain and lack of peace through empathy is a blessing. Your comment has inspired me to write about the feelings of homelessness from my experience and from what other homeless people have told me to serve as insight for writers and other people interested in how it feels.
TheSkyStealer on March 19, 2014:
First of all, I would like to simply say "thank you". I am writing a book in which one of the characters is a homeless boy and some of the things and links you have directed me to have dramatically shaped my view on how I am going to reveal my character. I was worried before that he was not "real" enough and that survival on the streets must've been harder on his psyche than what I already had I'd thought I was being very realistic but really, now I think I'm more in the category of the "romanticized" homeless people. Your article has given me a fresh, raw, horribly wonderful new insight on the topic of homelessness and what it's like, and so I would just like to thank you. What you've gone through is not an easy thing to apply into a fictional character especially if the author here has never had to go to go to bed hungry. (It's a recurring dilemma for me and I don't know how I can do it writing, I mean. Especially about emotions. How can I write about emotions how can I describe pain if I've never felt it myself?)Well, there I go again, the inner philosopher. Before I get too carried away with my strange depressed poetry, I will just finish up this review with another Thank You, and some food for thought: there's a reason for everything. If our universe had no purpose, we would have never thought it had no purpose in the same way that a blind rat has no idea it is blind and therefore seeks no proof of its blindness. So, by this logic, everything has a purpose and everything that happens has meaning. Maybe your experiences are like that too. Maybe the way in which you've pushed back the curtains of stereotyping from my poor young eyes will have a rippling effect touching my thoughts, my words, my story, my readers, their thoughts and eventually their own words and stories. And hopefully, we'll be able to open their eyes too. Thank you, and God bless. Sky
photographershu on March 07, 2014:
I seriously cannot imagine what it is like to be homeless and I hope that I never experience this. I am glad you have managed to come through this, so many don't.Take care.
JPRocks on March 04, 2014:
In answer to the question "Do you think homeless people can be re-integrated into society?" I put other. My explanation is this. I do believe that if you find yourself back into the society that let you slip you can re-integrate yet I do believe that you will never fully become a fully paid up member of said society. You will never forget the experience of homelessness. You will always strive to help people worse off than yourself for you have been there and would not wish the experience onto another human being. No in all honesty I believe it makes one a better person as you know the true pains of life. It could just be me with this view yet i know it is how I feel as I have been there myself and it is just but a very short stop away from me now this very day...
Sam Montana from Colorado on February 14, 2014:
Having a car is a must if you think you are about to become homeless. The car is your shelter and home. Talk to local churches, you will be amazed how much they care and can help. Possibly offer you a place to park at night and maybe money for a motel until you get going again.
sierradawn lm on January 17, 2014:
I have been homeless before and I applaud you on this powerhouse lens! Public sleeping is against the law everywhere, I think. You can never find anywhere safe to sleep, so sleep is rare. Obtaining a home and means of support when you are homeless is such a catch 22 proposal that it is nearly impossible. I collected and recycled cans and bottles. I am disabled and on Social Security. If it were not for my daughter, whom I live with now, I might be homeless again.
Renee Dixon from Kentucky on January 13, 2014:
This was very moving, I sometimes wonder what I would do if it weren't for my fiancé and his family. I have very little family left and I always have a fear that if something were to happen I could end up homeless one day. I am definitely the girl that is always stopping to help, even when others tell me I shouldn't. So many times I've went to help someone I seen that was homeless, and others around me have said things like, "Well how do you know they aren't faking it, or what if they are just gonna go buy alcohol??" well to me that doesn't matter. I look at the fact that there is a chance that the person genuinely needs help, I pray for them, I hope that they can find there way back to happiness they once known. My own brother was homeless for a while, and didn't tell anyone. I took him in an helped him get back on his feet, he is now married and has a daughter and is very happy. Thanks for sharing your very touching story with us. Blessings
Peter Messerschmidt from Port Townsend, WA, USA on January 03, 2014:
Excellent article, once again!Can homeless people be "re-integrated?" Well, sure... but we need to look at the fact that many "homeless" (at least speaking for my former self and friends I know who have been in that predicament) START as "non-standard" people, so we must focus on creating more opportunities for people who walk to the beat of a different drummer to BEGIN with. The thin line between me and destitution that temporarily "broke" was so "visible" BECAUSE I was never a candidate to be "a nurse" or "an accountant" or "a store manager" in the FIRST place, see what I'm saying? "Integration," as it may be, is often what FAILED and led to homelessness. Society is "broken," and homelessness and the lack of a safety net is just one of many symptoms... most of them relating to our obsession with/addiction to "more" and "resource (money) hoarding" on all levels. But that's another story, for another time!
my-home-corner on December 24, 2013:
This is what people need to be doing, spreading and creating awareness of such issues as homelessness and poverty. Bless you.
Linda Hahn from California on December 07, 2013:
Homelessness scares the hell out of me. I have been right on the edge a few times and it was horrible just thinking about it.
fibrogirl on November 13, 2013:
Wow. What a powerfully moving article. Admittedly, I have never been homeless and have only ever read about it from authors who haven't either. Thank you for sharing your point of view on the subject. I hope you are now happy and healthy with a wonderful home. :-)
pjsart on October 30, 2013:
I am so glad to see a lens like this as I have been homeless too. I wrote a little about that time in my lens published-at-last about finally getting my little children's book published. I cringe when I hear people look at someone and say "Why don't they go get a job?" grrrrr
kepezzo on October 30, 2013:
I believe such an experience gives you much more than life we have at the moment. I bow to you all that are and were homeless.THis is all I can say about it. Great lens.
Dawn from Maryland, USA on October 30, 2013:
Thank you for being brave enough to share a very important story and information.
fedupinusa on October 02, 2013:
@anonymous: I am so sorry to read your opinion of homeless people. I have no mental disorders, I became homeless due to being separated from a narcissistic husband, correction, ex-husband. I am still homeless but trying to desperately get back on my feet with very little luck. As the saying goes, don't judge a book by its cover, you may be surprised by the story inside.
fedupinusa on October 02, 2013:
@surfer1969 lm: Hello surfer1969, I, too, have been homeless since 2009, a while longer than you and your dad. I was curious, after reading your story, where do you put your blogs that you write? I have a livejournal blog, but seems to be going nowhere fast. I would love to write about what happens daily in my homelessness situation but would love to have it actually read. If it passes well with readers, I would love to find out how to get paid for writing, I need the income and after having put in 584 applications since mid July, I need income to sustain. You can contact me via here or at firstname.lastname@example.org, reminds me I will have to find a way to change my email address on here to one that will be active by the weekend. I hope you guys find a way to get on your feet and stay there. Stay safe out there and utilize large box (Walmart, KMart, Target, etc.) parking lots. I rotate mine every night so I am never in the same place twice in a week. Stay positive and keep grounded.
Kylyssa Shay (author) from Overlooking a meadow near Grand Rapids, Michigan, USA on September 28, 2013:
@surfer1969 lm: I'm sorry to hear you are experiencing homelessness right now. I hope you are able to stay safe and I'm glad you have someone to watch your back. Feel free to link to any of my pages as long as you aren't linking from Bubblews as Squidoo has blacklisted them and it can cause my lenses to get locked. Please drop me a line through my contact button on my Squidoo profile with a link to your blog and point me at any of your other writing online so I can check it out. I wish you the best of luck.
surfer1969 lm on September 28, 2013:
Me and my dad are homeless going on two years now and you are dead on this stuff too. The police will often accuse you of crimes and they will jump to the conclusion that you are committing a crime too. Me and my dad have a van that we sleep In although so that makes It's even harder sometimes to find a good sleeping place for the night. Right now I am making money with my writing and I am doing a blog on how society can help the homeless or displace being a nicer word to describe It. And I was wondering If I might be able to post your link on my blog as a helpful way of helping others like me that needs the help. Well get back to me on here or email me email@example.com. My next section talks about income on the blogs and ways of using the web to make an income too. In It I will be talking about websites like this and other sites.
mel-kav on September 26, 2013:
What a great lens! I commend you for being so open about sharing your story. I know it must have been difficult. Hopefully, you have helped others understand that people that have nowhere to live are living, feeling human beings that are down in their luck. It could happen to anyone. In my line of work, I have seen good, decent people become homeless - along with their children. It is so very sad.
fedupinusa on September 26, 2013:
I was homeless for 3 years in Florida and its no picnic. There was nothing to do about my situation. I was separated, had to sell off everything I had and then couldn't find work thanks to the economic depression for the people our government put us in in 2008. I stayed clean, I looked for work, eventually got grants to go to college but never got to finish once I decided to file for divorce. Its still hard to function without work. I have a motorhome, bought and paid for, but still no work. I can do just about anything, but really just want a job. Since this country has now gone to only hiring part time workers, I need to find 2 daytime jobs and 2 midnight jobs in order to get back on my feet. I just wish I could find work. I put in 10 applications a day online and have only had 4 interviews. No luck yet though on the outcome of them. I just wish someone would understand I want to stand on my own 2 feet again and be me. I do not and have never panhandled, that is not who I am. I keep to myself and like my solitude. If you know of someone who has a job opening for a cashier with lots of experience, someone who is got with computers, inventory, warehouse, office work, stocking, please send them to this email address: m o m o f a r m y s o l d I e r 2 0 0 4 (at) y a h o o (dot) c o m please. In the subject line please put, have job opening, apply now and I will know you read this blog. I am in the Grand Rapids, Michigan area at this time and just want to work. Thanks Homelessness is never what someone wants to be or who they are, it's a situation that has happened to them and they look for a way out of it all the time. Homeless people are not like what you see on tv, they have real faces, real situations and real lives, they just need help in certain areas to regain their lives back. Don't be scared of us, we don't bite and we don't want what you have, we want our own life back. Just talk to us, we can tell you and we don't beg for your hard earned money, we know how hard it is to come by. Thanks
anonymous on August 31, 2013:
@VspaBotanicals: I'm not homeless, but prefer to live life with only basic necessities and often sleep in forests/parks/squats. I learned that the people who give the most, have the least. I assume you are one of those great people :)
kurtkenobi on August 08, 2013:
I spent almost 2 years drifting in central and southern Arizona and am writing about it. I came by to get some ideas and I appreciate the information you have provided. Thank you
anonymous on August 06, 2013:
I impress lot specially you polling question and also your lens is very nice.
Kylyssa Shay (author) from Overlooking a meadow near Grand Rapids, Michigan, USA on August 03, 2013:
@anonymous: If you avoid people who are begging, you should be good to go. If a person is panhandling, it's a fairly good sign of either irresponsibility, addiction, or severe mental illness. Most of those publicity stunts wherein they give a homeless man a large sum of money to try to prove homeless people are worthless choose addicted beggars rather than average homeless people.Most homeless people are just down on their luck. But most of them conceal the fact that they don't have homes to avoid violence so you'll seldom see them.I "sorted" who I'd help mainly by taking in mostly gay teens thrown out of their homes for being gay. I had a 100% success rate of getting such kids on their feet because they were perfectly nice young men and women who just happened to have terrible religious fanatic parents. Somewhere around 100,000 to 400,000 American lgbtq teens and young adults get kicked out for being gay every year so there are plenty of them.$100 probably wouldn't have the same impact today as over two decades ago.As to how you can find a homeless man, woman, or family to help out, check with local charities. Otherwise you won't even be able to find anyone but panhandlers, a population that makes up less than 1% of homeless people in most areas. While panhandlers and public drunks are the most visible portion of homeless people, they are also the very most dysfunctional. Hiding your lack of a home while living on the street is a safety issue (homed people will hurt you or at the least try to humiliate you) and people too far gone to try to blend in or hide are probably beyond your ability to help.
anonymous on August 02, 2013:
I just read about 4 of your articles, very enlightening, I have a new perspective on things.Something I would be curious about is how do you differentiate those people who are just down on their luck, and those which are completely irresponsible? If I knew that I could help a good person back on their feet, for example, giving them $100 like you needed to get that PO box/clothes/etc, or spend a little time helping/mentoring, I would do it. However I worry that my limited money/time would just be wasted on someone who is simply irresponsible or incapable of getting their act together. I'd imagine a lot of people feel this way. I've seen documentaries for example where a homeless person was given $100K and blew it all. So I think a lot of people assume any help they try to give is like going into a black hole.
Kylyssa Shay (author) from Overlooking a meadow near Grand Rapids, Michigan, USA on August 01, 2013:
@autofanatic: Of hundreds of homeless people I've met, only a few claimed to have chosen it and they seemed severely mentally ill. I think that certain propaganda pushes the idea that people choose to lose their jobs or homes so no one will be interested in helping them. I also think some people claim they've chosen to live outside because they are sick of people asking them about it. I wish you all the best. Having a vehicle to sleep in makes a huge difference in how much violence you're likely to experience.
David Bynon from Prescott, Arizona on August 01, 2013:
A year ago I met Greg, a homeless man in San Diego. When I inquired he explained to me that most people have an incorrect view on what society calls "homeless". Greg said, "I'm not homeless, I live outside and you live inside." He further explained that most of the homeless, at least in the San Diego area, are those who choose to be. I don't know if that is true, but it opened my eyes to the way some people on the street think.Now, a year after meeting Greg, I find myself on the edge. I lost my home (after owning it for 9 years), my business and my savings all within a few months. With a handful of my remaining resources, I purchased an old travel trailer and moved out to the vast wilderness of the Mohave dessert to live off-grid. It's a story I hope to tell here on Squidoo through a series of how-to lenses, like, how I made my own wind power generator. Thanks for telling your moving story. You've motivated me to get going.
amosvee on July 23, 2013:
I am so moved by your honest and vivid story. I am grateful that you managed to find your way out, and wish that our society had a compassionate solution for this problem.
Rhonda Lytle from Deep in the heart of Dixie on July 13, 2013:
I truly believe homelessness is an issue that will be faced by more and more families in America. The majority of homeless are children. That number is skyrocketing daily. Statistics agree most Americans are two paychecks away from being homeless most of the time. As for getting out of homelessness, yes and no. It's like the military, prison, or any other institution. Some people, for whatever reason, become "institutionalized" meaning they can no longer function outside the specific norms and expectations of the said institution, in this case it being the condition of being homeless which comes complete with its own culture, if one is immersed in it to any degree. My chief concern in relation to this, among many, is that for children said institutionalization is almost guaranteed because it is the culture they are primarily socialized into if they are homeless. God help America for our ignoring this situation can do nothing but bite us big time and we all know where.
clevergirlname on July 13, 2013:
I think some can be reintegrated into society and some cannot. Just as I believe some soldiers can and some cannot. I also believe everyone should be given a chance where available and that it isn't fair to judge anyone you don't know. There's a group "Take Back Santa Cruz" that I mostly see bash but I recently saw someone post something about how her homeless friend was that way because he couldn't pay his medical bills.It's so sad. Your stories brought some serious emotion and I am so happy you decided to write about it. Obviously this was very difficult - you have much respect for sharing. If you impact one persons opinion that's enough.
MaiAki on July 05, 2013:
Wow I couldn't imagine being homeless and not even having the bare essentials..you really changed a few opinions I had about the homeless. You're $100 bill story was truly inspiring, I hope you achieve many great things in your lifetime..If you haven't already ;)
anonymous on July 05, 2013:
I have often thought that homeless people have serious mental disorders and refuse to take their medication therefore cannot function normally to keep job and in turn lose their jobs then their homes and their familys....just my opinion
CalobrenaOmai on June 11, 2013:
Personally have experienced being without a home at least twice in my life with my family. Everyone was working but there were things that kept popping up out the blue that forced us to forego paying for some things. Things are fairing better but still expenses are popping up. Love the lens; its filled with lots of information. Thanks for sharing.
JoleneBelmain on May 29, 2013:
I would offer the homeless or panhandler food, and if they refused then obviously they do not need the handouts near as much as they appear to. We live in a small town so don't have the problem near as much as the bigger cities do, but we do get asked for change every now and then.
Kylyssa Shay (author) from Overlooking a meadow near Grand Rapids, Michigan, USA on May 13, 2013:
@erbeaz: While I agree about panhandlers often having homes I disagree about people using shelters that don't need to. That's just too dangerous a game for way too little reward. I can see how they might be motivated to panhandle because of a monetary motivation. But a so-so meal and a bed that stands a fair chance of being infested with something unpleasant in a room full of coughing people isn't much when considered against the fact that they're also setting themselves up for humiliation and possibly even violence. I don't think I ever encountered anyone with other options that they were aware of (severely mentally ill people sometimes don't understand that they have any if they do) while volunteering. Well, unless the option to go back to a violent and dangerous living situation counts as an option. I count domestic violence as the person not having a home if they don't have one that is safe no matter how nice the their clothes are.
erbeaz on May 13, 2013:
I appreciated your insight into the fact that I've suspected that many of the panhandlers really do have homes. Once my husband and I watched a panhandler put away his sign, walk through the parking lot and get in a nice car - nicer than ours. We've assisted in providing meals at shelters, but also I think that many who came there were not necessarily homeless.
Nancy Carol Brown Hardin from Las Vegas, NV on April 20, 2013:
A clear insight into this insecure way of existing. So sorry you had to go through this. I know someone right now who is homeless, and yes, money can sometimes be the saving grace, and that's why, as a group, we have been helping this lensmaster who is having a rough time. Thanks for your story, I learned a lot from it.
Rose Jones on April 19, 2013:
I have visited this wonderful lens many times. Reading your story is always so inspiring to me. Bookmarked to digg, stumbleupon and g+ - as always I wish you the best. If you are ever in the SF Bay area, stop by we will have a cup of tea. :)
geosum on April 16, 2013:
Yes there is hope. Many people are just one paycheck away from being destitute. I'm fortunate to have many Christian friends who care...
Kylyssa Shay (author) from Overlooking a meadow near Grand Rapids, Michigan, USA on April 16, 2013:
@waynekat: That's a great idea. If you don't feel comfortable having people you don't know in your home, even the use of your address would be a huge help.
waynekat on April 16, 2013:
You have me wondering... Would offering my home address to a homeless person and maybe a shower for job interviews help? Great lense! Thanks so much...
opatoday on April 09, 2013:
If you ever have a project I would be glad to help, this lens is AMAZING
theleader300c on April 07, 2013:
Only ready today that a young documentary maker in Newcastle Australia died of hypothermia whilst making a story about how the homeless live.
anonymous on March 31, 2013:
My name is Larry, and i feel that anyone can become homeless and that anyone who is homeless can become a home owner. I went homless in Phx, Az in 1994 after I started using alcohol and other drugs. It didn't take long for me to loos everything that I worked so hard to get. I was 5 1/2 yrs without anything and then one day I picked up again,within 2 days I stopped going to work and within 2 months I went homless and at this time I had spent every penny that I had. I survived by going dumpster diving for treasures and food. I did this for 10 months. The sad thing is I use to feed the homless when I got off work from Good Sams Hospital as well as the Heart Institute. I finally called my parents and told them what happened. My parents sent me a bus ticket to go back to chicago. Once back I still was doing the same old thing so I moved to wisconsin where I have been without any alcohol or other drugs for over 17 yrs. During this time I got maried,self employed for the past 9 yrs and am a home owner, so if I can do it so can anyone. If anyone would like to hear more about my journey you can email me at firstname.lastname@example.org
Auriel on March 28, 2013:
insuranceguy on March 27, 2013:
Fascinating article Kylyssa. It sure adds some major perspective understanding what it was like in your shoes. Thanks for sharing.
RetroMom on March 21, 2013:
Pat Goltz on March 08, 2013:
I knew a man who was homeless; he used to come pick up the Coke cans out of the trash behind the library. I went there to get discarded law books. He said he chose to remain homeless because he wanted to reach other homeless people with the love of Christ. I met another man who was homeless, and trying to sell a painting he had done. I "bought" the painting and let him keep it. I know a man now who is homeless. The government was taking all his money for child support, although they are by law only permitted to take half. He finally gave up, and has no money for rent. He is staying with a man presently, in exchange for handyman work around the house. I met another homeless person who said he preferred to live on the streets. One day, one homeless person was being beaten by another. I stopped and told the beater to get lost, which he did, but he took the other man's backpack. Afterward, the victim showed no gratitude, and asked me for money (which I don't have to spare.) I told the police about the theft. Property tax often leaves elderly people homeless. The government takes their homes without compensation, if they can't pay. This is far more common than you might think. We could become homeless for that reason; we have already had to sell all the assets we had to keep it from happening once. Our society needs to rethink a lot of its policies.
Kylyssa Shay (author) from Overlooking a meadow near Grand Rapids, Michigan, USA on February 24, 2013:
@chickie99: Homelessness doesn't equal freedom so I suppose I'd prefer death to either at this point in my life. I couldn't emotionally or physically survive the repeated rapes and beatings anymore and I think prison would probably have those same hazards.
chickie99 on February 23, 2013:
sad but personal and to the point. would you rather be in prison and restricted or homeless but free?
VspaBotanicals on February 23, 2013:
My husband and I have taken in several homeless people. As a matter of fact, right now, we have someone new staying with us (a family member), who is homeless. We try to do as much as we can to help others. We are not rich...far, far from being that. But when we help other people, we feel that we are. That's what we were all put on this earth for...to help one another. Your story is so very touching, and may the Angels continue to smile down on you. :)
Tom on February 23, 2013:
Thanks for sharing your story. That has to be an extremely tough situation to go through.
CornellMarCom LM on February 22, 2013:
As a fellow homeless person..for a very short time...I understand what people think and say and do.... Congratulations on winning. In my eyes you are a winner ...Oh by the way...I am a freelance writer also,,,God is so cool - he leads us.
nicey on February 22, 2013:
I thank GOD for your life and you came out stronger.I need prosperity so that I can solve people's problems.I pray that all the homeless will have shelter starting from today.Amen
anonymous on February 22, 2013:
What an amazing and authentic lens and so brave of you to write it! I agree with you about hating the term "the new face of homelessness." It sounds more like a marketing campaign doesn't it? Clearly created by someone out of touch with the homeless.
CraftyandClever from everywhere but mostly Cali on February 20, 2013:
I know what it feels like to be homeless as I spent the first 18 years of my life homeless but I was lucky enough to have family with me mom, dad and siblings. It is hard but really I have struggled my whole life, but through it all positivity is the most important thing. Never give up and never surrender. People need to know that the homeless population want to change their situation and are some of the sweetest people you will meet. Take the time to get to know people you will understand the world better.
JoshuaJDavid on February 11, 2013:
This is incredible. If I had the power to bless your lens and your life I would. Thank you for reading my poetry but nothing I write could ever be as interesting as this lens.Continued success to you.
whats4dinner on February 08, 2013:
Amazing story here, this is such a great lens. Thank you.
wordpress-guru on January 25, 2013:
@Loretta L: actually that's a problem ... good intentions with bad results .. sure, everybody with no money needs money/food/medicine etc, but if you care you should write about it to your local council / city hall because they SHOULD take care of them ... it's just my opinion anyway
wordpress-guru on January 25, 2013:
@anonymous: damn that's sad ... i visited several poor countries and I can tell you this, when you don't have a place to stay : ask a friend for a garage or attic, even a basement ... is better then nothing..Ask your ex.. it's hard, but it's better then the street .Ask the Mayor directly for help .Look for couch-surfers willing to take you in for a couple of weeks .If you have the courage, look for an abandoned house (i don't know if that is legal or illegal were you are)
anonymous on January 23, 2013:
Maybe someone out there could give me some sort of advice. I recently became homeless like yesterday. I guess I am a little naïve, cuz I just thought you could go to a shelter and they would actually help you. The worker doing intake asked if I took any meds which yes I am supposed to but I haven't since thanksgiving when I lost my job and insurance. Probably been better to just keep my mouth shut. She said I could go to the er and get 2 days worth of medications to last until they have their clinic there. After hours of waiting and then being treated like a pill seeker not 1 of my medications is a narc, all I got was a rx which does me no good I can't afford them. It is not policy of my local hospital to administer meds to anyone but an inpatient. Still the mission said I could not stay unless I had my meds. Dr had even written me a note saying I would be just fine without my meds for A few more days. All I have to say is thank god I have a car and my kids could stay with their dad.
Loretta Livingstone from Chilterns, UK. on January 21, 2013:
I have heard that it means a lot for homeless people just to be talked to. I usually do try to give them a little money, and spend a few minutes praying with them. I know this could happen to anyone, and I feel that people shouldn't judge the homeless, or just walk on by.
Paul from Liverpool, England on January 14, 2013:
Revisiting to refresh the Blessing - first lens I remembered for the latest quest
Titia Geertman from Waterlandkerkje - The Netherlands on January 10, 2013:
Hi Kylyssa, I know I've been here before to read this beautuful lens (despite the fact that the subject is something we all don't want to experience), but what I can't understand is that I apparently forgot to like it. Well now I do and since I've gotten my wings the other day, I'll bless it too. It's well deserved.
illustr8 on January 06, 2013:
An inspirational story to start my 2013 new year with renewed hope! Life's wonderful
Ladymoss111 on January 04, 2013:
I was once homeless so I know the feeling. Some people when passing they look at you at you are a thing, not a person.
Donnette Davis from South Africa on January 04, 2013:
Your description of Justus portrays a beautiful and caring soul. Your writing is wonderful, expressive, and yes I feel the anger in your words. Beautifully written.In South Africa we have a serious problem with lack of housing and services, unemployment at an all time high, and of course our crime rate which is the 2nd highest in the world. My older sister and her 14 YO daughter are homeless, they live from shelter to shelter, and on leaving the last shelter, having nowhere to go we brought them to our home for the Christmas holidays. We had not heard from her for over 4 years, and previous to that had no idea where she was for 6 years, despite advertising in magazines and periodicals and newspapers. They were to leave yesterday, anxious to find yet another shelter, but I have convinced them to stay a little longer to give us time to try to stabilize their situation. She had been treated like a queen by her late husband, but on his untimely death (which she witnessed) was not equipped with the necessary social or employment skills to become independent, and in her devastation did not even bother to try. We hope to provide support and gentle encouragement, get the child into school and let them start living with dignity again.I loved your lens, I did not - and i could not - appreciate the experiences or feelings experienced by homeless people, I have not walked a mile in my sister's shoes. I have a better understanding now, and am so grateful that we are, for now, in a position to try and lend a helping hand.Blessed by a Squid Angel.
clouda9 lm on January 03, 2013:
Back for a visit...angel blessing and congrats for being one of Squidoo's favorite lenses of 2012! (http://hq.squidoo.com/lensmaster-spotlight/more-of...
AlyxAndreaDesign on January 02, 2013:
You are an amazing writer and have provided spectacular insight into various issues surrounding homelessness. I work in a shelter and if I was a better writer I could have written the exact same thing. You are absolutely spot on. I have heard hundreds of stories from people I work with and you touched on just about everything. I think the matter of fact style of writing does a magnificent job of painting a picture for those who do not have any experience with being unable to relax, recover and know safety in their own private space.
priscillab on January 01, 2013:
I've been homeless and what gets me is how most people think it could never happen to them. With so many of us living from paycheck to paycheck it is too real of a possibility. My dream is to really be able to make a difference by helping those who find themselves homeless- give them real help to get back on their feet. Unfortunately our system doesn't make it easy.
Mary Norton from Ontario, Canada on January 01, 2013:
Such a sad thing to happen.
makorip lm on December 31, 2012:
Amazing grace! I would like to hear your story from your return to Squidoo. Best Lens!
Barbara Walton from France on December 29, 2012:
I've always worried about being homeless and think that this is such an important article. I'm nominating it for my best lens of 2012
KandH on December 24, 2012:
Thanks for sharing this story. I don't believe in luck and I am really glad you were able to find your way and that you are making such wonderful contributions, not least of all with your inspiring words - may you continue to be blessed and be a blessing!
Donallphin on December 21, 2012:
I too am impressed with your story. In my life, I've found it much better not to judge those who are homeless. I always think to myself with a few bad breaks this could be me. Thanks for a very good lens.
pinkrenegade lm on December 13, 2012:
I love reading this inspiring story of yours. Thanks for sharing this delightful lens!
stormlyt lm on December 12, 2012:
Inspiring story. Great lens
nationalbusines on December 09, 2012:
Wow you are an amazing person to have motivated yourself to move up and out of this situation
daniela12 on December 09, 2012:
I live in LA. I hate passing through the skidrow at night, it's very sad... The streets are very dirty and prostitution are in every corner. Every time I pass through there I keep thinking about it for days.
papacarpenter on December 09, 2012:
I run an all girls children's home that helps young ladies ages 18-24 that are homeless, have aged out of foster care or who have other family issues and are struggling on their own. Tonight we are celebrating one young lady passing her GED, and she is the fourth grad we have had this year. We love helping these young ladies find freedom from their past and hope for their future. Thanks for being a voice for those who so many times have no voice.
Kylyssa Shay (author) from Overlooking a meadow near Grand Rapids, Michigan, USA on December 05, 2012:
@anonymous: Some homeless shelters, some day centers, most job banks, and almost all public libraries have Internet access. Many homeless people are smart enough to keep their laptop, tablet PC, or phone when they become homeless (so they can get jobs, earn money on the Internet, and find resources, etc.) or they may have been given a device with Internet access by some kind person or charity. Free wireless access is just about everywhere in major cities. Most coffee shops seem to have a WiFi hotspot. Some fast food restaurants have a computer customers can access in addition to wireless Internet.
anonymous on December 04, 2012:
I do not see how people say they are homeless RIGHT NOW. Did shelters improve by getting internet access. They probably are in poverty not HOMELESS. Totally complement subjects. Internet cafes could work but, they need a device. Internet labs work but some neglect from appearance. I HONESTLY DO NOT KNOW. To the author of the article, thank you for sharing. Much respect.
Soldiersister8184 on November 19, 2012:
I've had friends in this situation before. As a single mom of two in a two bed house, there is a very strict limit on what I have been able to do. However, a shower and a ride to get applications, an offer of a lift to work when they find a job, and a place (several, because of my family) to sleep have thankfully managed to help get them on their feet. I want to thank you for emphasizing that not all police are like the bad ones. While I know that some are, there are many others who go out of their way to help anywhere they can. Sadly, they get jaded like the rest of us. But you are right - there is no excuse for abusing someone.I believe it is an honor to have met you. Thank you for having the courage to have a voice on this subject. You have my deep respect for pushing past the fear of disclosure and the discomfort that such a topic can cause.