Seems like everywhere I look people are looking for a fix to this problem. Lots of people it seems want some sort of quick fix or miracle solution. I'm grateful for that. Because I don't have a clue and at least someone is thinking. I have my opinions about how to do it, sure. Like if we had a sort of one-stop-shop that a homeless person could walk into, get every thing he (or she) needs, and walk out not homeless. To me that is a realistic idea. But I wouldn't hold my breath.
Today I talked to a guy who wasn't homeless (and didn't know I was) but he knew a guy that complained to him about how hard it was for him to get a simple shower here in Tampa Florida, because he was homeless. I have that problem also! With homeless people still struggling to get help for the simple stuff from any state (it seems) a massive idea like mine seems a bit of a fantasy.
I thank the people that do help though. I know it's not easy. Even the people that help seem to be driven down by homelessness. I've seen the look. A soup kitchen volunteer works for a week, then comes back a month or two later just to see the lines are longer and the a quarter of the faces are new. Its a look of disappointment and I think they feel that no matter how hard they try to help, the problem won't get better. The more they help the worse it gets. Of course, they still feel the joy of helping (thank god for that). These are just my opinions; please don't be offended.
As for me, I'm beginning to take a new approach. A self improvement approach. See, I will not blame the government for my problems. I blame them for not being as supportive as they could be. But the government did not make me homeless. Here in Tampa they are about to pass a law that says no homeless people can panhandle, EXCEPT OF COURSE on Sundays. The reason is because of the traffic (or so they say). All I will say about that is that the traffic here will be just as bad after the ban passes. Try, just TRY, to cross the street here in Tampa on the cross walk, with the little blinking man, with the right of way, and not get plowed down. It's safer to J-walk, trust me.
Sorry, I'll end that rant now!
Yes, self improvement. I wasn't always homeless. From age 16 to about 28 I did very well for myself and my two little girls. Very well. But I had problems. I was careless. And I wasted a lot of time being careless. I didn't save my money right. I didn't watch my credit. I spent money on things I simply did not need. I had the things I needed but did not set goals to get the things I should have needed. A house! Retirement! A new car! Maybe a better education in the field that I was good at, manufacturing! Tie all that together with just a little bad luck and you have the beginning of my story.
Since I have been homeless I have noticed that its even worse. Because now I know I can make it alive without any of that stuff. I remember that after 3 months without even a single dollar I landed $40 in my pocket. I had found a phone and returned it. The first thing I did was to go to a very nice bar. I had the best sandwich a human being could ask for, and I helped myself to some beer. The next morning I was broke again. The thought of spending that money on, nothing, maybe a bunch of bus passes never accrued to me. Or maybe a trip to a place where I could print out 100 copies of my resume.
Now, this isn't totally my fault. My point here is this. I think that after someone has been homeless for a while they sort of get used to it and forget the important things. I can see why. After I spent my $40 and was broke again I want back to the mental thinking of survival. That $40 was a much needed break for me. I had just spent 3 months thinking NON STOP about how to get out of the situation. I was drained! And the longer a homeless person is out there on the streets the worse it gets.
Imagine what we could do if we got help to every homeless person on day 1 - before they begin to sink into a world where survival and getting by is the only thing on there mind. I'm not gonna worry about getting by any more. I've been on the street on and off for 4 years now. I think I have learned a little about survival. I'm gonna start thinking about how I felt when I was doing good. And how to get back to normal, and take care of the things that I care about Then getting ahead!
Thank You for reading this. It makes me feel better.
Have fun in your down time. I know this sounds funny but I do believe it is something you must do. Time for homeless people is a little different than the time of an average person. However, homeless people wind up with free time (usually on the weekends). And I say there is no harm in doing something for you as long as its not going to make your situation worse. Read a book! Go to church! Maybe see a friend or family member if you can! Make a phone call to a loved one! Hit the beach if possible! What ever it takes to free your mind from the stresses of being homeless and makes your free time go faster for you, that's what you should do.
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