Sunday, December 18, 2011

Day - 88 Homelessrob On Break, Be Back Soon!

For me writing has always been a soothing experience. I just like to do it. I know I can't spell very well and my grammar is even worse. Someone once asked me why I could never learn how to spell well. I told her that for me, I just write and spell in the same way I think  it in my head. She was very smart and told me there was a word for that. I forgot what she called it though. So for those of you who have struggled through these past 88 posts, ....... thank you!

Its time to take a break now though. Its been about 3 months for me and I need some rest from blogging. You need a rest from me as well!

I never expected to get this far. I never expected to get the reaction I have received. I never expected to be doing a "walkathon". I never expected the endless sea of kind words and support that I have gotten. I never expected any of this. I simply wanted to tell a story a about a man in the dumps, that has a goal, and what he (I) plan to do about it! That was it! I never expected the response I got.

So, I'm going to leave blogging alone for a few weeks (about 3 I think). However, I am going to take advantage of that time to get to know you (my readers) a little better. I'll be on the social networks hanging out and chatting with the people that I have meet so far. I owe them (you) that much. Besides, I want to know you. I'd like to take some time to form some bonds. The people that I have meet thought this blog have been more than nice. I like nice people!

On top of building relationships with you (my reader) I'll also be getting ready for the next stage of my plan. I know I haven't been talking about that much but the truth is that only very recently have I managed to break ground with most of that. So, I'll be getting ready for the walk across America that I'm going to be doing. I'll be getting mentally prepared for that (that is going to be a big task alone).

I'll also be trying to work out some details about some of the things I might be able to do on that walk from someone who might be a very big supporter of my "mission". Her name is Kellie! Kellie and I might be able to really do some big things together and I'm very excited about that. If that works out I'll be introducing her to you later. She and her family are very cool.

I'm also waiting for a video camera to make its way to me. It's in the mail (and you all know how the mail and I DO NOT always see eye to eye).  So when I get back I'll be bringing a whole new style with me. I'll be looking to do very big things with that.

My crosses have been one of the biggest challenges I have had to deal with. Its always been part of my plan and did not get very far. However, recently I had a talk with someone who seems to understand what I want to do with that. I might get some support there, finally! It comes from a source that I didn't expect to be helpful on that matter and I'll tell you about that also when I start blogging again. You should like that part of my story.

I also need some time with God! As most everything I'm doing is on his command as it is! Because with out him doing good work just isn't the same. I look at my walk kinda like a huge prayer. I talk with God the most when I'm walking. We will walk together, God and I, and along the way we will build a great relationship. But I need him now! I need him to clear my mind, build me up, take away the worries of failure I have, and reconfirm that my heart is totally dedicated to the doing of his will.

Every story has a beginning, a middle, and an end. This is the end of the beginning! When I come back I'll be rebuilt and ready to go, regardless of anything else. Whether I have a cross or video camera or support or not, I'm walking! I'm going to do what I'm told! You (my reader) can be sure about one thing though, no matter how I start the middle of this story, you will be entertained!

I'd like to take a second to thank you all. In three months this blog has changed my life. However, you all have changed my life in so many more ways. I love going to my mail box every day and seeing the email from people. I love the energy and hope you give me. I love the way you make me feel about this whole mess I got myself into. I have made several friends in the last three months and will be doing my best to not take the privilege lightly! You deserve the very best from me. You deserve to not just know where I stand on homelessness, but to also know me as a person. For you I'll hold no punches! I'll tell no lies! I'll give you everything I have! When I start blogging again in a few weeks I hope to give all that and so much more to you.

I'll be right back!

Got to

so I can

But don't be sad!
I'm just thinking of how to do good things!

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Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Day - 84 Shame, Shame, Homelessness...... Shame On You!

When it comes to homelessness there is no shortage of shame to go around. Shame about being dirty. Shame about eating God knows where or what. Shame about sleeping outside. Shame about what people think and say about you. Shame about asking for money. Shame about being at the mercy of others.

The list goes on and on. For an already homeless person living in shame is a given, that only goes away with comfort. Comfort found in homelessness (ironically).

Truth be told, you don't even need to be homeless before you feel shame creeping its was into your life. You might not have ever been homeless before but the mere thought of it brings you to shame. Shame that you failed. Sham that you couldn't provide for your loved ones. Shame that you lost or are about to lose your life.

Then it gets worse, just like most things you are new to thinking about, you start seeing and hearing about it everywhere you go.There is a homeless add on T.V. Then you start seeing homeless people everywhere- street corners, benches, parks. Then you form a mental picture in your head of you being homeless.  Then you start thinking "that's what I'm going to become". Next thing you know, shame has then found a home in you and homelessness is ready to pounce all over you and sink its hooks in you.

The reality is that despite what you think, it could have always been you! Don't kid yourself, you were never that special snowflake you thought you were. Whatever made you ever think it could never be you, left you! Greater people have fallen victim to homelessness. As far as homelessness goes you are just another notch on a belt.

I'm not here to laugh at you or pick on you. I just know that the sooner you come to that conclusion the better off you will be. So, I said it! Sorry! Actually, what I'm going to tell you I hope will help you.

Believe it not, feeling shame before you become homeless can be a good thing. However, most people don't use it in a good way. Believe me when I tell you that shame will literally make people run right into homelessness. That's right, they feel the shame of homelessness and run right into it. They usually even try to find ways to justify it as well.

Here is a very common one: "I need to minimize my life".  I see this all the time. By saying that what people are really doing is saying "here I am homelessness, just remember I came to you first before you could find me so you have to take it easy on me". And believe me when I tell you that homelessness will NOT treat you any better just because you had a hand out.

I see this all the time, too. People see homelessness coming and the shame of it causes them to justify it. Then they either run into homelessness or try to run away from homelessness. Either way you go, I promise you this: You are only going to make matters worse. How can you minimize a life that was already going to be minimized? Sure, you could have done that BEFORE you were about to be homeless. Now, its too late!

I'm sorry for that, I swear to God I am.

So, this is what I advise for you: When you start to feel that shame sinking in DO NOT PANIC!!!!! Do not make drastic choices. Do not try to settle into a life of homelessness. DO NOT, IN ANY WAY, STICK OUT YOUR HAND TO HOMELESSNESS. Don't make up excuses..... "Oh well, the weather will be cold, and since I'm going to be homeless I should move across the country". Use your brain! Because, what all this really is, is a way for you to deal with the shame.

When it come to homelessness you are going to feel shame all the way thought until you are comfortable with homelessness. There is no way around it! Its part of the game! So, stay where you are and deal with it. Do not attempt to "minimize" your life in any DRASTIC way. You must try to stay stable and maintain. Do not stop looking for ways to stop homelessness. FOR CRYING OUT LOUD...... GO DOWN WITH A FIGHT! Do everything you can to stay afloat! Don't be the person trying to befriend homelessness! That will not work.

I know you're scared! I know that shame is hard. "If I stay here all my friends will see that I'm homeless". I get it, but let me tell you, if I could go back I would rather be around friends that know I was homeless than to be in a place where everyone knows I'm homeless but I have no friends. You are going to have to do your part as far as just sucking up some of that shame. However, you'll be MUCH better off that way.

If you have never been homeless before and you start to feel that shame settle in, just know you have two choices.
1: Shake hands with homelessness and introduce yourself as a friend;

2: Fight it with everything you have no matter how the shame of it feels! Fight it with every fiber of your life. Then IF you still become homeless it least you went down hard.

I have to tell you, because I'll always be honest with you and you deserve that from me, that when my number came up..... I choose #1.

I wish to God I had not done that! I even did it more than once (hints my spells) and I know now that it was probably the biggest mistake I ever made in life. Homeless spells often thrive off your past homeless spell comfort level.

Thats a different topic all together.

But knowing what I know now, if I had a chance to go back in time, I would have fought MUCH harder to keep a roof over my head. Everything was at stake and I just had no idea what I was up against.

But you, if you believe a single word I say, DO!

The choice is up to you!
Good Luck!

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Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Day - 83 Homelessrob Will Not Sit For Homelessness

I was in church last Sunday when I saw something that changed my life. I don't believe God sends me "sings". If he did it would probably say "hungry, please help" (lol). But I know when God is telling me something. If I don't hear him outright I hear him thought a sort of "humming in my brain". It usually a moment of clarity for me. What he told me that morning was " stay on course, do as I say, and walk".

It was last Sunday! I was in the very back row (as usual, because really I'm a pretty shy sort of guy! Its true). The service was well on its way. There had already been a little girl on stage singing a song that I couldn't really understand.... but it didn't matter because she was so cute about it that she was breaking hearts left and right. The pastor had already been up to give some announcements. The crowed was settled in. LOL, or at least I was.

Then, it was time for some more singing. Two, very beautiful, girls hoped up and broke into a song that moved the earth. LOL, I tell you when I say they moved earth .... I mean it. They sang a song that I had never heard before but would love to hear again. They did so good. It was very nice.

About the end of the song I looked cross the crowd! I noticed a man that I had seen several times, in and outside of church. A homelessman. I notice this man more then most other homeless people in this area. The reason being is because..... well to be honest... he just sticks out a lot more as to what a homeless person looks like, according to popular opinion that is. He isn't very clean. He wears the same clothing every day. Hes hair is usually dirty and bla bla bla. Now, I'm no better then him, and I'm not judging him. I'm simply trying to..... paint a picture here for you. He was homeless...... and not in his Sunday best to say the least.

However, there he was! In church (LOL, where where you last Sunday?). It was at around the end of the song that I noticed him. Shifting around. Moving as if he wanted to stand up. And when those two girls finished that song...... he did! He stood up and started clapping his hands for them. The crowed also clapped as well. It was a good song after all!

But what changed my life happened a little later on. The service continued a little more. Moving along well. Someone new got up and said some things. A candle was lit. Then the two girls got back up and did another song. LOL, these is a lot of singing in this church. You know how church can be the first 20 or 30 minuets..... up and down, up and down! I like it! But you know how it is around this time of year. Everyone is singing. I didn't mind! These two girls could SING! I loved it!

Then around the end of that song I looked over again to see the homelessman. Yes, he was shuffling around some more. I could tell that he couldn't wait to stand up and clap it up again. That was fine with me. I had no reason to be any bit concerned about it. I'm just reporting here, that when the girls where done with the second song the homeless man stood up aging and showed his support with several hand claps.

This time was different tho. What moved me was how this time......everyone stood up and clapped. The entire congregation was on there feet. Something they didn't do the first time. I have no bought in my mind that the reason was because of the homelessman. The first time he stood completely alone. He was the only one doing what honestly we all should have been doing in the first place (including myself), showing support. The first time he stood up he stock out like a swore thumb. It seemed almost awkward to be honest, because no one else did it. these two girls sang there hearts out and the only one that stood up for them was a homelessman. But after that, because of that homelessman, EVERYONE (including myself) stood.

This homelessman stood up. He exposed himself to everyone there. He didn't care about who saw him. He didn't care about his appearance. He didn't care that people might talk about him. He didn't care what people thought about him. He simply stood up and clapped his hands. He spent 20 seconds going against the grain and to do what was right. What should have been done for those two girls, that deserved nothing less, in the first place.

I'm no leader. I believe you lead by example. I'm no example! I have fallen to far from life. I have lost everything. I have failed myself! My kids! My family! Even God a time or two! Yet still they all love me and support me in my darkest hour. I couldn't tell you why. I'm no one great. I'm not someone that has achieved great things. I'm not someone that you might see on the cover of "time". I'm not someone that has ever been recognized for doing good work. I'm a follower and not a very good one at that.

But last Sunday morning changed my life. I learned something that morning. I learned that none of that stuff matters. I learned that people have an ability to become leaders rather they believe it, or even like, it or not! ANYONE can turn a tide.

Now, God told me weeks ago to walk, that was already in the mix! Last Sunday God told me to be myself as I did it. I'm not looking to "lead" anyone. I'm not a leader. I'm not trying to turn tides. I'm honestly just looking to satisfy Gods will in me. But for me personally I feel I have to. Because deep down I do want people to change. I do want people to believe in what I saw in church. I do want people to believe that they can do big things no matter how small they think thy are. 

So, I cant sit anymore! I cant sit for this life. I cant die in a tent in a wild life reserve. I can accept that this is the life God has chosen for me. I can accept that! I can deal with that. But I wont sit for it anymore. I wont wast anymore of my time wandering around doing nothing. I wont sit for it. I wont sit here and continue to let homelessness take little bits and pieces of me. I wont sit here and keep letting time go by. I wont sit here anymore and NOT at least try my hardest to make some sort of change. I wont sit for it any more.

So, I stand and walk, soon. Why? because there are things to me worth standing for.  I'll stand for America, because I believe in America! I believe that America is worth standing for. I believe America can change, I believe America can be fixed and restored, and made right, better then ever! I'll stand for my family and my kids because they believe I can stand! I'll stand for God also because he put his hand out for me to stand up. I'll stand up and walk. I'll walk across America and along the way be myself. I'll do it for these causes. I'll do it not just because God is telling me to but because I know I can. I would rather stand for things I believe in then have my kids find out I died a coward thinking and talking about change all the while doing nothing.

I'm not a leader. I'm not looking to change people. I just am going to do what I think is right, despite my "condition" (if you will). I'm just going to try and be me and do what I think is right... for whatever the reason is..... I cant say, God didn't tell me why! I'll do it without any expectations. I'll do it without any care about what anyone says or thinks about me. I'll even do it with out this blog or any followers if that where the case, but as it is God told me to write it all first and told me to walk much later on. I'll do it because in my heart I know something good must come out of it. I mean it has to right? God doesn't tell people to do things because they are wrong to do!

So, starting sometime next month I start my walk across America. I'll be looking to walk through every state and hit every major city I can. Starting here in Tampa, Fl and ending in VT. I'll be doing a video blog along the way. I'll be talking about homelessness. I'll be talking to the homeless and I'll be recording it all to post for you. Also, I'll be planting seeds along the way (or doing my best to honer God as far as that goes). Now, somewhere in this process I stall have to figure out how to reach my goal. I'm working on a few thoughts as far as that goes. That's why I invited you all here in the first place anyways. For me to tell you a story. For you to watch a struggle.... don't forget that!

84 days ago I never thought I'd be attempting anything like this. Honestly, the more I think about this the more I like it. For you (my reader) you should be more then entertained. As for me, I hope to have a very eye opening road trip. Rather any change is mad I don't know... I'm not going to ame for that. I'm just going to be me and see what happens. Because I can't sit here anymore...... and do nothing!
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Monday, December 12, 2011

Day - 82 Homelessness Has a Weakness

I brainstormed about this a week ago. I have only mentioned this thought to one other person (Brian). The more I think about it, the more I like it. I'm going to talk about it much the same way I mentioned  it to Brian.

One night while I was resting in my tent it occurred to me that as big and powerful homelessness is, there is a weakness.

Homelessness is not contagious. Its not a cold. Its not a germ. Its not a virus. It is simply an entity or way of life that sometimes people fall into. Think about it! Personally, I have NEVER heard anyone say "I'm homeless because someone else..." or "I became homeless because I was around someone that was".

You (my reader) can argue that with me. You can say "well, Homelessrob, what about a couple? Or people on drugs?" My response is still the same. I have never heard a couple say "WE became homeless because another couple did".

As for people on drugs goes, there might be a little truth in that. If you are doing drugs with someone that is homeless, you might find yourself homeless. But I wouldn't blame that on the homeless person. Also, there are plenty of people that do drugs that are not homeless. So, I stand firm on this: "homelessness is not contagious"!

So, how do we use this notion to fight homelessness? How do we exploit homelessness by way of its weakness?

The only logical way I can think of is to compare homelessness with things that ARE contagious.

What things are contagious?

That's right - you got it! Hope, friendships, bonds, faith, humility, support, and the most powerful of all emotions: LOVE!

Well, Homelessrob, If we have all that how do we use it? How do we get it to work?

I have a few thoughts about that also.

I have a friend, John. In the last 2 months he has single-handedly helped 12 homeless people off the streets. He is a pretty resourceful man. His method is one that I have seen before and not used often. He uses the "one homeless person at a time method". The rules are simple. He takes one homeless person and works with then until 1 of 2 things happens. 1- the homeless person is found to be someone that really does not want the help and would rather be on the streets. 2- the homeless person is no longer homeless. Also, he works on that one person, no more than 1 at a time. It works.

So, now we have a system that works! What do we do with it? We fill it with things that are contagious!

What do we end up with? An anti-homeless machine that takes homeless people off the streets and also manufactures contagious feelings. This is the worst fear of homelessness. Homelessness will not like this fight. LOL!

So now you say "Homelessrob, that sounds OK, but...!" and start looking for whatever reason you can find for this to not make sense, right!

My friend Brian almost did that. God bless him! The first thing he started looking at was the numbers. So here, let me break this down for you.

Let's say you live here with me in Tampa, FL. It is said there are about 7,000 homeless people here.
WOW, one person at a time is going to take a long time. Not worth it, right?

One thing about my friend John and his "one at a time" system is that I wish he had 2 other people to help him. A team of 3.

Let's do some math. Let's say you have a group of 30 people that want to help the homeless and are willing to not just do their best but maybe go just a little bit past that (self-suffer, this is going to take work). You break this group of 30 into small teams of 3 people each.

Now you have 10 groups of 3 people each.

Divide 7,000 by 10 and each group will have 700 homeless people to help off the streets.

At the same rate that my friend works it would take somewhere about 12 years to get all the homeless people off the streets. 

Believe me its almost just as hard to convince you!

But right now you are not considering "things that are contagious" and how that spreads! You have to look past the numbers for a second and consider the "snowball effect".

You see, when you have a group of 30 people that are doing something that WORKS and SPREADS love you have to understand that people will want to be a part of that. It won't take long before that small group of 30 people turns into 50, then 80, then 100, then 150, then 200, then......and so on and so on.

Let's look at it with some new numbers!

Let's say you start with a group of 500 people. Split that into groups of 3 each.

Now you have about 166 groups

Now that's only 42 homeless people that each group has to take care of.

At the "rate of John" it would take less than 1 year to get all the homeless people here in Tampa off the streets.

Far less than 1 year!

It works!

Now you're thinking "Homelessrob, that all great! It sounds good.....BUT! Where are we going to find 500 people to get that notion going?"

Once again, you forget that this is a contagious system. You will not start with 500 people. You will start with 3. But you will end up with 500 people. I can promise you that there are 500 people here in Tampa who would LOVE to be a part of a system that is literally tossing homeless people off the streets and spreading love.
You don't have to start big. You just have to start.

Let's say I'm right and a group of 3 people set out to put together such a project. In the first year that group of 3 turns into a group of 100. You can see that! You can consider that I'm sure. 

that's 212 homeless people a group.

That group of 100 people can stop homelessness within 3 years here in Tampa.

Now, I know that you're still thinking about the numbers. I know you are still looking at the time frame. I know you are still looking for any "but" that you can find. That's OK. Just know this: I know for a fact that I'm right! I know because I have seen it. I just haven't seen it put together in quite the way I'm explaining to you.

Let's say my friend John had another 2 people helping him! More would follow (if they haven't started already). And let's say before long John finds himself with MANY people following his lead. At the rate that he is going he is not just putting nicks into homelessness, he is putting dents into homelessness. Frankly, that's what we need.

A system that works and at the same time spreads contagious things.

I made all this up in my tent! But to me it makes sense. It makes perfect sense. I have seen a few things that work "sort of" like this over the years. And to me those things have all had a few things in common. First, the system worked better than most. There always seemed to be a higher rate of success than anything else. Second, they had great support. People caught on and pitched in to help. Last, they were one of a kind. They were not groups that were common to see.

One thing I like about this thought is that because its a "one at a time" system no group is biting off more than they can chew at a time. I think that is one thing that held back these groups so much. That's why John is so effective. He isn't trying to stop homelessness. He is just doing his part "one at a time". He never stopped and said "but". He just does it. And because of that 12 homeless people have made it off the streets. That's more than I have seen entire groups do. Shelters don't take ANY homeless people off the streets.


Well, I don't know if any of this is considerable to you. This might be my most far fetched post yet. I'm simply posting it because I haven't seen an idea like this quite in this manner. There is a lot I'm leaving out of course. Like for example, what the role of each group should be. I'll toss that part in for you real quick.

Each group of 3 should have two main focus points. 1) begin to get that homeless person UNCOMFORTABLE with homelessness first (it is only at this point that the work can begin).
2) to begin working on the things that will get a person off the streets (drug addiction, help with finding a job, help with finding state help, help with finding a place to live, help with family issues, help with I.D). Remember not every homeless person needs that much help. John got one homeless person off the streets with a single phone call to a loved one. That was it.

All together, each group should be NO MORE than a "buddy system" that's willing to go the extra mile. Not a group of people that will let a homeless person live on their couch while they "work things out". It's this "buddy system" that will create all the things that are contagious and keep the cause in full growth.

"Homelessness is not contagious! Love is!"

I made that up! But if you find any truth in it then you must consider that everything else I say is also true.

And If its all true then you also have to consider this to be true as well:
"we can beat homelessness, we can fix this problem!"

If you like my blog please visit and like my new Facebook Page:
and see the cool things I'm doing now!

Saturday, December 10, 2011

Day - 80 Retweet This, Homeless Haters !

So, I'm checking things out! Reading up on some tweets about my favorite topic - homelessness of course - when I found myself going deeper and deeper down the list. I have to tell you some of the things I hear are stunning, but for the most part I expected to see quite a bit more of it. You (my reader) have probably heard most of this as it is. I'm not going to do this post to bash the homeless haters or to get you mad. Just know that as I was going down the long list of tweets my brain went from "I wonder what people think" to "why do people think this??" When I was finished I came to a few conclusions -  just a few!

Here, let me show you some of the tweets I saw. Also I will not be posting these people's names, (lucky them):

- "I never give money to homeless people. I can't reward failure in good conscience."
I can't tell you how many times I saw this one. Honestly, I think its funny that these people fail to form an opinion of their own.

- "Do you look homeless today?"
Homelessness is a form of fashion!

- "I sound homeless! I'm cold and hungry lol"
Note to myself: Homelessness is a sound! That's going to be a have to be blog post!

- "Homeless people can't ever chill"
LOL, PLEASE! I'm super chill, you have no idea!

-"Omg, The Homeless Man Is Sitting Next To Me. 911 On Speed Dial . Just In Case"
I actually have no comment for this one, sorry!

- "Since when do homeless people have cell phones!!"
I've heard questions like this a lot. I love how people assume that because one is homeless they simply shouldn't have things.

- " I wonder if homeless people say "man did you wake up on the wrong side of the bridge this morning?" when they're being grumpy."
I actually wanted to respond to this one but saying "I bet you wake up on the wrong side of a homeless person this morning, to write a statement like that". HHHHH, But I didn't because I'm trying to be a better person.

- "my dad threw a 20 at a homeless guy and said her, bro that should get ya a couple grams "
LOL, this one KILLS me for several reasions!

-" I'd rather use my money to penny sting the homeless than vote for an #XFactor winner."
Penny sting me and you'll be using your money for a good size hospital bill!

- "Oh my god there's a homeless person coming by my car.."
Hey, that could happen when you drive by a soup-kitchen! Its time to move on with life!

-" I wonder what goes through a homeless person's mind"
I actually did respond to this guy:
" IDK! Maybe "I would probably like to someday NOT be homeless"! Could that be?"
His response to that was:
"obviously that"

- "I look pretty good for going to school. I mean I don't look presentable but I'm not lookin homeless"
I have to admit that when I responded to this one I was pretty rude!
Me: "LOL, that's funny because the odds are that after you leave school you will be homeless..........look pretty good! sweetcheeks!"
THAT WAS SO RUDE!!!! But thankfully her response was
" lol"
She never got it!

- "the homeless should pay a 25 cent park bench fee as rent"
People, don't get mad if you start seeing homeless people sleeping under park bunches now!

- "This Starbucks smells like holiday Xmas cheer and a homeless person"
I love this one! Finally, a reference to the smell of homelessness that's GOOD! Check one for the homeless people! THANKS MAN!

- "A homeless lady walks in my office tries breaking my fax machine & attempts to stab me with a pen when I tell her to leave.."
I don't know how true this post is, but I'm willing to bet this girl works in a welfare office!

- "Just invited a homeless guy into my place to play x box with me. He is currently walking away with my mattress"
Thanks for letting us all know who sucks a "Madden"! Invite me over to play if you want to loose your dresser!

- " That awkward moment when you drop a coin in front of a homeless person"
I see this one a lot! All I can feel is sorry for you! Honestly, any man that posts about how awkward he feels about things that are that "small in amount" ......well I'll let you think that one over!

- "#46 on my #bucket list - change a homeless person's life, or at least get give them 7 bucks"
Man, if you come up to me talking about how you want to give me 7 bucks or "change my life" so you can check off a bucket list number, you might not make it to see # 47!!

- "Homeless people wouldn't be half as poor if they didn't waste all of their money on sharpies and cardboard."
He might have a point! In this economy that is sort of a catch 22 if you ask me.

Now, here is a guy from Facebook that I found! So you know the story: Here in Tampa, Fl there was a recent ban on panhandling - something this man is for. I do want to post his name!

- "my area has been "scum" free now. If they do come back I don't have a problem calling the police or the mayor."
another by him:
- "both my wife and I have been to intersection of hillsborough & 56. They are working it. They also run fast and ditch their signs at the mall Denny's. Like roaches, but with no vests."
and another (YES, this guy is my favorite hater):
"stores pay taxes, lots of them, have inspections, health codes, collect sales tax, employ people, and are a benefit to the community. What do panhandlers/hawkers in the streets bring to our community - crime, don't pay taxes, cheat welfare, rob stores of customers so stores have to lay off employees, don't collect taxes, don't have licenses, don't pass health codes, and when injured will sue not only the driver, but the city too. Our city council and lawyers are morons"

Here is one from one of his responders:
- "That panhandler may also be a sexual predator, murderer, or wanted. I'd like to get the scum off our streets".

OK, so lets face it. We have heard it all before!

If you are wondering WHO most of these people are I can tell you this:
Most of them were young. Its true. Also, It never really seemed to me (as I browsed about their profile) that they really know how dumb it was to say. I read one where a kid said something like this "Don't know which to cut.... my beard or my hair.... don't want to look homeless"! When I saw that and looked at his picture all I could think was that this kid wasn't man enough to sprout a single pubic hair, let alone say a word he had no understanding about.

It seemed to me simply that there were a bunch of little kids and ye,s even a bunch of "adults" tweeting about something they know nothing about. They did it simply to appear "cool" and just don't seen to understand that they are really embarrassing themselves.
I Also noticed that there were lots of "look homeless" comments out there.

Example "GIRL, you look homeless this morning"
Almost as if the word "homelessness" has turned into just some soft of everyday lingo.

NOW, Thankfully I was right about one thing. I was right when I said this:


For every tweet I saw that was dumb I saw 100 tweets that sounded like this:

- " I hate seeing homeless people"
Very nice girl!

- "serving homeless people is the most eye opening experience of my life. Changing my perspective of things, right now".
I liked that one a lot!

- "There are people much less fortunate than us--that doesn't mean they have to be hungry or homeless either"
Very bright kid here!

- " It's sad how ppl have gone to war, returned home & end up homeless: 

- " I don't think ppl should wait for the holidays to give back to those in need.. every chance I get, I buy a homeless person a meal.."
This one here is going to do great things someday. HECK, She probably already is!

- "Homeless ministry tonight! #givingback always gives me a great feeling."
With this girl's attitude she will never feel bad!

- "I disagree. Just cuz they are homeless they don't have to be stupid. They have real struggles & most are trying to live better."
LOL, A young man after my own heart!

- " Today is gonna be an awesome day .... goin 2 pass out clothes 2 the homeless for the winter !! :)"
This boy knows what makes a good day!

- "But I wouldn't even make it in time. Imma just go feed the homeless and hand out my coats next weekend or something idk.."
See.... people do go out of their way to help!

- "Looking for a homeless shelter so I can drop all this left over food off!"
LOL, this one made me mad, I wont be at that shelter!

- "at a homeless shelter folding clothes & stuff. giving back :) I'm beyond grateful for the life i live after seeing this"
Believe me......we are grateful for you!

- " At the end of the day I'm gonna help someway, somehow..."
This girl is actually fighting "not helping"! She has her sights set. She will win!

And the one I liked the most:

" Homeless people are such a pleasure."
I checked...... she wasn't being sarcastic, she meant it!

I think its important to note here that MOST of these post were younger people.

To them I'd just like to say:
Thank you for all you do! You guys are COOL!
and God bless you!

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Thursday, December 8, 2011

Day - 78 Homelessrob is Hungry!

Hunger....... what a problem, Isn't it? Doesn't it seen to just add to the problems? In fact doesn't it seem like hunger is a large portion of the problems when it comes to homelessness and poverty? It's one thing to be homeless and its another to be homeless and hungry.

Hey, you don't even need to be homeless to be hungry. I see plenty of people - well dressed people - standing in the food bank lines, loading up their mini vans. Don't worry, if you are that person I'm not going to go after you. I'm not going to judge you. I understand, sometimes to keep your home you have to find ways to cut costs. I get it! The price of food seems to go up at the same rate of gas. The truth is, if I had my life back you might find me in that same line. I cant blame anyone for getting help in any way they need in these days. As long as you need it and are not just taking advantage. I don't think you are taking away from me. I'm a grown up homelessman. Feed your kids!

Last night I wondered, why do we get hungry? The logical answer is because to run our bodies we need fuel (nutrition). When we run out of food, hunger is our body's way of saying "we need to replenish".

But still, doesn't it seem to be such a bad deal for us as humans? I mean WHY? Why couldn't God just give us solar powered bodies or something? Or better yet, a body that simply never starves. A body that simply replenishes itself, and never feels hunger at all. This thought probably conflicts with how we die. As we get older our bodies break down, then the day comes. But God could have done something about that too. Its almost like he added hunger into the mix for a reason. I think he did!

(this is the first time I have ever dropped scripture in my blog)

Proverbs 25:21 says : "If your enemies are hungry, give them food to eat. If they are thirsty, give them water to drink".

Here God tells us to be compassionate towards our enemies! And to use food to do so!

Matthew 25:35 says:  "For I was hungry and you fed me. I was thirsty, and you gave me a drink".
It actually goes on, and I like this part:
"I was a stranger and you invited me into your home".
I'll add that part because it seems relevant.

Romans 13: 20 says: "If your enemies are hungry, feed them. If they are thirsty, give them something to drink. In doing this, you will heap burning coals of shame on their heads".

Here God shows us how that we can use hunger in a way that will shame our enemies. Here hunger is a problem that becomes a solution. Food will end wars! How can you hate me when I just fed you? How can you strike me down when I'm bring you up? How can you kill me when I kept you alive? I know you are probably thinking about the Pilgrims and Indians right now! That was a messed up situation and I believe that on a wider scale of things this is a concept that runs correct.

I am Homelessrob,  but why am I even your enemy in the first place? What did any homeless person ever do to you that made you look down on them so much? If you see me in the streets why would you NOT check in on me and make sure I'm not starving?

In the Bible it is sometimes hard to separate the hunger that we feel in our guts every day to the hunger that we feel when it comes to God's love. You might be hungry in one manner and not the other.

I just had a Big Mac, but I'm hungry for Gods love.

So, where does this leave us! With a motion that God is telling us that hunger (despite what we typically think about it) can be used for a greater good.

Because of hunger we have an opportunity so show compassion. We have an opportunity to show humility and to also be toward humble others. We have a way to demonstrate friendship, caring, and love to and for each other.

If you have never wanted for anything and find yourself on the streets starving next to me I might not have food to give you, because I am poor, but I'll point you in the right direction. If I can't do that for you, I'll hold your "I'm hungry, Please help" up, if you can't. If that doesn't work, I'll beg it out of someone for you, in my own name if need be. I'm Homelessrob, but I'm not your enemy!

God also tells us to be hungry....... for Him! God tells us over, and over, and over again that our hunger for Him is important because it will bring us closer to him. Stay hungry in this manner, in fact! Stay hungry for Him and one day you will NEVER, in any manner, be hungry!

Sometimes I get upset when I hear someone say "our government only helps other countries". Are those countries hungry? For those people I'd just like to ask: At what point BEFORE your BIRTH were you asked "what country would you like to be born in"? Some people are born into hunger.

Food is an international symbol of caring, hope, happiness, compassion, and love!

I read a tweet the other day where a woman said "I was at the bus stop craving the bagel in my pocket. I couldn't eat it because the man next to me was homeless and I didn't want to feel bad". Before we judge her and say "feed him the bagel", I don't know her.... I just read the tweet, maybe that bagel was all she had to eat. Maybe she wasn't homeless but still hungry. I don't know! I just want you (my reader) to know that if you find yourself in that position and you have the means..... break that bread.... share that meal...because its not just a bite to eat that you gave that person..... it was also love.

I want to church for my Thanksgiving dinner. It was AWESOME! They had over 100 people. There was enough food for everyone to have a few plates and leftovers. I had 1 pretty big plate and shortly after I had another smaller plate. I was fool! I couldn't eat anymore.

I was sitting next to another homelessman (we tend to sit together) and towards the end of the event he was scraping his plate clean. He rubbed his full stomach, put his fork on it, looked at me and said "this was an amazing dinner, I'm stuffed, the only problem is, in about 4 hours from now, I'll be hungry".

When I think about that statement I think:

It sucks because people sometimes have to feel hungry and I wish to God that we never had to! I wish to God hunger would just end. But thankfully, God gave a way for us to remind ourselves, every 4 hours, to love each other!

People, PLEASE! Go to your cabnets! Look in your fridge! Find a church, food bank or soup kitchen. AND GIVE LOVE.

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Monday, December 5, 2011

Day - 75 The Sun Shines On Homelessrob

When it came to Huntington Beach, CA I basically crash landed there. I was broke, worn out, washed up, and a complete mess. I also knew that I was going to be there for a very long time. I arrived there in the morning, spent the day walking around looking into things and trying to not look homeless. Basically....settling in! By the time the sun started to go down I knew I was in big trouble. I had nothing and knew no one. To make matters worse I had no where to sleep.

It was a Friday night, and the party scene went well into the night. It was around 11: 00 before I decided to simply take up a bench. I found one that was sort of out of the way. One that wasn't in direct traffic to where I felt people would be coming and going after the bars closed. I sat down and waited about an hour. It was probably about 1:00 am before I layed down and began to try to get some sleep. I figured I'd be up before the sun came up and I also thought that I wouldn't be seen by many people in the dark. I didn't feel safe, but I felt as safe as I was going to feel that night.

It was a long night. The bench was not comfortable and it was cold. The bench was short (I'm 6 feet tall) and I couldn't tell you what the temperature was but this was early Feb and I was next to the open ocean. It was cold. This bench was practically on the beach.

Early in the morning I pulled my jacket up over my chest and head. I pulled the sleeves inside it and tucked in. It worked (for the most part) and I finally dozed off.

I think what woke me up was the thought in my head that said "you over slept, you're late". I think we all wake up like that from time to time and I think that's how I woke up that morning..... in a startle. I quickly pulled my head out of my jacket only to find sunlight! Everywhere! I knew right way that I had slept well into the morning. There wasn't a shadow in sight.

The second thing I noticed was that I was surrounded by people. My heart double pumped and my brain went straight into panic mode. All I could think was "these people have all been watching me sleep! Now, these people are all watching me wake up! Everyone is looking at me". I got up and walked off.

As I walked away I stayed in panic. I also couldn't help having these other feelings either! I felt humiliated, mad, small, exposed, and I also felt a lot of shame. The worst part was that I had no one to blame but myself. To this day I feel like I left a piece of me on that bench. And I chalked it all up to this: homelessness got the best of me!

I think about this a lot! Sleeping is something that is usually done in private. How would you feel if you woke up from a good nights rest to find that hundreds of people have been walking around in your room watching you sleep? I don't think you would like it too much. For the record, I never blamed the people for any of this. This was between me and homelessness.

I'd like to say that this experience made me stronger or wiser. But for the life of me I can never seem to turn it into something that sounds better. It wasn't a learning experience. I mean, what could I have learned? How to sleep in open places? It did make me more street smart, I will admit that. After I calmed down that day I told myself I would never wake up like that again. That's when I started to learned about finding "spots". How to find spot that is safe and secluded. How to find spots where I didn't have to worry about being found or seen. How to scope them out first and how to treat them when I find them. I can't say I learned too much more than that.

That was years ago. Since then, I have learned a lot about homelessness. I have learned that one thing homelessness likes to do is chip away at people. Why? So that that a homeless person will become weak, then comfortable. Homelessness wants to chip away little bits at a time until that homeless person feels so comfortable that the thought of a normal life is UNCOMFORTABLE.

I'll give you an example:
A man becomes homeless and findes its hard to take showers. He does his best, but as time goes on, it becomes harder and harder to maintain himself. After awhile, the man begins to smell. Then the man notices the people around him - he hears them begin to make comments about him. They begin to start moving away from him. They say things to him and hold their nose when they walk past him,(sort of their way of telling him he stinks without telling him he stinks). Now, after awhile the homeless person becomes used to it. After enough time, he becomes comfortable with it! All of a sudden, taking a shower is UNCOMFORTABLE! This is why a lot of times you will find that a homeless person won't take a shower even if its right in front of him. And its this same concept that makes it so easy for homeless people to sleep just about anywhere they see fit. They are simply comfortable with it!

I propose that any "homeless recovery system" must consider the convertibility factor. Making a homeless person feel uncomfortable with homelessness and again comfortable with a normal life might even be harder then when that person became uncomfortable with a normal life because of homelessness in the first place.

If you take a homeless person that has been out on the streets for 8 years and put him in his own place you might consider that as a blessing (I DO), but although he might say its a blessing, he actually feels like its a pure nightmare.

I'm not saying I'm right about this. This is simply just my opinion based off my experiences and observations.

I can tell you one thing: in regards to this problem, I do believe there is an easy process to overcome it. But I'll save that for another post.

I just ask you consider what I'm saying here. Don't you think there is a possibility that a person can become homeless and become comfortable with that? If the answer is "yes" then you must conclude that that's a problem and that any strategy you use to help a homelessperson come off the streets must include steps that address that portion of the problem.

I try my best to stay away from becoming comfortable with homelessness. But I have to tell you that every once in awhile when I wake up in the morning, and before I open my eyes, I say to myself:
"Please God, don't let there be a crowd of people around me!"
"Please God, don't let the sun be up!"

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Sunday, December 4, 2011

Day - 74 God Provides For Homelessrob

So, I'm sitting in church (the same one God was specific and adamant about me going to), minding my own business when God provided. God only told me to go. God said "go, learn, and wait". Nothing else. So I'm sitting there and a woman walks over to me. She said she wanted me to hang out after Church with her. She said she had to run home to pick up something she had for me that she forgot. I said sure! A little while after that another woman walked over and passed me a card. Turns out that the card (which was very nice) had $20 in it. Also, the "thing" that the woman had for me was a BIBLE! LOL, AWESOME! The Bible also had $5 in it.

I do not know why this happened. I did not ask for anything. Heck, for that matter I really haven't talked to anyone past a "HI, my name is Rob" sort of thing. They haven't asked me the questions that I felt I was going to be bombarded on me either, (thank God for that, I have to give them credit for that! Nice Church!) I think that is in part because I went to the Thanksgiving Day dinner they had for the homeless. I figured that if I want, they would just know I'm homeless and that would solve that problem. Just thought it was smart to do; plus the dinner was AMAZING!

A Bible and $25 was not in the works. I mean, I just blogged that I needed a Bible yesterday, and today it falls in my lap. All I can do is contribute this to at least one point that I consistently try to make when it comes to homelessness: God will provide. You just have to have faith. You might not be provided for in the way you want, but you will be provided in such a way that you can survive.

Like I said once before: I once went months without a single penny, yet not once did I go hungry. This is also the same point I hope to demonstrate while I'm walking. I don't know what will happen but I have no fear or doubts that God will be walking with me. God will provide as he sees fit. It is in this trust in Him that I will survive, and hopefully, bring lots of people to Him in the process, or at least plant some seeds.

This woman with the Bible has no idea what I'm going to do with it as far as my plan. She has no idea that before I'm done, hundreds, maybe thousands, of people will be touched by this single Book. I wanted to tell her. I wanted her to know what it meant to me and what I hope it will mean to lots of other people. But I couldn't. It was hard enough to keep myself composed and not start crying. I think she felt the same way. Somethings are probably better left unsaid.

The woman with the card and the $20 - the thing about her was that I can't even remember what she looked like. She swept in and out so fast I hardly got a look at her, let alone a chance to say "Thank You". I might walk by her several times and not know it was her. Maybe that's for the best though. Maybe somethings are better left alone. I have a feeling that walking up to her and saying "Thank You" might somehow "taint" the good feelings she is having right now. I don't want to do that.

SO, now the big questions is what do I do with the money -$25? I have a few options here as this is the first money ever donated to me.

Option 1: Spend it on me! A case of beer maybe, or maybe a bunch of cigarettes. Maybe some drugs! Anything that is frivolous and adds to the regular stereotypes that come along with being homeless.

Option 2: Do something that plays a part in the upcoming walk I'm about to take. I have a list for that after all. I should probably start working on it ASAP! I wouldn't feel bad for spending $25 on something to do with that because I feel that's going to a good cause. Well, it is!

Option 3: Spread it around. I could take it and maybe do something that will help someone else out. Like some of my friends on FB and Twitter. People I admire! People I look up to because I know they would make this $25 count. Maybe get some socks to give away. Carryfuller always does the hand warmers. I don't think anyone here in Tampa, FL will need those though (I don't think it gets that cold here, I surly don't need them). Maybe a few DD gift cards would work out. I could get 5 of them. Then at least 5 homeless people could come in on the cold days and get a coffee and little snack.

LOL, I'm trying to write this but there is this beautiful girl sitting a few tables down from me. She keeps looking at me with "the eye". LOL, ya, I know what that is!

I could never talk to her. I'm not good at things like that. Now, I have had girlfriends, don't get me wrong. I have even had some awesome girlfriends, but in the end it never works out. I always hear at the end, "Rob, you're a really nice guy, but you and I are just going in different directions". Usually that means "Rob, even though you are not homeless - any more - you walk a line too close to it for my taste". I've done it a few times. When, on that rare occasion when a girl is looking at me, I usually feel little anyways. I think that has to do with being homeless. So, I don't even bother! She could never have my back in the hard times. That's just the way it is! I can't blame her - what woman wants to be taken care of by a man that can't take care of himself! I can't blame them. I just have learned that while I'm dealing with this homeless mess girls are out of the question and a distraction.

SO..... moving on!

Back to the money! Option 1 is out of the question. I wouldn't act like that if it was my own money and earned it on my own. I'm sure as heck not going to do it with something someone gave me out of kindness. So option one is never going to happen. And the homeless haters can find something else to hate about me.

That leaves options 2 and 3: I do need my O.P. box pretty badly. That's been an ongoing problem and that would open a lot of doors for me. However, $25 could get me a LOT of socks to go around. Homeless people LOOOOVE socks. A DD card or Mc.D food card would be cool also. With a Mc.D card you could probably get 2 or 3 McDoubles and a medium drink which would make a pretty good meal.

I do need a new pair of  shoes and  I could get some now if I toss in an extra 5 or 10 dollars. I'll need a good pair of walkers for this walk. But I can do that later. Lets see, I think I'm going to help some homeless people with it today. I already have one thing that contributes to the walk today (the Bible). So, lets go with some socks and a few food cards from Mc.Ds . That sounds good! Lets see what I can do. Maybe I'll swing into the Home Depot on my way and see if I can find anything else that might work.

Either way, God provided!

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Saturday, December 3, 2011

Day- 73 Back To The Homeless Story

After all that's what I invited you all here for anyways. Simply, to entertain you! Nothing more! Every story has a beginning, middle, and an end. The wait around to see how my story ends (good or bad) should be more than enough to keep you entertained. Currently, I am stuck somewhere between the beginning and the middle. Since I'm basically standing around waiting to get things going I simply felt I had time to fill in the gap. That's why I vear off sometimes, offering my opinions, thoughts, and scattered wonders. All you ever need to know about that stuff is that I'm probably hardly EVER right and also you (my readers) have the power to change my opinions because I'm always down for a good conversation. 

Since the beginning of this little trip some things have changed (but not much). One thing that has changed is that I'm defiantly bringing much more of a religious tone. I think I even remember writing about how I wasn't going to do that because you (my readers) were not here for that. So, I'm sorry for that change, but I don't care! God is relevant to homelessness and to me.

The other change I made was in my plan altogether. I haven't really talked too much about the walk I'm planning because I wanted a little time to think it all over first.

Other than that, not much has changed. I'm still in the tent. I'm still working day-labor. I'm still barley getting by. What I'm waiting on now is to get some stuff done before I set out. There is some mail that my mom is holding on to for me and as soon as I have that I'll be in much better shape. Part of that mail also includes a video camera that a friend sent to me. I'll be recording virtually all of my walk. So, I got some mail coming. I'm also keeping my eyes pealed for a Bible. That's a must have! I could use some new walking shoes...... I'll figure that out before I go. That shouldn't be too hard for me to do. 

The biggest worry that I have right this very second is that I still have not been able to make a single cross. This kills me. I spent a lot of time going nowhere on that little bit of work. I do feel its a must have. How am I ever going to leave homeless people behind without some hope? I have no idea. I also need the crosses to make some money along the way. If I had made them a month ago I would have had at least a few hundred by now. That would be more than enough to get me on my way. So, I'm still stuck on that. I'm just gonna have to leave that on up to the man. 

So, I'm waiting on a few things, then I walk! Across America! From Tampa, FL going west to California. Then up the coast to Seattle. Then I zig-zag my way west through every state until I hit Randolph, VT where my kids are. Its at that point this story will end.

So, please! Bear with me while I continue to blog all my little crazy thoughts - it's my way of filling in the down time before I get going on the middle of the story.

It's just a story..... I must entertain you somehow!

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Friday, December 2, 2011

Day - 72 Welcome To Homelessness! Now, Carry Your Own Bags!

I once heard someone say that a lot of suicides were usually accidents. Like, someone was on a building talking about jumping when his hand slipped off the railing. I can see some truth in that. I can also equate it to homelessness. When you tempt fate sometimes fate finds you.

There is no shortage of people out there that think homelessness is "cool" and would "like to try it". Some of these people I think get a little confused! They say they want to be homeless but what they really mean is that they want to be hard core campers or a "hobo" (ta raveling homeless person). Some people want to become homeless to escape the government, sort of go "under the radar".  Some people want to go homeless because they think it might be a temporary fix to a specific problem (maybe debt), and they think that by sort of volunteering to go homeless it will somehow be easier. 

I'll give you an example (this is a real story):
A woman was down on her luck and times were hard. She was pretty much broke and was being evicted. She decided to rough it out in her van for one year while she saved money and got her problems dealt with. She had a job and looked at the experience like it would simply be a "camping trip". She moved into the van, and did OK far awhile. She did everything on her own and needed no help from anyone. Then she lost her job, rendering her completely homeless and in very bad shape.

It is one thing to fall into it and go down fighting. Its another to walk into it and introduce yourself as a friend.

Homelessness is what I call a "blood sucking abyss".  Tempting homelessness will often end you up homeless. You're basically playing chicken on the tracks and with untied shoes. Unless you want to find yourself  REALLY homeless I wouldn't go around poking it with a stick. Homeless is not a "quick fix solution". Homelessness will see you. Homelessness will open the door for you. Homelessness will say to you "Hey, you don't plan on staying long? LOL, that's OK! Here, why don't I show you to your room and let you get settled in". Once there, and believe me when I say this, what ever problems you had that made you want to knock on the door of homelessness....... ARE GOING TO GET MUCH WORSE! Homelessness will say to you "what's that Homelessrob? You would like to get a nap? Sure, thats a great idea! However, we do not have beds here. But hey, feel fee to unfold a mat and take up the floor"; "What's that Homelessrob? You would like to take a shower? Sorry. we don't offer running water here"; "What's that Homelessrob? You are expecting mail? It has money in it that means the world to you? UGH, I I I....  we'll keep an eye out for that"; "Whats that?  the roof to your room is gone? We'll take a look at that for you"; "Whats that Homelessrob? You are hungry? Sorry, but our dinning room is closed. Permanently. However, I might know where you can get a bit.... if you don't mind where it comes from". Its like a trap set by homelessness. I'm not even sure how homelessness knows, but it does. Now, your two week long trip is going to be a two year extended stay in the "house of pure misery".

Homeless does NOT care about you. Homelessness does NOT care about your problems. Homelessness does Not discriminate. Homelessness will NOT help you. Its mike the Mafia, once you're in, getting out might cost you your life.

So, let me give you a little advise (you don't have to take it, but it's recommend that you do): Before you go looking at homelessness as an option for what ever problems you are having PLEASE, PLEASE, PLEASE explore EVERY other option you might have, even if you don't like them. You being on the streets or not might just be the difference between a single phone call . Even if the difference is hard for you to consider, at least think about it very carefully before you hit the streets. 

Some people might be saying..... "Homelessrob, who in their right mind would ever consider homelessness as an option?" I can promise you the answer is "more than you think".

Homelessness has no problems checking you in, and believe me, once you're in you will be carrying your own bags.

Homeless tip (haven't done one in awhile):
Duck tape will work wonders!

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