What it’s Really Like to Be Homeless: From an Educated Woman’s Point of View

I’m whining about water, and then I read this. How far are any of us from being homeless if we lose our income? I saw so many homeless people on my cycling trip in the northwest USA, and those I talked to were a lot like this. Circumstances had knocked them down, and when they were this far down they couldn’t figure out how to get up again. I felt what it was like to be shunned and feared by people you approach. Even worse, this woman talks about also being abandoned by people she thought were friends. The US may be the place to follow your dreams but if your dreams don’t work out, you are on your own.

WarriorsandGhosts

We’ve all been exposed the seemingly growing population of homeless people, wherever we go. From small towns to big cities, they seem to be everywhere now. As we rush off to our jobs or appointments, we see them sleeping on bus benches, wandering around aimlessly on the streets, and panhandling in front of what seems to be every establishment we enter. We’re amazed (and sometimes amused) by how dirty and disheveled a human being can allow themselves to get. We might even be humored by watching someone carry on a lively conversation with themselves, although we are not completely oblivious to the fact that they suffer from a serious mental illness. It’s also not difficult to reason that some of them have an obvious substance abuse problem. They come in all different ages and colors; some are teenagers with purple hair and tattoos, some are old men with decades of…

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About Kris Cunningham

We live in David, Chiriqui Provence, Republic of Panama! This blog is about some of our experiences in our new country.
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14 Responses to What it’s Really Like to Be Homeless: From an Educated Woman’s Point of View

  1. natjtan says:

    I didn’t see it as you were whining about not having water. The way I saw it, you were explaining why at times you have no water and that the water people are kind enough to send a water truck. But I do get where you’re coming from. Many times I have to remind myself not to take what I have for granted.

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  2. I have been close a couple of times in my life, it is a scary feeling to not know what will happen the next day, week, month.

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    • I’m sure we have all hit rough patches. I have too. I think this article really points out that homeless are not all lazy people who don’t want to work, or misfits of some sort, and that any one of us could easily be in their shoes.

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  3. Wow! Holy crap! I’ve had my share of tuff times as a kid growing up. Gina expressed herself very well. Her story needs to be read by everyone.
    She sounds like survivor…I bet that house gets back up!

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  4. Wow! Holy crap! Gina expressed herself very well. Her story needs to be read by everyone.
    She sounds like a survivor…I bet that horse gets back up!

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    • I hope so! I’ll keep an eye on her blog. Later entries said she was taken in by someone and is now able to look for work, so hopefully she is on her way back up.

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  5. Thanks for re-blogging Warriorsandghosts blog post Kris – powerful post. I hope she finds her way out of the truly terrible circumstances she landed in through no apparent fault of her own. Homelessness in this country is a truly terrifying state. And as you rightly point out, not every homeless person ‘out there’ is lazy or a misfit or something worse. – Wendy

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    • I was really shocked at all the homeless people I met in my travels. I had no idea it was so bad in the US. In Florida we had a few homeless, all mentally ill and people in town knew them and took care of them. But the people I talked to in my travels were all regular people who had fallen on hard times and others I saw didn’t look ill either. Joel went to Maine to see family and said there were homeless everywhere there as well. It seems something could be done for these people, and I don’t understand why the rest of us aren’t all insisting on it. I almost feel pulled to go back and get involved in the effort.

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      • I’ve read recently that there are a couple states (would have to look it up) who have started the “Housing First ” initiative in response to the homeless – first get them off the streets and into decent apartments, an then try to address their problems. I hear there’s been a level of unexpected success.

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        • http://www.endhomelessness.org/pages/housing_first – looks like it was started in 2006. 10 years in the running and not much success?

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        • I read something… Utah, I think it was, put people in housing and found it actually cost less than having them on the streets with the associated emergency medical care, police involvement, etc. I also saw something about a community of tiny homes, which also had support services for the people. My California daughter says they are going to do this in her area too. She works for the government and they open their very large parking lot to homeless people in cars and RV’s, and it’s so full every night they are looking for more space. Lack of affordable housing is a big factor in the problems there. I know people are trying to help but the problem is far from solved. I got a small taste of the life during my three week bike tour, living in a tent, and being shunned as if I was homeless. It really made me feel for these people.

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          • Yes, Utah was the state I’d read about.
            I remember reading about your experiences with homelessness in your cycling blog, and was very impressed with your courage in undertaking that journey.

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