Homelessness and poverty is such a complicated issue. However, I hope as I embark on this journey to learn more about this facet of society, their stories will be able to help to bring forth the common thread of humanity in all of us - hopes, dreams, life’s challenges and regrets.
My fiance Steve and I befriended a 22 year old on the streets. He dropped out of community college due to alcoholism, cocaine and heroin use. He works in construction in the day but sleeps in the streets at night.
'The first job I had was in construction. The guy sold houses and he also did remodeling. He was telling me how much someone would pay me to do for 10 mins of work and that he’d pay me $1 for it. So he gave me $1.50 for every 10 mins work. I’m being paid like minimum wage coz I’m just learning how to do it. I couldn’t do work where I just sit and sell stuff all day. I like to do work where I see results…physical results. My goal is to eventually work for myself. But it takes time, especially in construction and in real estate. The dream is to have stability and eventually wife and kids you know…
The one thing that being on the streets have taught me is understanding people’s stories… like what you are doing now. I’ve met 60 year old men who shared with me their war stories, crazy s*** like that. The biggest misperception is that people can just change stuff just like immediately. You have to go through stages. Like rehabilitation and drugs. If you are an addict, you are always going to be an addict. Always an addict. If you rehabilitate enough, you are just sober. Even if you get rehab and treatment, you are constantly battling not to do it. Believe it or not, a person who is sober can just slip up and get back to drugs… just like that.
I’m scared you know… I have been on and off the streets for 4 years. There are guys who have stood on the same street corner for 20 f****ing years. I don’t want to end up like that. You can’t help these guys. They have to decide that they wanna help themselves. I got a job now.
It makes me happy that someone actually cares. I’ve been to places where there are people who would spit on me. They wouldn’t even turn their heads away to do that.’