11. There’s a quote from Sports Night that would be good for people to read. I’m already seeing the “don’t give homeless people money, what if they spend it on ____” sentiments.
Isaac: Danny, every morning I leave an acre and a half of the most beautiful property in New Canaan, get on a train and come to work in a fifty-four story glass high rise. In between I step over bodies to get here – 20, 30, 50 of ’em a day. So, as I’m stepping over them I reach into my pocket and give them whatever I’ve got.
Dan: You’re not afraid they’re gonna spend it on booze?
Isaac: I’m hoping they’re going to spend it on booze. Look, Dan, these people, most of ’em, it’s not like they’re one hot meal away from turning it around. For most of ’em, the clock’s pretty much run out. You’ll be home soon enough. What’s wrong with giving them a little novocaine to get ’em through the night?
12. Definitely letting me shower, giving me new sharp clippers for my toenails(from constantly wearing boots and not having clippers, your nails get really long and start to become really painful), giving me bags of food for my dog, let me bathe my dog. Fresh socks and underwear, doggie sweaters or rain jackets for my dog. Pretty much hygiene for myself, food/treats and warmth for dog face.
13. There’s a guy who I see every time I am leaving my gym. He’s got a shopping cart and all his possessions including a little dog. He holds a sign that says Anything helps, my dog and I appreciate it.
I bought a box of dog biscuits yesterday when I was getting my own cat food and I plan to give it to him today after my workout.
14. Currently homeless, ok and my way to getting in a place.
The one that struck me the most: I was sleeping in my car in the back of a parking lot about a week after I lost my place. About 6:30 am security knocks on my window. “Sorry, lady, I can’t let you stay here,” the usual. I apologized and told him I’d be out of hi is hair in a few minutes. So I got up and was packing my blanket and pillow into the trunk when he came back and handed me $5, told me to go get a coffee. I pride myself on the fact that I’m working, not begging, he’s the only person who has handed me money. It was one of the most touching things that have ever happened to me. I sat in my car and ugly cried for about ten minutes, then went and got myself that coffee.
The biggest thing someone did for me, however, was a complete stranger covering the cost of my storage unit for a month. I’m in there almost every day, clean clothes and all that. She does eBay or something similar, we’ve run into each other a couple of times a week since I became homeless. She picked up on the fact that I was leaving in different clothes then I had to come in and asked about my situation. I’ll admit, I was a little defensive, but honest. Stopped seeing her around after that, not sure if she moved or changed her routine or what. Come the end of the month I go into the office to pay my bill and am told that it’s been covered. I wish I could thank her.
15. I’m homeless currently living in a motel, have been homeless for 4 years as of this month. We need ways to clear our names so we can actually move into places.. my mom got evicted from our apartment after getting laid off and now we can’t move in anywhere half decent anymore. Only motels and living with other people. Also, stability is really nice but almost impossible to come by for more than a few months.
The nicest thing was an old couple taking in me and my mom for 3 months, some really great people and I’ll always appreciate them.
16. 15 years ago the most crucial things we needed were impossible like a mailing address, phone number, toilet, and water. We’d keep a payphone under watch for those who’d get calls. Trying to get a job, housing, anything. The basics are hard. Now phones are cheap. But water and toilet are still reall needs. Addresses are still tricky but easier as we rely on a location less and digital info more. Public transportation is still ridiculous. You have to spend a day or two convincing the system you need it free, otherwise, you’ll be out what little you can make in a 3 transit path.
17. I work in downtown and see these guys in a park every morning sleeping on the grass. Would it be weird if just brought them breakfast one day? I feel bad and have never spoken to them but I bet they will be there tomorrow morning.
18. Somewhere to sleep, without sleep, nothing works right.
19. For me it was socks.
Shoes too. But the simplest thing about socks made me feel better about myself. When it was cold I could pull out a pair or four to use on my feet or hands.
20. I was a street kid. From 13 to 18 I coasted around on my own. As you can imagine it was a pretty rough ride. I don’t remember an awful lot of it, but a few people stand out even now. I think the only thing they have in common is that they saw me. It’s amazing how invisible you feel on the street. People steer their children away from you, avert their gaze, pretend you’re invisible. It gets to you.
I vividly remember this one woman. Immaculately dressed, gorgeous Eastern European woman. Around 40. I was panhandling and she walked right up to me and asked me to eat with her. We sat on patio smoking cigarettes, snacking, drinking coffee. She asked me questions about myself like she really cared. And she listened. Didn’t offer miracle solutions or pity. Just fed me lunch and listened. I remember her face 15 years later. It’s why now, in my reincarnation as a soccer mom, I teach my children to always acknowledge when it’s safe to do so. You don’t always need to give. But a smile, or a “how are you?” goes an incredibly long way.
21. I left an abusive relationship and, turns out, he was right. I had nowhere to go. I slept under a train and shoplifted what few basics I couldn’t go without (which, frankly, I still don’t regret.) and got a job at a Burger King.
I mean, being homeless and all meant that my hygiene was horrible. Cut off all my hair to hide it but there’s a certain point where you can’t anymore. One of my managers pulled me aside and asked me what was up. She called out, sweetly as she could, the red flags she’d seen. My self-harm scars, my hygiene, the breakdown I had when my ex came through the drive-through, and I’m pretty sure she already knew what was up, at least somewhat.
She started scheduling all of our shifts to overlap and taking me home with her, not far from my nest spot, so I could shower and eat dinner with her and her kid. Kinda just took me in as best she could.
The shower was nice, so was the food. But the experience of someone giving a sh*t was what helped, quite honestly. Be kind.
22. Official identification, all the homeless people I speak to have a hard time getting a state ID.
23. Aged out of foster care no where to go but a squat house I was what Utah folks called a planter box kid, spent a year doing any job and every job I possibly could to get out of it then I joined the Army, spent 4 years as a soldier and failed a marriage which meant when I got a medical discharge after my deployment I was homeless again, spent a little while in a veteran group home but they only give you 90 days to get a place and get out, my disability pay wasn’t enough for rent but I went to a day labor and stood with the Mexicans at home depot for odd jobs, finally my best friend offered me to move back home to Texas and work as a ranch hand for her dad so I moved to back to Texas she became a huge advocate for me with the VA and now I run a ranch, am off all my pain/psychoactive drugs and haven’t been drunk in 3 years…
Oh and now my best friend is my wife, we have 4 kids.
24. Not the homeless man, but this is what a homeless man said to me.
I had gone to a cafe and gotten myself a donut and frappuccino. I enjoyed the frappuccino and was left too full for the donut. When I walked out of the café, there was this homeless man begging. I have him the donut and told him to enjoy it. He said, “this is the nicest thing someone did for me this week!”
Please remember. Homeless people are people first and foremost. Talk to them every now and then. Listen to them, share your time, share some food with them. They deserve love just as much as everyone else.
25. My Husband was homeless when I first got together with him. We had been friends for a couple of years before anything happened. I was in another relationship at the time so it started out as helping him with food, place to shower or sleep when I could. But then it turned into more and I left the person I was with moved into a teeny tiny shitty one-room apartment with him. Now almost 4 years later we have a one-year-old son and it was the best decision I ever made.
All in all my Husband says he really just needed love and support while he was in his darkest time. He stopped doing drugs and really turned his life around. It took a lot of hard work but he did it. He tries to credit me constantly but it was all him.