Commentary on Homelessness

This is the response I gave according to a writing and question query and forum.  The first person in the first paragraph is Ducan.  He is 22.  I commented below his story.  This is his story…

In high school, I was the class nerd. I had a 4.0, very rarely missed school, and was generally regarded as likely to get somewhere in life. I was in the high school band, drama club, FCCLA, Future Problem Solvers, and in my Junior year served as class representative on the Student Council.

I came from a relatively poor, dysfunction-ally strict and very religious family. My grandfather was head of the local church. He, and my immediate family, are of a sect of Christianity that demands absolute adherence to its doctrine and the shunning of anyone who does not comply.

I am gay.

After this was found out, I spent over a year being kept inside, told and reminded every day that I was “evil” and “not my son anymore” and “unable to be trusted to have any moral compass whatsoever.”

I dropped out of the online school I had been put into for that year, to get a job.

I did, and on my 18th birthday was wordlessly sent away, after having spent the previous evening saying my final goodbyes to my brother and sister, who I would no longer be able to have contact with. I have not heard from them since.

I stayed in the same town for a while, in a perpetual state of shock and grief that was only marginally improved when I moved to another state.

But I still had no will to live, and very swiftly this led to having no means to live, either.

Soon, winter arrived, and one frigid night with temperatures well below zero, I faced a choice: freeze to death, alone and unremembered, or take methamphetamine and stave off the hypothermia.

Meth is one of the most addicting drugs there are.

After six months of drug use, I hitchhiked to another city and checked into a mental hospital.

I spent a year on anti-psychotics, recuperating as best I could while staying at a Gospel Mission of all places. But after a year of people once again trying to indoctrinate the soul out of me, I ironically managed to find it, along with my will to live.

I am attending college for a Psychology degree now. I have a 3.8 GPA at the moment.

I’ve also started a part-time job, as a cashier at a supermarket.

I’m still staying at a shelter for homeless youth; that hasn’t changed yet. I have no credit history, no rental history, and I don’t make 2x the rent or have a cosigner, so getting into an apartment in this city is virtually impossible, and being a student makes me ineligible for most federally funded forms of housing assistance.

There are some promising leads with a local county program though, at long last, so I won’t be homeless much longer.

But I would like to conclude by saying that the next time you see a homeless person on the streets and feel anger or disgust or whatever negative emotion causes your lack of sympathy, I want you to remember me, and imagine that person as they would have been as a teenager, studying in school, hanging out with friends, all the things you did as a teen. And then, I want you to think of that person’s future as well: what would they look like, cleaned up and studying in college or working at the same job you work at?

And remember, with respect and some assistance, that teenager could become that college student and/or coworker.

With respect and some assistance, that homeless person could become that coworker. The first step is to stop assuming it is their fault. It really isn’t. Even the 20% or so of homeless people who do end up homeless because of poor life choices usually made those choices under duress.

And again, with respect and some assistance, their lives could be turned around. Whether or not you are in any way interested in helping with the assistance end of that, you can (and should) still show respect.

Treat people equally regardless of their housing status.


adult alone boy building
Photo by Pixabay on

The rhetoric in this entire column is strait up and really quite good.

I worked for homeless woman and nothing is sadder than seeing mothers with children, while their husbands are out at night, staying in a shelter for up to 2 years or even more.

What the hell happened to America, home of the free, the rights of dignity and humanity. Some care, some don’t. What in goodness name happened, besides overpopulation, that made this country OK to be homelessness,

I agree with many of the commentators here, but, unfortunately, its true, they get everything for free, and for those who struggle with low self worth, see this as a means to get by, to use the system, to become institutionalized so to speak. Its awfully sad.

Another thing that is awfully sad is the many who do not choose that path, their choices and fears and conflicts helped their situation. They were kicked to the side, no one wanted them, they destroyed there own reputation and even worse is the first person Duncan. However said, pride over prejudice, induced a situation that implemented unresolved financial crisis’s. If I am sounding redundant its because this is serious social problem. We do need to be kind, yet, wary, as some use there homelessness as professionalism induced panhandlers… I know this is true because I met a few in my city besides where I worked. They are covering up a drug addiction and use this as a means to sleep from hotel to hotel and smoke or shoot up whatever.

Sometimes we have absolutely no right to judge, other times its a flip tail in just taking that risk to put a penny in a man’s hat. However, this is real. If we are so bothered by it, we need to fix it. Put your blinders on, let the light shine through with a hunch or insight and help em. They are people too, and you nvr know, it could happen to you. With all that rigidity to conform to our everyday work day. Its a harder, harsher world for them. I would think more people would try to join, establish or contribute to an honest local agency. Salvation Army is half crooked, so we have to be careful of our efforts as well. Its just one of our many social problems we need to be accountable for if it bothers our souls.

In God we Trust…

2 thoughts on “Commentary on Homelessness

  1. Interesting, and troubling. “What happened to America?” I’d say we lost our government sometime in the 1900s when it became controlled by corporate America (corporatism).

    As Salvation Army has always been about my favorite national charity, I’d be curious to know your thoughts behind the statement “Salvation Army is half crooked”?


    1. They do good things, their money is only somewhat good, some of it tied up in politics and schemes. Many donations are stored in a ware house filled from top to bottom, including childrens items and school supplies, that never see a hand or light of day. Its like any company, its rules are crazy strict on the inside, and law needs change, its overall not bad, but, not that good either.


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