Homelessness is one of the major problems that we are facing as a country. The recent economic crisis has led to increased number of homeless people as more people lose their jobs and default on mortgage increased foreclosures increasing number of homeless people. The number of people seeking refugee in a shelter is on the rise while others prefer to just survive on the street rather than suffer the shame of seeking refugee in a shelter. However, not many of us who understands how it is like to spend days and nights on the street. In order to understand the situation of being homeless and spending days on the street or in a shelter, this study interviewed a homeless person Mr. P (not his real name) to share the experience of being homeless.
Mr. P has been homeless for more than seven years. This may be a surprise to most of us who have never spent a day or a night out in the cold without hope. For most people, it would appear irresponsible not to fix individual life within a period of seven years. However, as Mr. P narrated, his being on the street is not pleasant. It comes with bad experiences for those seven years but it has been a vicious cycle he has not been able to break.
People can become homelessness for many reasons. Homelessness may be caused by society and individual factors and in most cases, these two intersects at different point on the life of a homeless person. These are same reasons that pushed Mr. P to the streets. Mr. P had been living with his brother since he has never owned a house. However, things turned worse for him when his brother was jailed. He was kicked out of the house by his brother's wife and lack of means of employment has made it difficult for him to afford renting a house to stay. This means that his homelessness was contributed by both personal and societal factors because his inability to raise money to pay rent can be considered as a personal level factor while the act of his brother's wife kicking him out of the house illustrate failure by the society to provide for those who do not have.
Days and nights for a homeless person are just nightmares. While we spend peaceful days at our work place or shopping around and our nights sleeping on cozy beds, a homeless person moves from one street to the other looking for a secret place they can hide from the eyes of the public, who are most likely to despise them. As narrated in this interview, Mr. P hates both days and nights. During the day, almost everyone who passes by ignored him. This make him feel like he is transparent and everyone understands that he is homeless. The narrator prefers hiding away from the eyes of the public during the day time but unfortunately, this is the only time he can get spare change from the passers-by which means he has to keep up with both predicaments. He has to put up with nasty looks and being despised so that he can get the spare change. While daytime predicaments are gone with the sun sinking beyond the horizon of tall city buildings, the nighttime predicament comes. It is cold and while he may need to sleep, this is the perfect time for him to look for cans in the trash to sell and get some money for food. However, he has to sleep on the bench rather than be seen wandering around.
The society despise homeless people instead of giving them compassion and the needed help. Mr. P feels that people treat him like he is transparent. Although some will give him spare change, others will pass-by covering their nose. This means that the society is not ready to accommodate homeless people. Due to the predicament on the streets, there are many times he had to take advantage of the shelter to get food although he never fancy the idea of seeking assistance from a home shelter.
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