by Charles Ford
[dropcap]S[/dropcap]ad. So Sad. I could be one of the people in these photos. Homeless people are part of the population, they are among us. Life is pretty rough when you’re homeless. People often feel desperate, totally hopeless.
Homeless people become more visible when we see them sleeping on the streets, and we walk by them, seeming indifferent. That’s heartbreaking. Of all the places I’ve slept when homeless, a church felt the safest to me.
Homeless people have the burden of carrying their belongings wherever they go; they do not want to lose their things. Carts with their life possessions can be seen throughout town.
Homeless people often walk all day long to eat, be safe, and sleep. It is hard work and necessary. When I was homeless I was on my feet during the day collecting cans. The payoff was $25 a day for a few big bags of cans. To be homeless is exhausting. People need spots where they can rest and rejuvenate. People need jobs. Homeless and poor people also need free food. This is basic to living in poverty.
When I was homeless I often felt very bad and without hope. I did not see a way out; I needed some help. I turned to God for guidance and believed there’d be something better for me. I asked the Almighty “Where shall I go?”
I went to the men’s shelter in Berkeley where many homeless people stay. I felt lost in the crowd and left. Then after a hospitalization, I was discharged to St. Mary’ Center’s shelter.
I was skeptical about another shelter stay and downhearted when I arrived. I participated in the shelter program at St. Mary’s. The atmosphere and people around me felt better than other shelters. I began to feel better about myself and more positive about building a more fulfilling, productive life.
I feel for people who are going through homelessness. Many suffer from mental poverty and are not capable of accessing services and putting their lives together. People are constrained by poverty in many ways. There is a lot to understand about people who are homeless, like what makes it difficult for people to accept services and what makes it possible.
I see people who are not well off and I feel connected to their suffering. Homeless people need connection to others who care and offer more possibilities for their lives. I truly hope to be of help.