This piece from the upcoming play, “The Homeless Monologues”, shows that there’s nothing typical about homelessness. Every story is different.
A decade ago, I was walking through Lincoln Park with some friends. As we were were looking at some houses, we saw a woman with a grocery cart. She was rolling all her life possessions
I said, “We’re a lot to that than we are to living in one of these homes.”
A few years later, I was living in a shelter on that same street. While not quite the same thing, it was close. It was just shades of homelessness.
A month after leaving the shelter, I was in Los Angeles. One night, we were at this cookie and ice cream shop. There was a homeless man in front of the store. The only way you could tell he was homeless was the sign he was holding and his cup to collect money.
I gave him a couple of dollars and we started a conversation. He was from New York City and was homeless there. He came to L.A. because it was warmer. That’s how he survived the winter. I asked him why he didn’t go to a shelter. He said he couldn’t handle the rules. He needed the freedom to do whatever he wanted. He didn’t want to answer to anyone but himself. You hear that often.
When I told him, I had just left a shelter, he stared at me. He couldn’t believe it. He never would have known I was homeless unless I told him.
While our stories are not quite the same, they’re close. It was just shades of homelessness.
In the world of homelessness, no story is typical. No story is the same. Men & women. Black & white. North side and south side. City and suburbs. Chicago….New York…Los Angeles…..Anywhere. Homelessness doesn’t discriminate. Homelessness is everywhere.
While the stories are not quite the same, they’re close. It’s just shades of homelessness.
Related Post: How can you tell someone is homeless?
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