Tag Archives: Homeless culture

Painted Black Rehash: Paying the Price

In order to prevent being homeless, I moved in with one of my male friends, “Steve.”

Things were going great until he started attempting to have sex with me. I don’t want to tell him no because he has opened his house to me and I would really rather not be homeless.

via Ask Amy advice on finances – chicagotribune.com.

This young man’s letter illustrates one of the many reasons why kids end up on the streets.  Oftentimes it becomes a choice between two bad options.

Amy’s response is also pretty typical of the general public’s.  Instead of offering suggestions for how to deal with the sexually aggressive housemate, she derides the writer for being financial irresponsible which is why his parents kicked him out.

Kids on the streets are often both the instigator of their own situation at the same time they are victims of forces outside their own control.  Why do we so often point an accusatory finger at the individual instead of trying to help him/her overcome the circumstances that are hindering their growth?


Making the invisible visible

The young girl in the picture looks like your everyday average teenager, right?  And she is.  She just also happens to be homeless.

«Mark calls them “invisible people” because so often, they lurk unnoticed on the edges of society. We walk by them on the street, not seeing them or too busy or uncomfortable to stop. Do we give money? Do we buy them a sandwich? We don’t know, and so we pretend we don’t see them because there’s no easy answer.

We distance ourselves mentally, too. The homeless are drug addicts. The mentally-ill. Not us. Not like us. They’re homeless because they want to be, many say. They’re too lazy to do anything but ask for spare change. Not like us. It couldn’t happen to us.

Sitting next to AnnMarie, Doris Day kept singing in my brain. “I asked my mother what would I be? Will I be pretty? Will I be rich? Here’s what she said to me….”

It didn’t sound so sweet this time. Whatever will be will be? What kind of answer is that? Here I was, sitting next to someone who felt so like me. And Sandra, and Reggie. They felt like me too. Why was I the one asking the questions while they asked for change?

It seems so cruel. AnnMarie and I were both little girls long ago, wondering what we would grow up to be. Did she ever imagine she would be sleeping in an empty lot, depending on the kindness of strangers?»

via Making the invisible visible – Megan Cottrell – One Story Up – True/Slant.


New Pongo Poetry

I am on the news list for this writing project in Seattle that is helping youth at risk express themselves through poetry.  I invite you to visit their site and maybe even purchase one of their books to support them, but more importantly, to learn a little what it is like to live the lives of these young poets.

The Pongo Publishing Teen Writing Project is a volunteer, nonprofit effort with Seattle teens who are in jail, on the streets, or in other ways leading difficult lives. We help these young people express themselves through poetry and other forms of writing. In our work we ask the teens to speak from the heart about who they are as people, and the teens often respond by writing about traumatic losses that occurred when they were little children, losses such as the death of a parent, abandonment, neglect, abuse, and a parent’s addiction. These traumas from their childhood have left the teens feeling depressed, confused, angry, and prone to substance abuse and destructive acting-out. But the writing process makes a difference.

via Who We Are | Pongo Teen Writing.


Get a Job

I don’t get it.  How do people develop such hard hearts?  When I hear people saying things like “Why don’t they get a job?” I can at least put that down to stupidity.  Especially during a time when people WITH homes and easy access to showers and clean clothes and alarm clocks are having a hard time finding jobs.  People who say get a job just plain aren’t thinking.

But then there are people like the guy who posted the comment below, found in an article on how the heat wave is affecting the homeless.  Let him die?  Let him die?  Who raised this person?  What happened to him in his life to make him so dismissive of another human life, a life he knows nothing about?

He makes me want to write a short story.  The plot of the story is this guy in danger for his life somewhere.  Drowning, maybe.  Fallen off the edge of a L platform with a train rushing toward him.  Then a hand reaches out, pulls him to safety.  The hero walks away without waiting for a word of appreciation.  It isn’t till later it is discovered the person who saved him was the homeless guy he calls a worthless individual.  The sad thing is I’m not sure what the ending is.  Will this guy change his tune and start to look at people differently?  Or is his heart too hard to ever open his eyes?  What do you think?

I am sick of these bleeding heart stories. As a taxpayer, I resent that my taxes are being used to fund “services” for these losers. If he doesn’t like the climate, why does he stay here? He has been homeless for his entire adult life…let him die. He is a worthless individual who will continue to expect the rest of us to support him for the rest of his life.

via Heat Wave Especially Hard On The Homeless « CBS Chicago.


As Simple as Shoes

When a story motivates a reader to take action, that’s a great thing.

In Monday’s RedEye, we ran a portion of an article by the Chicago Tribune about homeless gay youths on the streets of Boystown.

It began with this paragraph: “Feet aching in worn-out gym shoes, Robert Dibbles walks the streets of East Lakeview, always on an uncertain path.”

For a loyal RedEye Twitter follower, the path was a little more certain. I received a direct message asking me how to get in touch with the person in the article to give him some shoes.

For anyone that thinks one person can’t make a difference, I’d beg to differ. What a wonderful message to receive.

I suggested she reach out to The Night Ministry, a Chicago nonprofit that has worked with LGBT youths in Lakeview for decades, because it was mentioned prominently in the article. Hopefully our reader and the ministry can work together to do something awesome for someone who really needs it.

via News stories that inspire action – chicagotribune.com.