Ask the experts: You’ve lived through homelessness. How would you solve it?
Homeless people are often mentally stressed – start there.
We, as a community, must seek information. Where can this person go for the type of help he/she needs, whether that help is mental, physical or other, such as support groups, a job, whatever resource we can find to help them?
We must be willing to meet people on their level of understanding. Wherever a person is mentally, do the work so they may be able to grasp what you are advising them to do. By doing this, they will feel as though you really care about helping them recover from homelessness. It was — and is — through my experiences of being homeless that I learned I never responded well to people I thought did not care.
As a community, we must do all we can to comfort the person who has just become homeless. Due to tragedies and natural disasters bringing about devastating circumstances, it is impossible to end homelessness. However, we ought to learn to put ourselves in the same place of that man or woman, or family suffering a homeless situation. Nobody can say in their life “I’ll never be homeless.” Life brings whatever it wants to put in our way. How we deal with it may determine how long we stay in any given situation.
In conclusion, let us as a community, have loving kindness and compassion, which produces a will to help somebody who needs anything. Remember this divine truth: “My gifts and talents are not for myself, my gifts and talents are always for somebody else.
—James J. Brown, Artist/Vendor
Self-esteem and respect
In today’s life, we must have self-esteem, respect, stability, and motivation. We have to establish our achievement through the chaotic atmospheres that surround us.
In order to build one’s self-esteem, it is necessary to believe in your abilities, to value your life as an individual. Self-esteem comes about when you ignore the complexities, such as the concerns of how others think of you or try to cause you to be. It happens when you choose to be yourself and not live to be a person you know yourself not to be. When you choose to be around people that try to lift you up rather than pull you down.
You’ll need that self-esteem when faced with obstacle in the surrounding environment.
People fail to remember that the same way you became successful can lead you to becoming a failure, to be broke and have nothing to show for that part of your life. If we continue to fight against each other, from the smallest of circumstances to the largest, or if we lead our lives by judging, neglecting, orh disrespecting others, we only set ourselves up to fail.
That’s where the respect comes in–in our actions toward others. I think people who are successful acknowledge a man or woman as a person of positive traits, a person with goodness in his or her nature, trying to survive in the world God Almighty created.
As a writer, I have expressed what I hope are intellectual words to you, the people trying to make these United States a better place to live and raise your family, to show respect for yourself and all those you associate with.
I believe everyone wants to eliminate all the situations they see around them that degrade and humiliate so many people, but they don’t know how. Start with yourself. Think better of yourself and think about what you can to bring about for those around you. what you profess to want. You cannot help or change all humanity, but it you work a small miracle at a time, it will spread.
Love is out there, in the air. You just must feel it to make it a reality, so others can see it. God bless all and have a blessed and good life to come.
—James Gartrell, Artist/Vendor
Advocate for yourself and support one another
Being homeless I faced so many challenges. Sleeping outside in the bitter cold and the snowy weather is hard. No sleep. Sleepless nights all the time. So cold outside — but we deal with it. It’s not easy living on the street, but we still try to maintain our dignity and support one another while we are going through it.
I am always looking over my shoulder. I am always in fear of being robbed or worse. I have been homeless now for over five years.
I met a person who has been homeless for 30 years. He said he’d rather live with his tent under a bridge and weather the storms his own way. I can’t dream of being homeless for 30 years or more. But there are people who live in the streets for many years.
It saddens my heart for someone to live this long outside. As an advocacy fellow at Miriam’s Kitchen, and as a Street Sense Media vendor, I am learning how to navigate and advocate for myself and others. At Miriam’s, we engage with our guests. We also have a “studio for change” to encourage self-expression and provide art therapy.
Being homeless is a hard life, but I am in school at UDC and studying hard. I am looking forward to graduating and starting my career.
—Sheila White, Artist/Vendor
Be prepared, and take pride in yourself.
The way to prevent homelessness is to be prepared for any problem that might come up. Be on the lookout for anything that will make your life stable. Strive for upward mobility. Be a social climber, event.
Take pride in yourself.
Look at yourself honestly and always strive to be better. Always keep a stack of cash. Find programs that can help you hold onto what you have until you get better. Have good morals and believe in a higher power.
—Jackie Turner, Artist/Vendor
Keep the faith
God is good, always. He knows, see and hears everything. I’m so thankful for all. Stay focused. God works through people.
Let your good deeds outweigh your bad deeds. Teach your family to do the same and love yourself. I have been searching all of my life to find the key and I am thankful for what God has blessed me with.
–Marcus Green, Artist/Vendor