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Homelessness Changed My Life Forever

Updated on January 3, 2017
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Do you cringe when you see the homeless?

I’m sure I’m not alone. When I saw an unwashed, unkempt, homeless person with a cardboard sign on the side of the road, I cringed. I thought, like most people, that they were begging for money to spend on crack, drugs or alcohol. I tried not to make eye contact and to get through the intersection as fast as possible. These are the invisible people. Most folks just pass by them without ever noticing that they are even human. I just can’t do that anymore.

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Circumstances Beyond Our Control

A few years ago my perspective was changed forever. Through a series of events beyond our control, my husband and I found ourselves homeless. How could such a thing happen you may ask? First my husband worked for a large mega church with several pastors and employees. It isn’t the fault of the church that the economy got bad and people weren’t giving as they used to. Hard decisions had to be made and several people were let go, including my husband. The part I take issue with is, that because the church is a non-profit organization, they do not have to pay into social security or retirement funds and if the employees do not do that themselves… well, you can find yourself as we did, without any savings or retirement.

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Economic Cut-Backs

For the next year we scraped by on what little I earned until, my employers also feeling the pinch, cut my hours and eventually let me go as well. To make matters worse, I needed a couple of operations that kept me from working for several months. I will always be grateful that my husband was home to help me during that time. However the loss of income was devastating.

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No More Jobs

Many of my Republican friends said there were plenty of jobs out there if you really want to work. However that isn’t as true as they think. Many available jobs pay the minimum and give very few hours per week (like the fast food places). Most only hire part-time so that they don’t have to pay any benefits. On top of that is our age. My husband and I were in our 50’s at the time, and although no one would admit the reason for rejection was age, we both knew that they didn’t want to hire anyone that close to retirement.

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We lost it all.

Amid crushing debt, we lost our home, and sold everything we could possibly part with. That included the furniture, the refrigerator, my beloved books, my husband’s movie/DVD collection, one of our cars, and much of my art equipment. The problems got worse because we had nowhere to move to. All the apartments we looked into would not have a unit free for months. We put what was left into storage and waited.

Friends took us in.

Sure, we had friends and some of them allowed us to crash at their home, on their couch, etc. for a while. I love my friends and want to keep their friendship. We are well aware that company is like fish… after three days it becomes odious and unwelcome. Therefore we spread ourselves out so that no one was “putting up with us” for more than a few days at a time.

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Even King David was homeless.

There is a stigma to homelessness. You feel like an utter failure. You don’t want to make eye contact with anyone in case it is written all over your face. You feel humiliated and hopeless. It doesn’t matter if you have nothing but the clothes on your back or a storage room full of stuff, with no place of your own to lay your head you feel lower than low. It is at times like that when you start to think crazy things, like who cares and might as well lie down and die. It is pretty hard not to fall into a depression when circumstances all seem against you. I remembered that the great and mighty friend of God, King David was homeless at one point, living in caves and relying on the handouts of friends and strangers. (1 Samuel 22:1-5)

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More than one way to become homeless.

It was at that point that I began to look around. I saw the homeless on the side of the road like I had never seen them before. There was no difference between them and me. We were not spending our money on drugs or alcohol. We were not there because we wanted to be on the street. We didn’t have a mental problem or unsocial issues. Yet we were one friend away from a cardboard box under a bridge. I saw a huge growth in the cardboard village in my town. There were more homeless there than I can ever remember seeing before. Many were families with children. I remember thinking that homeless people were just Wine-os and men, but now I saw people of all ages. There were even some teenagers wandering around, searching dumpsters for food. Some have runaway from abuse and neglect. Some just want to get by without having to give up their human dignity.

Statistics

Statistics say that homelessness in the U.S. is decreasing from 2013 to present but I sure don’t see that in my area. I do know that there have been many measures and agencies who have stepped up to give people on the street a place to sleep, but I’m not sure that really solves the problem. The ever-increasing cost of housing is outrageous for the elderly and disabled to be able to bear.

No one wants to live in a box.

Sure there are some people out there who are homeless because they have a substance abuse problem and their families could not put up with it any longer. There are a few with social issues, but really no one WANTS to be homeless. Mostly we want to be free from debt and crushing obligation.

What do you think when you see a homeless person?

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Alternative funding

Sure there are organizations and programs out there that are trying to help the situation. One such program helps people get off the street by paying for a short-term motel accommodation. This is made for people who just need a little more time to get into an affordable apartment. In our case we actually had an apartment complex we applied for and were waiting for one to open up. Another program called “Modest Needs” helps people who are just experiencing a terrible financial blow or an unexpected bill like a power bill and need just enough to get back on their feet. They turned us down because we had too many bills that had already gotten beyond our means. In some towns there are church sponsored programs that help house homeless people temporarily and there is a state sponsored program that does the same. In most cases the paperwork and the interview process is so overwhelming and embarrassing, that it is completely understandable that many people would rather not bother. We got some help from our church but felt so humiliated that we could bring ourselves to return to that church. Another church simply gave us a workbook and video DVD on “How to Manage Your Money.” Not really helpful.

We became self-employed.

I believe everything happens for a reason and I trust in God to protect us. Eventually the apartment we could afford opened up for us. My husband began to work on his own videography business that he had always wanted to start. I began creating and working on my illustrations for children’s books and children’s magazines. We are able to get by with what we are making even though we don’t have a lot of extra to go party with. Still we are very happy.

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What does it cost to keep a bottle of water for the homeless?

Since then, I cannot pass up anyone on the side of the road with a cardboard sign. If I have a few dollars, I pass it him/her. If not I pass them water or trail mix I have with me in the car because, you cannot imagine how hard it is to get clean water on the street. It makes me so incensed when I hear someone talking ugly about a homeless woman or man who just wants enough to buy food for the day. Many people are sure that they are thieves or liars when in truth they are just like anyone else, but down on luck or at the end of a rope. If it were you, wouldn’t you want someone to throw a lifeline? If it were your son or daughter, wouldn’t you want someone who could spare a few dollars to have some pity? How much would it cost you to just share a sandwich and bottle of water?

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Judging on appearances.

We have become a society that judges on appearances only, without ever knowing the whole story. It is so much easier to donate to a charitable society that help poor people overseas than to help the homeless lady at the end of the street. When will we ever learn to look at people as people instead of rubbish? People are worth the effort to save and help. Sometimes just a little kindness goes a long way.

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But for the grace of God.

The world can be a mean and scary place. If we just helped whenever we could, one person at a time, change could be possible. It is time we stopped spending all our energies fighting for abused animals and spend at least a little to ease the abused people in our communities. Don’t judge the unwashed bearded fellow on your street corner too harshly. But for the Grace of God, that could be you.

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Hopeful Homeless Comments

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    • PAINTDRIPS profile imageAUTHOR

      Denise McGill 

      5 weeks ago from Fresno CA

      Marc60,

      Thank you for your thoughts. I agree that life is short and fleeting. Also I agree that befriending those who are less well off than we should be a priority for all people. Thanks for commenting.

      Blessings,

      Denise

    • profile image

      Marc60 

      5 weeks ago

      Denise, I was going to say (although it is not strictly about the homeless), we must befriend a beggar who is in his regular place (where they are tolerated...), with a contact ; if he is deeply lonely this may give him a reason to hang on (life). Because material life is precarious, I realised I may some day be in his position, and would then be so happy for somebody to care about me. Surprisingly too, in the poorest countries, the people are much more supportive of the outcast, generally. This makes us feel ashamed, as wealthy, healthy or educated people, to be that petty, mingy. Best wishes,

    • PAINTDRIPS profile imageAUTHOR

      Denise McGill 

      5 weeks ago from Fresno CA

      Marc60,

      I'm so glad you see the human behind the homeless face. That is exactly what I was trying to convey. Too many people turn away in disgust and anger. I pray for those who feel helpless to improve their lot.

      Blessings,

      Denise

    • PAINTDRIPS profile imageAUTHOR

      Denise McGill 

      5 weeks ago from Fresno CA

      Thanks Larry. I've seen the small houses for the homeless too and I think it's a great idea. If only it would catch on everywhere. But too many people get the idea that it would be condoning idleness. And that isn't the point at all. I've seen women living in their cars with full time jobs but not making enough to afford an apartment. Something has to be done! It's a crying shame in an affluent country like ours. Thanks for your comment.

      Blessings,

      Denise

    • profile image

      Marc60 

      5 weeks ago

      Denise, this is a nice and moving story ; thank you for sharing your experience. May it be inspirational. We must be sometimes reminded that behind any face there is always a human being, like our own brother or own sister. Then, it becomes possible to always feel mercy (lenience). It is possible to befriend homeless.

    • Larry Fish profile image

      Larry W Fish 

      11 months ago from Raleigh

      What an emotional story, Denise. I can't imagine what you went through, but many of us have come close to it at one time or another. I see the homeless here in my town just like I have seen in other towns that I have lived in. I used to turn my head the other way and I feel ashamed about it. I now look at the homeless in a different light. I know many are now homeless because of circumstances beyond their control. I wrote a fictional story on here a few days ago, The Old Homeless Man. I see many cities across America are now building tiny houses for the homeless. A great idea. God Bless You, Denise.

    • PAINTDRIPS profile imageAUTHOR

      Denise McGill 

      15 months ago from Fresno CA

      How sweet of you, Rachael. I appreciate the honesty in your note. It could happen to any of us. And it's true. It wasn't easy to keep the faith. I think human nature wants to look for someone to blame, hubby, banks, landlords, God... But I knew it was no one's fault. The whole thing was a nightmare but one in which I found who our real friends are. Also, I found certain Scriptures are my favorites to go in times of trouble. My favorite story is in II Chronicles 20 where the king is faced with not one, not two, but three armies coming against him and there was no way to face it. So he declared a national prayer and fasting day where he prayed, "We don't know what to do, but our eyes are on YOU." That means so much to me that I often pray those words. Then he appointed a choir to go in front of the army singing, "The Lord is good and his mercy endures forever" or something like that. As soon as the choir started singing God confused the armies that where coming against them until they turned and killed each other. As soon as I start to sing God defeats what has come against me.... It keeps me singing!

      Thanks for commenting.

      Blessings,

      Denise

    • Rachel L Alba profile image

      Rachel L Alba 

      15 months ago from Every Day Cooking and Baking

      Hi Denise, I can't imagine going through what you went through and kept your faith besides. God bless you and your husband. How touching you wrote about your experience with homelessness. I truly believe in that saying, "but for the Grace of God, go I", also. It could happen to any of us. I was touched by your story and give you credit for sharing it. I'm saving it in my Pintrest under "Touching Stories".

      Many Blessings to you.

    • PAINTDRIPS profile imageAUTHOR

      Denise McGill 

      17 months ago from Fresno CA

      DEBANGEE MANDAL,

      Thank you for your kind comment. I hope you are well and never have to face having no place to lay your head at night.

      Blessings,

      Denise

    • Debangee Mandal profile image

      DEBANGEE MANDAL 

      17 months ago from India

      A truly heart-warming, soothing hub..it touched my heart. Very well done.

    • PAINTDRIPS profile imageAUTHOR

      Denise McGill 

      20 months ago from Fresno CA

      bodylevive,

      Bless your heart. What a great thing to do. I hope others read your post and think about doing the same for someone. Have a great day.

      Blessings,

      Denise

    • bodylevive profile image

      BODYLEVIVE 

      20 months ago from Alabama, USA

      I have never been in that situation before and really could even pretend to know what it's like. I do know after my mom died, I didn't want to live alone, so I took 2 veteran's who had no home.

    • PAINTDRIPS profile imageAUTHOR

      Denise McGill 

      20 months ago from Fresno CA

      Jodah,

      Good for you working with homeless street kids. That is a huge deal especially these days with the economy just picking up. I know you know how it feels not to have a roof over your head and no where to turn. It's kind of scary to think so many young people are experiencing that. Thanks for commenting.

      Blessings,

      Denise

    • Jodah profile image

      John Hansen 

      20 months ago from Queensland Australia

      Denise, you wrote this with the emotion and integrity that only one who has been through the situation themselves can. Well done. I am glad that you and your husband got through it and that you gained a different perspective. For about a month as a young adult I found myself with no place to live and all my clothes and possessions were in my car. I stayed with different friends a few days at a time...but fortunately that was temporary and I was able to find a share house to move into. I have worked with homeless street kids as well for a time. Great job.

    • PAINTDRIPS profile imageAUTHOR

      Denise McGill 

      22 months ago from Fresno CA

      kiddiecreations,

      I totally understand your hesitation. I heard those stories too. However, after going through what we have been through and seeing all the others going through similar things, I have to believe that God will make all things even out. If you should happen to give to someone who is actually scamming people, they will eventually not prosper, because God is not mocked. You sow it, you will reap it. It seems to me what little cash we part with cannot do anything but be multiplied in God's role book. I believe He sees and He rewards. I'm with your husband. I not only found people living in their cars but also teens and high school students trying to get by in cars or junk yards because the beatings at home were too much to deal with. It's so heartbreaking to see kids going through that kind of thing. Thanks for commenting and rethinking your ideas and attitudes.

      Blessings,

      Denise

    • kiddiecreations profile image

      Nicole K 

      22 months ago

      Thank you for sharing about your experiences with homelessness. I feel like God really changed my heart by reading what you had to say. Lately I've heard of scams in my area, where individuals pretend to be homeless to get cash, and then at the end of the day, they walk a few blocks and get into their luxury car and drive home. Because of this, I was starting to harden my heart, thinking that I don't want to get scammed. But just now while talking to my husband about this issue, he told me that two of his co-workers are living in their cars. It broke my heart. I don't know how we can help, since we don't have much money ourselves, but I just wanted to thank you for making me realize that I still need to help the homeless and leave the outcome in God's hands.

    • PAINTDRIPS profile imageAUTHOR

      Denise McGill 

      24 months ago from Fresno CA

      Wow, Lawrence. That is out of whack! Here in California modest houses have gone up above $250k and that is outrageous. Many people like us have had bail out of owning and go to renting. Thanks for commenting.

      Blessings,

      Denise

    • lawrence01 profile image

      Lawrence Hebb 

      24 months ago from Hamilton, New Zealand

      Over here in NZ people didn't think homelessness was an issue, but we've got situations where whole families are living in cars yet the average house price in Auckland last month hit $1 million (NZ, about $750k US) so something's 'out of whack' as we say!

    • PAINTDRIPS profile imageAUTHOR

      Denise McGill 

      24 months ago from Fresno CA

      Say Yes To Life,

      You are so right about the diseases and unsanitary conditions. I was a little concerned about dysentery or other hygiene problems because I wasn't sure where my next shower was coming from. This is all very hard on families as you said. I spoke recently to a woman who was living under a bridge. She had 5 children but they were taken from her by Child Protective Services, and she was left under the bridge. It is really hard on women. No wonder so many would rather stay with an abusive husband. It's just not right. Thanks for commenting.

      Blessings,

      Denise

    • Say Yes To Life profile image

      Yoleen Lucas 

      24 months ago from Big Island of Hawaii

      In the 60s and early 70s, housing was cheap, so people became homeless only if something was wrong with them. This changed in the early 80s, when housing skyrocketed, and it took a lot of careful planning and balancing to avoid becoming homeless. Because I didn't realize this, I almost wound up homeless after graduating from college in 1982.

      On the Big Island of Hawaii, most homeless women are escaping abusive relationships and have at least one child. It is especially hard for families.

      I'm glad you and your husband were able to escape homelessness. Another fact that's not talked about is that homeless people are often victims of criminals. Also, living in unsanitary conditions brings on certain diseases. I understand some people on Oahu contracted elephantiasis because of this.

      Thank you for this revealing article!

    • PAINTDRIPS profile imageAUTHOR

      Denise McGill 

      24 months ago from Fresno CA

      Mine too, Lawrence. I wanted people to see that it could happen to anyone and that there is life after homelessness, light at the end if you will. It really hurts me to hear unthinking people mumble against a homeless woman and her daughter sitting at the side of the road asking for work or money to buy food. I want to scream, that could be you, you know? But people don't know who haven't been there. Thanks so much for your comments and your compassion toward Habitat for Humanity.

      Blessings,

      Denise

    • lawrence01 profile image

      Lawrence Hebb 

      24 months ago from Hamilton, New Zealand

      Denise

      'Been there's

      Ten years ago we had a house and two rental properties!

      I never thought of the homeless in that way, I'd known too many growing up (they were in and out of our home as dad gave them jobs)

      Eight years ago my wife got sick and we lost 60% of our income, then six years ago I got made redundant the first time! (twice in six months) and man that felt like failure!

      We ended up renting a house we used to own (that was a real 'kick in the teeth ')

      I was working 70 hours a week doing nightshift and we couldn't get out!

      My latest hub (This time Lord, you gave me a Mountain!) is fiction, but we walked that path, and it was a lawyer helped us put things in perspective!

      Today we were clearing stuff out and I was so glad we had stuff good enough to take to 'Habitat for Humanity's so they can use the stuff to help someone else.

      Blessings

      Lawrence

      The goal of my hub was 'there's light at the end of the tunnel'

    • PAINTDRIPS profile imageAUTHOR

      Denise McGill 

      2 years ago from Fresno CA

      ocfireflies,

      Thank you so much, Kim for your empathy and kindness. I do also wish for people to gain hope through this that you can come back from the brink of disaster. The hardest thing is not to harbor bitterness and blame in situations like that. Everyday I have to make myself think of good things and not the hurt if felt then. Everyday I choose to look up instead of looking back... except to write what I hope is helpful for others. Thanks for commenting.

      Blessings,

      Denise

    • ocfireflies profile image

      ocfireflies 

      2 years ago from North Carolina

      Denise,

      I have to tell you that this was hard to read for I am an extra-sensitive soul who hurts when others do, but I am happy to read that this terrible time in your life turned around. So, I am relieved, but still saddened for all of those who still await for their situation to turn around. Thank you for sharing your story because I am sure so many gained not jut awareness, but hope.

      Blessings Always,

      Kim

    • PAINTDRIPS profile imageAUTHOR

      Denise McGill 

      2 years ago from Fresno CA

      teaches12345,

      Thank you so very much. That means so much to me. Maybe we have a stronger faith for having gone through struggles and hardship. Maybe we can reach people no one else can reach because we too "have been there!" Whatever the reason, we are in a better place. I hated loosing the large house with the guest room and 2 baths, but I am so happy to have a smaller place to clean now... there are trade-offs in everything! Thanks for commenting.

      Blessings,

      Denise

    • teaches12345 profile image

      Dianna Mendez 

      2 years ago

      My husband volunteers at the homeless coalition and I help out when I can with food and clothing donations. Your story is one many need to hear because it will change their ideas about the reasons this happens to people. I admire your strong faith to not give up when you had every reason to let go. God bless you and your husband and may you always have shelter over your heads.

    • PAINTDRIPS profile imageAUTHOR

      Denise McGill 

      2 years ago from Fresno CA

      Gina Welds-Hulse,

      I absolutely understand what you are saying. Similarly for us it was only a few months but still humbling and eye-opening. So sorry to hear about your abusive marriage situation. I also escaped from my first husband's abuse, but at the time I could go home to my parents who were supportive. I know what you mean by the shame and embarrassment. It's why so many women explain that they "fell down the stairs" or "ran into a door" instead of the truth that someone you love and trusted bruised up your face. Thank you so much for sharing.

      Blessings,

      Denise

    • Gina Welds-Hulse profile image

      Gina Welds Hulse 

      2 years ago from Rockledge, Florida

      Thank you for sharing this. I also wrote about my personal experience with homelessness. It was actually for just over 6 weeks, first living in my car, then with a friend who took me in. It may not seem like a lot to others, but those weeks were extremely eye-opening. I escaped from an abusive marriage. Starting over was tough, but not impossible, and I had a lot of support once I got past the shame and embarrassment of what happened.

      Thank you, again for sharing your story.

    • PAINTDRIPS profile imageAUTHOR

      Denise McGill 

      2 years ago from Fresno CA

      cclitgirl,

      I appreciate that. You certainly are more astute than most and everyone has a bit of arrogance. I know I do but I've also been humbled to see that this can happen to anyone and that no one is better than another. We all need a hand up from time to time. So sweet of you to comment. I thank you.

      Blessings,

      Denise

    • cclitgirl profile image

      Cynthia Calhoun 

      2 years ago from Western NC

      You sound like a wonderfully strong person who has overcome many obstacles.

      I have not been homeless myself, but my mom did take in a homeless guy who was sleeping in the pews at church. I was quite young, and the rest of my older brothers and sisters balked.

      But that one act changed me. Though I could certainly do more - and I'm working on that - I learned a powerful lesson in humility: that for one second I don't think I'm better than anyone else. I'm not perfect: I have my moments where I think the decisions I've made might have been smarter than others, but then I catch myself: no one asks for this. Everyone needs a place to go: to be warm, to be cared for, to be loved. Everyone.

      Well done on this hub! Thank you for sharing your story!

    • PAINTDRIPS profile imageAUTHOR

      Denise McGill 

      2 years ago from Fresno CA

      MsDora,

      Thank you, MsDora. You are truly the Most Supportive Hubber. I appreciate your spiritual words of wisdom too. Thank you for commenting.

      Blessings,

      Denise

    • PAINTDRIPS profile imageAUTHOR

      Denise McGill 

      2 years ago from Fresno CA

      word55,

      That is the hard part. Having talked to many people I know that they feel like giving up. However, I figure it's my faith that helped me make it through. You know the old saying that there are no atheists in fox holes... well, I would include and living under a bridge. In the dead of the night there is no one else to look to but God! Thanks for commenting.

      Blessings,

      Denise

    • MsDora profile image

      Dora Weithers 

      2 years ago from The Caribbean

      Thanks for being such an inspiration by telling your story and displaying such resilience. Bad things do happen to good people and God enables the good people to make the best of their experience as you have done. God bless you and your family going forward!

    • word55 profile image

      Word 

      2 years ago from Chicago

      Hi Denise, thank you for sharing such a touching homeless story. I am happy that you are no longer homeless due to the Grace of God. Feeling blessed, I usually give to the people on the side of the road. Homeless people need to remain prayerful and never give up. Thank you.

    • PAINTDRIPS profile imageAUTHOR

      Denise McGill 

      2 years ago from Fresno CA

      Glenis Rix,

      Around here in the states there are several programs also but sometimes the restrictions and the humiliating interview process is so intrusive many would rather take their chances on the streets. Also these programs tend to insist you give up drugs and alcohol so there is that portion of people who won't be applying. I have a feeling it is not big government or taxes that will really help but the individuals lending a hand where they can that will mean more to the hopeless. Thanks for sharing your insights.

      Blessings,

      Denise

    • PAINTDRIPS profile imageAUTHOR

      Denise McGill 

      2 years ago from Fresno CA

      phoenix2327,

      Thank you so much. I'm glad you feel like I offered information of value. It means a lot to me. Thanks for commenting.

      Blessings,

      Denise

    • Glenis Rix profile image

      GlenR 

      2 years ago from UK

      Thank you for sharing what it feels like to be homeless. In the UK there is a wonderful organisation called the Big Issue which tries to support homeless people. One of the initiatives allows individuals to buy the Big Issue magazine and sell it on street corners for a small profit. It's amazing how many people avert their eye and walk by. But these people are doing their best to pull themselves out of desperate situations. Whatever we, as individuals, do helps in a small way. Offering a cup of coffee from the nearest cafe on a cold, wet day can boost morale a little. But in the end, it's up to society as a whole to prioritise those of us who are at the bottom of the heap. Which means governments finding more money to provide housing, support, and work opportunities - and the rest of us being a little less self-centred and paying more taxes.

    • phoenix2327 profile image

      Zulma Burgos-Dudgeon 

      2 years ago from United Kingdom

      I am truly moved by this hub. You didn't just explain how anyone can end up homeless but also the emotions that come with it. And how we can help in our own small way. Thank you for sharing your story with us.

    • PAINTDRIPS profile imageAUTHOR

      Denise McGill 

      2 years ago from Fresno CA

      Oh, thank you for saying that, Denise. Some people don't realize how many people are just one paycheck away from disaster, do they? Thanks for commenting.

      Blessings,

      Denise

    • denise.w.anderson profile image

      Denise W Anderson 

      2 years ago from Bismarck, North Dakota

      This is a real eye opener! You are right, it could be any of us!

    • PAINTDRIPS profile imageAUTHOR

      Denise McGill 

      2 years ago from Fresno CA

      mckbirdbks,

      Thank you. It's true, we are really much better off. We have far less than before but we are far happier. I guess when more "stuff" has you, you can't be truly free to enjoy life... and the advertisers would have you believe the opposite is true. Thanks for your kind comments.

      Blessings,

      Denise

    • mckbirdbks profile image

      mckbirdbks 

      2 years ago from Emerald Wells, Just off the crossroads,Texas

      Displays of undaunted courage and determination always strike me. This article is such a display. The great recession hit many very hard. Tent cities and people living in their cars were common. Personal friends were living in their cars.

      Good to know your situation is slowly improving. Good to know you managed to escape rock bottom.

    • PAINTDRIPS profile imageAUTHOR

      Denise McGill 

      2 years ago from Fresno CA

      Virginia Allain,

      I do hope so. It wasn't long ago when I came across a group of neighbors who were discussing a homeless person who stood most days at an intersection nearby. They were sure she wasn't homeless or was at least a drug addict and were trying to devise ways to make her leave the area. I have to give them high marks for even noticing her, as many people don't see the homeless at all. But I was so angered by their lack of compassion I thought I should write something about it. It could happen to anyone and just because I didn't have to stand on the corner begging for my next meal, doesn't mean I couldn't have reached that point. I guess it's awareness I was hoping for and you got it. Thank you.

      Blessings,

      Denise

    • Virginia Allain profile image

      Virginia Allain 

      2 years ago from Central Florida

      I know fellow writers who've become homeless and have friends and family who came close to the brink. We need to remember that hard times can come to anyone and use that thought to impel ourselves into helping others.

      Thank you for sharing your experience and may it touch many lives and hearts.

    • PAINTDRIPS profile imageAUTHOR

      Denise McGill 

      2 years ago from Fresno CA

      Shyron E Shenko,

      Thank you very much, Shyron. There are many out there like that. Not all are addicts. I loved that video too. It seems that the despair is so great and the hopelessness so unsurmountable that when someone shows compassion and a little dignity it makes all the difference. I think many people just give up trying thinking what's the use fighting it. Thanks for your comments and kind words.

      Blessings,

      Denise

    • PAINTDRIPS profile imageAUTHOR

      Denise McGill 

      2 years ago from Fresno CA

      lambservant,

      You are the dearest, and never forget that. Thank you again for your compassion and humility.

      Blessings,

      Denise

    • Shyron E Shenko profile image

      Shyron E Shenko 

      2 years ago from Texas

      Denice, this was so sad, I watched the video and that was sad but beautiful what he did for her.

      I know two people who are homeless through no fault of their own and I have been so close so many times, and it is hard when the cost of food is rising all the time.

      I am so glad you and your husband are back on your feet.

      Blessings always

    • lambservant profile image

      Lori Colbo 

      2 years ago from Pacific Northwest

      Denise, you are doing so much just by writing this. I don't look on people who are homeless as less than. I haven't experienced homelessness, but I have experienced some great traumas and tragedy, some which have great stigma. Im in a twelve step program. I try to remember that pain is pain and human beings are all broken. The shameful ones are those in high places and everyday people who haven't yet met tragedy and heartache enough to extend compassion. Blessings to you dear sister.

    • PAINTDRIPS profile imageAUTHOR

      Denise McGill 

      2 years ago from Fresno CA

      lambservant,

      You are truly a servant of the Lamb. Thanks for sharing what you have including your time. I know that there is a serious problem out there and that many don't want to give up their addictions. However it breaks my heart when good Christian people see them as less than human. Shouldn't we be praying for them and caring instead of turning a blind eye. Yes, we are only one person, but when we get together we are many and can touch many. Each person's life touches so many others... isn't it about time we started seeing the human under the dirt and addiction instead of calling the police and complaining to city hall? I guess that's all I wanted to say. It could happen to anyone. Thanks for commenting.

      Blessings,

      Denise

    • PAINTDRIPS profile imageAUTHOR

      Denise McGill 

      2 years ago from Fresno CA

      billybuc,

      Wow, thank you. I knew somehow you would understand what I was trying to express. Thanks so much for being my friend.

      Blessings,

      Denise

    • lambservant profile image

      Lori Colbo 

      2 years ago from Pacific Northwest

      This was very moving. Some friends from church and I go to Seattle every so often and hand out bottled water, sack lunches and clothing. I can't say I've ever seen any families but perhaps they have somewhere more protected. The majority have mental illness or are on drugs and alcohol. It's sad but we do what we can. I can state emphatically that most are very respectful and very thankful. We don't do this to receive thanks or to feel good about ourselves. But their expressions of gratitude speak well of them as human beings.

      When we get in our car to go home I can't stand thinking Im going home to my warm trailer, with a full fridge, and adequate clothing and my basic needs met and they will spend their evening being cold. The last time we went I wanted to cry because all of a sudden I thought about one of my children if he were in this situation. Every person on the streets is someone's son, daughter, sister, brother etc.

      Having said all that the issue of homelessness is extremely complex. There is no simple solution. Right now in my state we have two big cities with humongous homeless camps and they are spilling out on the side of the freeway . The trash, rodents, needles, human waste are causing great health risks for them and for citizens. Seattle has several missions but these other cities don't. I know there are plenty of families fallen on hard times, but the majority are not. Many don't want to quit there substance abuse. Sadly there are people with mental health issues that fell through the cracks of a broken system. Those cases break my heart. When I feel overwhelmed on the nights we go home to our warm houses I feel like I'd done nothing to help the greater problem. I only know I can help one person at a time.

      I'm glad you and your husband are back on track. Thank you for sharing.

    • billybuc profile image

      Bill Holland 

      2 years ago from Olympia, WA

      I can tell you from firsthand experience that it does, indeed, change your opinion on homelessness forever. I wouldn't wish it on anyone, but I wish those who feel "above the unwashed" could feel, for a week, the utter hopelessness when you've lost it all.

      Thanks for sharing a very important message, Denise.

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