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Beggars Vagrants And Homeless The World You Do Not See

Updated on May 12, 2010


Larry sat on the sidewalk holding his sign. It was early March and the weather was starting to get warm. This was a relief to Larry who liked to sleep under the stars but was forced into the shelter during the cold weather. Larry had been on the streets for five years now. Not that he did not have anyplace to go it was just that he felt free when he was alone.

His parents lived about twenty miles away in a quiet little town. The door was always open for Larry it was just that he felt confined indoors. The shelters were crazy, but if you tried to stay outside in the cold the authorities picked you up so they did not find you frozen to death in the morning.

Today had started out well. A young couple had stopped and given him a twenty dollar bill about an hour after he sat down. He was anticipating buying himself a nice meal and something to drink later. He would have liked to have gotten some breakfast he just did not want to lose his spot on the curb. He had found a corner that had some nice foot traffic all day until after five.

If he stayed for the day he usually averaged between fifty and one hundred dollars a day. Should he leave he was almost guaranteed to find someone else sitting there when he got back. Larry was in the habit of waking up when he heard the birds and heading over to his corner as soon as he had risen. The other guys were still sleeping when Larry walked to his corner.


Wendy did not care when the children made fun of her. She had been out here so long that she became immune to the comments. The adults were more hurtful but even their hateful comments had no affect on Wendy.

She was pushing her carriage down to the restaurant where the nice young lady worked. Every morning Wendy would push her belongings past the front window and the girl would either wave her round the back or shrug her shoulders signaling Wendy to come back later. When she waved Wendy went to the back door and the girl always gave her a nice bag of assorted goodies. She never could remember the girl's name Lori, Lisa, Lucy she tried but always failed.

Since she stopped her medications her thoughts just seemed to swirl through her brain. The doctor would be mad if he saw her. He didn't. Wendy had not seen her shrink since she was put out on the street. She had a home somewhere she just cannot remember where it is located.



Charlie was sick when he woke up. This was not unusual for Charlie he was sick almost every morning. He looked around the concrete searching for the bottle, upon finding it he leaned it back and drained it of its contents.

That would hold him over until he could find the guy he was with last night. He forgot his name yet he did remember that the guy still had a lot of lacquer thinner. When there was no alcohol the thinner would take care of the shakes and rock your world at the same time. He had been huffing and drinking every day since he was put out of his home.

Drinking and drugging made the memories go away.  Charlie had seen atrocities in his time in the military and sometimes they returned in his dreams.  If Charlie got sick he went down to the VA hospital to seek help.

There was a time when Charlie had a normal life. He was married with two children, his wife had enough of him, she threw him out of the house and Charlie left without ever thinking again of returning. Sure he thought about them but that was nothing a good buzz would not cure.



Glen looked around nervously, he always felt like people were staring at him. He sat outside the train station holding a cup. He asked for change whenever he needed it. He would even steal if given the opportunity.

Glen stayed on the streets since his landlord told him the cops were looking for him. He was supposed to register with the police when he found a place to live. He did not want to have to register so he never found a place to stay for long. He was also supposed to stay away from places where children played but that was where he got most of his change from.

It was not easy sometimes someone would recognize him from the Internet. He had been convicted of child molestation ten years ago. He spent four years in jail and two years bouncing from residence to residence. He had worked at one time but he knew that no one wanted him to work for them once they found out his past.  Once a residential counselor in a home for wayward youth now he was simply a pariah to society.

Billy Tina And the Family

Billy and Tina had been through some tough times. When Billy was laid off he would take Tina and the kids looking for work. First he would go in and apply, then Tina would apply since any job would help them pay the rent.

Billy and Tina had three children which lived on the streets with them. After four months of not paying rent the landlord had asked them to leave. Tina did not want to leave but Billy was too proud to ask the courts to let them stay in the apartment.

They sought out shelters but found them all full of other families. While sitting in the park they met another family in similar conditions. The family brought them into their community where they were welcomed.  They lived under an overpass in a tent. They were not alone there were about thirty people living there. All the residents of this tent city kept an eye on each other and shared when it came to food.

The lawyers were trying to stop the city from making them leave. The ownership of the property on which they squatted was for sale and the seller wanted them removed. Some ACLU lawyers had come down to talk to them, they said they were going to help.

Tina would take the kids to the park across from the mall when school let out. The children would panhandle and actually did very well for themselves. They would collect money for a few hours then they would buy groceries and go home to their tent.

There was seven children in all living in the little community. The kids raised most of the money to feed them all. If only they could stay here they would be fine but the thought kept returning of what would they do if they were forced out of their new found home.


Life on the streets can be a dangerous existence. Yet thousands find themselves without a home for a multitude of reasons. Some choose to be on the streets while others have mental illness and find themselves there without knowing how to get out. There are some who are hiding from the law and some who are there simply because they do not have the resources to maintain a home.

However one finds themselves on the street each one will do everything they can to survive. Basic human needs are met even in the most difficult of circumstances. Either through charity or simply begging from others the homeless, beggars and vagrants have a right to survive.

The next time you pass a homeless person at least take the time to see them as human beings and not like some stray animal.


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    • profile image


      6 years ago

      cheers! this piece of homeless is very truthful. People should take them more into consideration, not all beggars are alcoholics, nor drug addicts. Some actually have a reasonable situation to beg for.

    • mquee profile image


      7 years ago from Columbia, SC

      Nice piece on homelessness. Some people won't even acknowledge that this situation and people in this condition exist. The truth hurts and some don't want to face it. Thanks for sharing.

    • profile image

      C.J. Wright 

      7 years ago

      Nice work! Nicely delivered. Loved the closing line:

      "The next time you pass a homeless person at least take the time to see them as human beings and not like some stray animal."

      Thats the key, don't steal another bit of their humanity by pretending they are not there.

    • William F. Torpey profile image

      William F Torpey 

      8 years ago from South Valley Stream, N.Y.

      It can't be said any better, Arthur Fontes, than you've done here. Homelessness is all about the individuals who survive from day to day on the streets. I continue to wonder how we, as a society, can stand by idly == complaining about paying taxes -- while so many of our neighbors face the world each day without the resources to live under decent conditions. I commend you for bringing this issue to the fore.

    • Victoria Dubois profile image

      Victoria Dubois 

      8 years ago from Temple Terrace, Florida

      Very good Hub. I was actually thinking of that exact thing, but think you have done such an excellent job that another one would be redundant. I agree with you totally. I wasn't aware that children were begging. I have given to many adult homeless begging, but not the children. Sort of reminds me of third world countries!


    • Pamela Kinnaird W profile image

      Pamela Kinnaird W 

      8 years ago from Maui and Arizona

      You really get to the core of it in this. My stomach is churning a bit because it was described and presented very realistically. Thank you for such honest writing.

    • Guitplayer profile image


      8 years ago

      I must say this is one of the best pieces of writing I have seen. Very well done. Unfortunately the homeless seem to be a part of are society that most people turn a blind eye to. Thanks for helping bring it to peoples attention.

    • profile image


      8 years ago

      I truly appreciate the vignette that you have presented here of some of the various personalities that one can find in the invisible world wherein these people live. I've done the homeless thing for a while (for similar reasons as that presented in the case of your first specimen) and felt gratified by the expertise herein depicted. Good work and I hope all goes well with you.

    • profile image


      8 years ago

      Arthur I am a new follower and this is awesome. I'm going to be reading more over the next few weeks. I can't wait to see what else I find. I hope you don't mind I shared this with Pinkylee as she has a hub she is working on based on an experience she recently had with a homeless couple.

    • profile image


      8 years ago

      wish I could upthumb this twice or more. such a compassionate and important understanding of the increasing relevance of homelessness.

      as rose said, this is a powerful Hub and I hope it has a far reach.

      I've never been homeless, but I have a great deal of empathy for those who suffer from that. these days, it is more and more families who have been foreclosed on - there are a lot of homeless children out there who are slipping through the cracks although school surveys are starting to find them. and I don't doubt that as more vets return from conflict with ptsd and other injuries, homelessness is going to be an issue for some of them as well.

    • Arthur Fontes profile imageAUTHOR

      Arthur Fontes 

      8 years ago from Fall River,MA

      Thank you guys so much for reading and commenting.

    • Rose West profile image

      Rose West 

      8 years ago from Michigan

      Excellent work, Arthur! Your narrative has a lot of power, and I really enjoyed reading this. I always wonder about the lives of the homeless. They are people, not animals. It is hard to always know how to help them.

    • JWestCattle profile image


      8 years ago from Texas

      Very good work, held my attention throughout, thanks for this window on the homeless.


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