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Newly Homeless

Updated on November 21, 2011

I've been on the streets for a week now. Had been living in my car, but they repo'd it yesterday. That sucked. I was sleeping in it at the time. I quit my job yesterday, too. Still have some money in the bank, but not enough to do anything. Anyway, I'll be geting a nice severance check, so that'll help, but the bill collectors still need their money. If they can find me, that is.

Finding food wasn't a big problem. Turns out one of the local restaurants leaves some good stuff out back every night. Once you wash some of the gunk off it, it's okay. Plus the soup kitchen stays open every day, so sustenance is not a problem.

And the library's open most of the time. I can still get on the internet and check my email, facebook, and play games. Just can't be enthusiastic about it or they'll kick me outta there.

I keep looking for a new job, but with no home, it's tough. I have a prepaid cell phone that I keep charged up so people can contact me.

I lost everything, not just a tv or a computer, but personal stuff that means something to me, like old family photos and scrapbooks. Took what I could before they threw me out, and when they took the car, I salvaged what I could into a plastic bag. Gotta get me a backpack.

My family doesn't know I'm out here. Why worry 'em? They've got enough problems. They don't need to worry about me. I'll be all right, I guess.

Well, I still have a notebook and some pens, so I can still write. Keeps me sane. I have all day to pen my thoughts. It's liberating in a way.

Last night was pretty cold. I stayed awake all night, shivering outside of the 7-11. They never throw anybody out of their parking lot. I even got a free Slurpee from one of the employees. Shame it was cherry-flavored. I hate cherry.

Went to the library as soon as it opened and slept a few hours. I woke up around noon, walked to the soup kitchen and got a meal. I managed to wash my face and hands and underarms, change shirts, and made myself somewhat presentable, then went back to the library.

It's kind of boring being out here alone, but also it's illuminating. I see people I know that don't want to talk to me because I'm now a bum. That's to be expected, of course, because if I were them, I wouldn't want to talk to a bum, either. My face and hands are clean, but my clothes still stink, and I haven't shaved in days. So I get it. Still I wish one of them cared.

I walk out at 5:00. It's almost time for supper at the soup kitchen. I managed enough change for a bag of Fritos to keep me going till then. Time to go mingle with the great unwashed, mainly me. Guess my superiority complex didn't die when I lost my home. I still think I'm better than everybody else. Hey, I'm surviving.

Dinner was bland, but filling. Guess I'll go to the shelter and see if there's an opening. Could always use a shower and a warm bed. While I'm walking over, I meet a coupla guys I know who are in the same boat, and we all decide to go over there together. It's still early so we might get lucky.

We do. There's enough beds for all of us. I take a shower after checking in. It's the little things like the feel of hot water cascading over you and the warmth and serenity you feel as it continues. The peace and quiet, listening to the water, and then the yelling from someone saying you've been in there long enough. So much for serenity.

The shelter offered me some clean clothes that sorta fit. The shirt's a little small, but it's clean, and the sweat pants are a little big, but that's what they have drawstrings for. I notice someone has been riffling through my bag. I yell at him, he yells back, and we almost go at it, but the people there tell us to stop it or we'll get kicked out. We apologize to each other, and that's that. I put my bag under my pillow and decided to take a nap. Nothing else to do, may as well.

I wake up in the middle of the night. The place is dark, save for a hall light and a small 40-watt bulb in the bedding area. Lots of people here. I lay back and wonder why God has cursed me so. I'm not Job. I'm me. And I create alternative histories of my life in my head where I am somebody and have nice things. And a home.

I wonder how everybody else ended up here. Bad luck, drugs, alcohol dependency, laziness. And some people are just so incorrigible that there's no other place for them in society. They belong here. I don't see anyone like me, with potential, who could drag themselves out of this situation if they could only see the light, or had a little help. But then again, they're all like me because we don't have any other place to go.

I go to the bathroom and wash my face, and look in the mirror. I see a sad face, a face of bewilderment and quiet desperation. Is this what I've become? Lord help me.


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    • lmmartin profile image

      lmmartin 6 years ago from Alberta and Florida

      Well done. Newly homeless -- could be any of us. Thanks for a good read. Lynda

    • catfish33 profile image

      Jeffrey Yelton 6 years ago from Maryland

      I'm glad you like it, Lisa.

    • profile image

      Lisa James 6 years ago

      This may be fiction but iam here to tell you it is happening everyday. I work at a wellness and recovery center for people who are recovering from mental disorders or addictions or both. I have heard this story from some of my people at least once a week. catfish thank you for writing this it is like you have given my people a voice you wrote it with such feeling and it is amazing that you have written it so well. i feel the heart in which you write your stories with just amazing.

    • profile image

      jami l. pereira 6 years ago

      OHH!oops! LOL thanks "justateacher" !! heyyy!! im TOTTALLY GLAD IT IS A PIECE OF FICTION , !! i guess i better start reading the summaries ! and thats why "justateacher" is a teacher !!LOL i never even looked for the summary!! but i am so glad that you are ok and safe ! and obviously youre a hell of a writer ! cause it IS very beleiveable story!! God Bless !:)

    • catfish33 profile image

      Jeffrey Yelton 6 years ago from Maryland

      Thanks for the comments. I'm kinda overwhelmed by the responses to this piece. I would like to write a part two or three or possibly turn this into something bigger.

    • dungeonraider profile image

      Jason Marovich 6 years ago from United States

      @catfish - one thing I forgot, the Homeless Project has public domain photos for use in homeless articles. Free of charge.

    • dungeonraider profile image

      Jason Marovich 6 years ago from United States

      @catfish33 - A human being, if alive, has potential. Nearly every person that first finds themselves 'out there' hasn't come to terms with the reality of it. It's too much a nightmare for most people to accept it, or to believe it could actually happen to them. You've picked up on that nicely in this story.

    • profile image

      Sunnie Day 6 years ago

      Dear Catfish,

      This is so well written and true to life that I almost thought the guy was at a library writing this. You have felt the pulse of this man and many more. It breaks my heart and it is a true account of someone out there. Always a good thing to keep this in our heart and do more if we are able.



    • catfish33 profile image

      Jeffrey Yelton 6 years ago from Maryland

      Thanks, but it's a piece of fiction. If anyone took this the wrong way, I'm sorry.

    • sunkentreasure profile image



      Things might look impossible to you

      but God's power is greater than you can imagine

      God has no limits

      God will do more for you

      than you could ever ask or think

      No person or obstacle can stand against God

      It's not up to the world to decide on your success

      It's up to God

      Don't give up on your faith

      Don't be discouraged

      Keep believing and going forward

      Keep your eyes on the prize

      You don't know the wonderful things

      God has waiting for you around the corner

      God will bring the right people to cross your path

      God will take you to a new higher level

      Let God's Word repair your hurt and self-image

      Make God your best friend

      Praise God with your whole heart

      and you will see how much God will richly reward you.

      © Bernard Levine

    • catfish33 profile image

      Jeffrey Yelton 6 years ago from Maryland

      Thank you for that. My mind gets into dark places sometimes, and the best thing to do is write about it!

    • justateacher profile image

      LaDena Campbell 6 years ago from Somewhere Over The Rainbow - Near Oz...

      What a story. I am glad that I read the summary and realized it was a fictional account, but this story is so real to so many people. Amazing writing...voted up and awesome!

    • profile image

      jami l. pereira 6 years ago

      Wow this is heavy , and i am deeply sorry for your situation ,ive been homeless so i know where you are coming from , ive never been a drug user or lazy , ive worked all of my life , but i just had a few crappy moments and thats all it takes , and here is what i did , I had a car and i drove out where noone would see me and i spent the days there and the nights in it too , and i saved what little i had for job hunting , i actually got a job in a lounge , and i hated it , so i made sure i was at a church on sunday , but it fed me and gotme a room with the tips i made serving. Now , ive lost my career again , and ive started a small green cleaning business. You need to go to a church tomorrow and ask if you can clean it for them just for a room to stay in ,and then clean the church windows , etc . it may be a start ! anything you can think of that you can do ,anything ,God Bless and please seek a church , they will help you , but you will have to humble yourself .I know its hard and i know you probrably dont wanna hear it but if you have tried everything else , try God , and see what happens ! :) God Bless and i will pray for you tonight to find something to help you soon , i voted this story up , useful,interesting and if they had any other buttons you would get them too ....