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The Plight of the Homeless in America

Updated on October 21, 2019
Faith Reaper profile image

Theresa desires to share inspirational writings from her heart and sharing of those who are making an impact in this world.

Homeless Man in Los Angeles

Homeless man los angeles - terabass.jpg 1 August 2009 CC-BY-SA-3.0
Homeless man los angeles - terabass.jpg 1 August 2009 CC-BY-SA-3.0 | Source

Sometimes it’s easy to walk by because we know we can’t change someone’s whole life in a single afternoon. But what we fail to realize is that simple kindness can go a long way toward encouraging someone who is stuck in a desolate place.

— Mike Yankoski

Turn it up! "People are starving . . . and they live right here!" Sadly, these words still ring true today, and this song came out over 20 years ago!

Never Take Anything for Granted

Each night I climb into my nice warm bed with soft pillows, so tired from the day, knowing I am able to sleep in sweet peace, and I am so very thankful that I have a nice warm bed with soft pillows to sleep in each night. I think this very thought each and every night. Let us not take for granted these simple, but wonderful comforts, as we may not know of them one day, just as many do not, whose bed is the asphalt earth with a concrete pillow.

The Rosslyn Hotel
The Rosslyn Hotel | Source

Skid Row

Skid Row in Los Angeles
Skid Row in Los Angeles | Source

The Million Dollar Hotel ~ The Irony ~ That Other America

The Million Dollar Hotel is located on the corner of 5th Street and Main in downtown Los Angeles. It is now called the Frontier Hotel. It was built at the beginning of the last century and was one of the most prestigious hotels around. At that time, it was the headquarters of Griffith and Chaplin, the American entertainment industry.

Actually, The Rosslyn Million Dollar Hotel was connected to a sister hotel across the street, the Rosslyn, by underground corridors. They were surrounded by The Million Dollar Theater and the Million Dollar Pharmacy. This area was certainly worth millions.

Millionaires of the time had celebrated very elaborate parties there, but that was over 70 years ago.

Once the entertainment industry moved to Hollywood and Burbank, the decline began.

By Night

Today, ironically, The Million Dollar Hotel is a flop-house, where one can sleep for eight dollars a night, unless you are among the countless homeless people who spend the night in cardboard boxes, night after night. Once the garbage collectors come in the morning, the homeless lose their cardboard homes.

By Day

The outcasts disappear and the streets around the hotel are filled with those hurrying past---tourists, bankers and the like.

Once the sun sets, all vanish once again, and the outcasts return with another cardboard box home, clinging to that dream where all are equal, but that would have to be in that other America.

Location of The Million Dollar Hotel

Corner of 5th Street and Main, Los Angeles, CA:
South Main Street & West 5th Street, Los Angeles, CA 90013, USA

get directions

Location of The Million Dollar Hotel

Johnny Depp
Johnny Depp | Source

Actor Johnny Depp Hires Homeless People

It would be so great if all celebrities, or anyone with the means to do so, actually hired the homeless---those who are desirous of working and are capable to do so.

Actor Johnny Depp saw a homeless couple in Albuquerque, New Mexico while on location, and called the casting director right away. The couple was hired as extras in his upcoming movie, "Transcendence". Johnny Depp is known to help out the community when on location.

Thumbs up to Johnny! This is one example of HOW it is done.

Homeless America
Homeless America | Source

The Man On the Bench

It was a beautiful October day, with the sun shining and not one cloud in the azure skies above. She thought it would be nice to get out and enjoy the day for a bit during her lunch hour. She left the large office building in which she works and traveled down a couple of blocks to grab a quick lunch at Chris’ “Famous” Hot Dogs in downtown Montgomery, just a few blocks down form the Capital. Chris’ Hot Dogs is really a piece of Montgomery’s history, good for a really quick lunch, and the dogs, while not extraordinary, do go down pretty easily with their great chili sauce, onions, mustard and kraut.

As she was traveling, she was praising and thanking the good Lord above for such a beautiful day. When she turned left onto the street where Chris’ is located, she thought how strange it was that there was no normal lunch traffic and she did not notice a soul on the streets. Simultaneously, she noticed that the world around was so very quiet and she seemed to be driving into a some type of dream-state world, as everything was so very still and her vision seemed to blur a bit and become dogmatic, like a tunnel with the surroundings not in clear sight. How odd, she thought to herself.

This “state” only lasted for a brief moment or couple of seconds, for as soon as she pulled in front of Chris’s to park (and there was plenty of parking, she noticed too, which is also unusual), and opened her car door, all of a sudden, the noises of downtown and people everywhere were there as usual. Wow, had she been daydreaming or something?, she questioned herself.

The moment her foot hit the ground, she heard a very jovial voice speaking loudly towards her. She had not noticed this man sitting on the bench right in front of her parking space, until he started speaking, and then she realized he was speaking to her. This man questioned her, "Oh, you must have just come down from Heaven above? Are you an angel sent from God? Did God open up the heavens and place you right in front of me?" She smiled when she heard these words, while walking towards the African-American man sitting on the bench under a shade tree. She noticed his clothes were torn and tattered, but he truly possessed the spirit of good-fellowship. She responded to his questions saying, "No, no, no, I just came from up the street a bit; from that office building," and she pointed in the direction of the building.

The man continued, ". . . but surely God has sent such a lovely vision and placed you right in front of me? So, you surely must be an angel from above!" Once again she assured him she did not just fall from the heavens.

They chatted a bit and she sat down beside him on that bench. Samuel was his name. Samuel told her he was happy and thankful to God to be able to just enjoy this beautiful, glorious day, sitting on that bench under that tree and watching all the passers-by, rushing to and fro. She found him to actually be such an interesting person, who had had such a fascinating life to have ended up on the streets. After a bit, she told him she had better get her lunch and return to work. She told him she would love to treat him to lunch, and he told her that would be lovely, as he was especially thirsty for a cool drink of water.

So she went inside and had them prepare two lunches to go, and she then returned back outside to enjoy a lunch with her new found friend on that bench. After enjoying the lunch and great conversation, she told Samuel goodbye, and all he said was, "God bless you and thank you. I know you are a busy angel."

When she returned to work that day, she told her boss about what the man on the bench asked her, about her being an angel, and her boss laughed and asked her, did she tell the man that she has heard those 'lines' plenty of times before?

After that day, she would see Samuel from time-to-time, sometimes early in the morning, and after learning where he would usually be in the early mornings, she would stop and bring him a cup of coffee and a biscuit. Samuel would greet her as the lovely angel lady in a business suit and heels, who comes to greet him in the mornings with a smile, coffee and perhaps breakfast and a little conversation too.

Continued below . . .

Location of Chris' Hot Dogs in Montgomery, Alabama

138 Dexter Avenue, Montgomery, AL 36104:
138 Dexter Avenue, Montgomery, AL 36104, USA

get directions

Chris' Hot Dogs

Bleak, dark, and piercing cold, it was a night for the well-housed and fed to draw round the bright fire, and thank God they were at home; and for the homeless starving wretch to lay him down and die. Many hunger-worn outcasts close their eyes in our bare streets at such times, who, let their crimes have been what they may, can hardly open them in a more bitter world

— Charles Dickens, Oliver Twist
Homeless Children in America
Homeless Children in America | Source

In This Other America, do They Dream, even if It Is Free?

One day, during their conversation, she asked Samuel did he have any dreams left in this life. Samuel responded that he does not have the luxury of giving up hope, and so he does have dreams, dreams of having his very own warm bed in a safe place, which he said would be so nice. Although the homeless shelters do provide a bed for a night, they are not very safe places at times, as there is a lot of biting, scratching and other harmful acts going on. He also dreams of taking a nice hot bath and having a filling meal every day, which he then thanked her for the meals she did share with him. He said he does dream of the day that he goes on to that place the Lord has prepared for him.

Samuel also mentioned that when he does fall asleep, and if he actually has a dream, it is always the same dream, that of ankles and shoes passing by quickly.

She also asked him about whether the people who pass by him each day, actually ever acknowledge him. His response panged her heart, as he told her that she really was the only one who truly acknowledges him as a person, worthy of speaking with, as “their” eyes look straight through him, therefore, unknowingly inflicting a pain only he knew.

She does not see Samuel around any longer, and just knows in her heart that he has gone on to that place that has been prepared for him, where asphalt beds and concrete pillows do not exist. She smiles, as she knows she will have another conversation with him at a later date.

© Copyright Faith Reaper, June 12, 2013

"HOW" It is Done

Home is a notion that only nations of the homeless fully appreciate and only the uprooted comprehend.

— Wallace Stegner

Sharing a Poem Written by a Homeless Person

Homeless that’s what they call us

They say we have no home

Because we live out on the streets

And choose to drift and roam

But, homeless is that what we truly are

Who knows maybe it is

But what about the heroes

The women and the kids

They say we chose this life of freedom

To live out on our own

To sleep beneath the stars at night

To live our lives alone

Webster says a home’s just a domicile

A place to live, a house

If that’s all it really is

Then I know I can live without

Some say its where your heart is

And we pray that this is true

Cause some of us have spilt our blood

And it was red and white and blue

Some say that we are crazy

That we sold our souls too cheap

Because we’ll sell our bodies

Just so our kids can eat

But if you think we choose this life

Then it’s you who has lost your mind

To suggest we woke up one morning

And said I’ll leave it all behind

To live the life of a prostitute,

An addict, or a drunk

To wear the same clothes every day

That we carry in a trunk

To sell our bodies like a piece of meat

Because we cannot cope

To beg all day every day

Just to buy the dope

To watch the people laugh at us

Who look right into our face

Who forget that we are there

Unless we’re in their space

Like when we beg for food

Or break into their house

To still a million dollars

More like a sandwich or a blouse

Well there now we have it

The materialistic chain

That wraps around your human heart

Depriving oxygen to your brain

Making you think that we are homeless

Because you’re blind and cannot see

That a home is where your family is

And we are all your family

We might be sick and tired

We may be down and out

But we're still the long lost relatives

This world tries to forget about”

By Benjamin T. Fisher II

"HOW" It is Done


Do you believe that all homelessness can be eradicated?

See results

Scripture on Serving the Downtrodden

“For I was hungry and you gave me nothing to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me nothing to drink, I was a stranger and you did not invite me in, I needed clothes and you did not clothe me, I was sick and in prison and you did not look after me.”

“They also will answer, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry or thirsty or a stranger or needing clothes or sick or in prison, and did not help you?"

“He will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did not do for one of the least of these, you did not do for me." ---Matthew 25: 42,43 & 45,46

Music by Secret Garden (Short Clip)

Hope sees the invisible, feels the intangible, and achieves the impossible.

— Unknown Author

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