HOW I BECAME HOMELESS
Gary roaddawgz.org, Mar 24, 2003
Most people fear the homeless, but there is no need to fear the homeless. They are people just like you and me. I used to fear the homeless too, until I became homeless myself. In January of this year, my dad called and told me that my brother was in Laguna Honda Hospital dying of AIDS and cerebral palsy. I was in Del City, Oklahoma, doing odd jobs at the time - working on construction jobs, moving jobs, office jobs, and whatever else the temp agency I was employed with gave me. I was living with my mother, and was hoping to find work here and stay for a while. I needed a vacation, and I wanted to see my brother before he died.
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I have been homeless and unable to find work since I got here three months ago. I find myself getting more and more weary from one minute to the next, wondering how I am going to get my next meal. I canít find work. Iíve applied at numerous places Ė Starbucks, McDonaldís, and pretty much everywhere I can think of, but I have yet to find a job. I went to Original Joeís Restaurant on Mission Street, and they said that I didnít have enough experience, even though Iíve been working in the food industry off and on for ten years.
I have been living in a tent now for almost three months. Iím staying there with my dad, who has been there for 2 1/2 years. He came and met me at the bus station when I arrived in San Francisco and took me to where he was camping, out on the edge of Daly City, hidden in the trees. He was in and out of my life as I was growing up Ė heís always been a vagrant, more or less. Heís not doing anything to help my brother. He told me that heís just waiting for him to die so he can get my brotherís money. When I got out here, my brother had been sick for two years. They gave him three months more to live when I came. Heís still alive, but he can barely talk because his brain has deteriorated so much. His nurse tells me, though, that he talks about me all of the time. I was going to stay here with him until he died, but without work, I donít know what to do.
Itís the same in Oklahoma, though. Itís just as bad trying to find a job back there. My mother doesnít work Ė sheís calling me asking me for money to help with her house payments. I have a little girl back there. Sheís nine months old, and her mother took off and left her with her grandmother. Now her grandmother is calling me too, asking for money.
Itís not always what it seems with people that are homeless. Everyone wants the homeless off the streets, but they donít want to help. I donít think that people know what the homeless go through each day, living out doors all year round - the rain, the cold, the attitudes of people, where their food is going to come from, where they are going to sleep at night. Try it sometime and then you will know where the homeless are coming from and why they do what they do. I live in a tent and eat at Glide or St. Anthonyís. G.A. helps a little, but it seems sometimes like nothing will help my situation.
I think itís important to have family bonds but in my experience with my family I have to help them because they canít help themselves. We may stay together, but they donít really help me out.
I miss my little girl most of all. When I think about her I cannot imagine not being able to be there for her; not being able to protect her from her boyfriends when she gets older. Her mother doesnít want to be with me, but I plan to be a part of her life. Iím 25 years old, and I want to make money, be comfortable, get married someday, have more children Ė all the things Ďnormalí people dream of and plan for. My situation right now is temporary. Iíve never been homeless before. When people say, ďGet a jobĒ when I ask for change, they should stop and realize that they donít know anything about my life. This is a letter that I wrote for my daughter Cara:
Iím just dropping you a line or two to say how much I miss you, and that I wish I would not have left you alone with your mother, because I know how she can be at times. And I also want you to know that I love you with all my heart and Iím going to try to get back to be with you soon. I hope you donít forget that daddy loves you and if I can I will do anything at all for you. I know that you are only nine months old and you cannot read this here yet but if your mom ever tells you that I didnít love you, you can always show your mom this letter. Your daddy loves you and misses you very much and cannot wait to get back home with you. Hopefully I will not have to go to war, although war will do me and you some good because if I die your mom would not have to pay for anything for you. If I have to go to war and donít make it back to see you grow up remember daddy will always love you with all of his heart.
Right this minute I donít have to go, but if they call me to fight for my country Iím going to have to go and fight the war. Iím writing this letter while I still have time to do so. I hope that your mom still has the picture of me and her, so if I do have to go to war and donít make it to see my little girl grow up you have something to remember me by. I hope when I get back home your mother will let me see you more than what she has in the past. Just remember that daddy will always will love you with all his heart.
Love you always,
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