08 May, 2006

I was thinking of what it would be like to have had a normal life, going to school everyday and learning. Having a job and earning. To me that’s what normality is but me being me I suppose normal was always out of the question. The thing is I now know I’m normal what ever that is. I used to think I was one hell of a hopeless case as my life was out of control, being a drug addict and homeless didn’t help matters but life has taken a strange twist thanks to all the people that never gave up on me, no matter what. One of my many downfalls was I couldn’t read or write and thanks to some hard work and people that had the time and patience I quickly learned but the one thing that always keeps coming back to me was how difficult it was to get some place to learn. Being homeless has its barriers and one of them has always been getting into education. I was talking today with a group of homeless people who want to learn stuff and go to college and because they are on the streets they can’t find a college to take them because of their lack of housing. It always seems to me that barriers are always put in place even if you have somewhere. I was in a hostel and I couldn’t afford the tuition fee. Thanks to a thing called changing lives I got to go to college and won a couple of awards. What I am saying is everyone deserves to be given the same opportunities as anyone else. One of the things that came up in my discussion was that ordinary people do not want to sit next to a homeless person that maybe is unshaven or has clothes that are a bit worn and dirty. No matter how clean underneath he or she is. I think the image people have of homeless people is out dated and to be truthful has always been misconceived. The picture we always seem associate homelessness with is the man with string round his waist for a belt. Holes in his jacket and shoes unpolished and holey and to add to that lot is their worldly goods in several bags in a shopping cart or something. I think this is the picture people see. They don’t see the actual person in front of them. If you add to all this the stories one hears about all homeless people being drug addicts and alcoholics. No wonder people are afraid to talk and mix with the homeless but how do you dispel people’s perceptions. You can only do that by showing the public and government the true nature of homelessness. What it's like to be homeless. What it’s like to be society’s outcasts because that is what homeless people are the forgotten members of society. What most homeless people want is a way back in to the mainstream of society and some kind of normality.

1 comment:

alyceclover said...

I was never afraid to talk to homeless people, tho' it is hard to sit next to someone who smells. I'm reading these blogs of newly homeless. I wonder about the old homeless, had they started out that way too? By the time one comes upon them, they have a string around their waist. I'm educated, worked and had homes (apartments), yet became homeless. Affordable housing, liveable wages, affordable health care, dental are things that could have changed it. Better laws as well.

For the young, I think having a stable family, does make the difference.