I really like Thomas’s story; it struck a chord with me. He talks about some key issues facing the homeless population that we often do not consider. For one, they must stay mobile, which means that everything they own is in a bag, cart, or buggy (a good thing to remember when you’re helping certain homeless populations). This presents a challenge for shelters, churches, or food pantries because accommodating people with bags/carts can be a security risk. Also, the homeless won’t go places where they cannot either keep their bags with them or feel their bags are safe.
Earlier that day Thomas followed a man off a bus and into a church. The church really did not know how to react and Thomas said they both freaked each other out.
Another point Thomas brings up is safety. Usually homeless sleep during the day and walk the streets at night because it is safer. Even then, sleep is not restful. You are constantly vulnerable, which is really frightening. Add to that, the various laws cities have in place prohibiting panhandling and sleeping in public places; it is not an easy life!
Near the end, Thomas talks about different races living homeless and how poverty does not discriminate. We can learn an awful from Thomas’ homeless experience, their unique needs and focus on survival. But perhaps more importantly, we can learn something about ourselves and how we treat the homeless.