Rob | Invisible People

Rob


Probably hundreds of people walked by Rob on Hollywood Blvd. The very few that gave money didn’t stop long enough to actually meet Rob and listen to his story. Rob sat on the most famous […]

Rob

Probably hundreds of people walked by Rob on Hollywood Blvd. The very few that gave money didn’t stop long enough to actually meet Rob and listen to his story. Rob sat on the most famous sidewalk in the world while most of the world passed by as if he was invisible.

Rob doesn’t want to be called homeless. He prefers the term “domestically challenged”. Rob says his story is the classic sob story. Ron was working putting himself through college. He was even engaged to be married. A drunk driver hit his car. The accident started a downward financial spiral, and over time, the end result – Ron lost everything and hasn’t been able to recover since.

The night before this interview Rob slept on the streets in Hollywood, which is illegal. Rob has actually been ticketed for sleeping outside. It’s very sad, and very costly to taxpayers, that communities continue to increase the criminalization of homeless people as a solution to ending homelessness!

Rob speaks very candid about the recidivism of homeless people being placed into housing and, mostly because the housing was a wrong fit, or lack of community, or real support, the person goes back to living on the streets. Its the side of the housing first model you don’t often hear about. The pressure to get housing placements up is felt by all homeless services. Often to meet those numbers, people are placed in housing that is not a match for their needs. The pressure needs to be placed on getting people into the right housing and not just any housing!

When I asked Ron for his three wishes he responded, “Eating, sleeping, or for using the bathroom, there should never be a charge! If I’m paying for my freedom, then I purchased a lie.”

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  • Sandra

    Great video, and a sad story.

    Just wanted to clarify something: the Housing First model developed by Sam Tsemberis places emphasis on housing choice for people. They are supported in choosing their placements and given mental health and life skills supports with ACT teams, and if the housing is not a good fit then the housing team works with the tenant to find an alternative. Housing First when practiced with fidelity does not place people into any random housing, people have choice. It’s one of the fundamental principles of the Housing First model.

  • http://hardlynormal.com hardlynormal

    Hi Sandra,

    You are correct about then Housing First model, but as a homeless service worker I have seen it fail more than succeed because 1) not enough or wrong kind of support given 2) no ‘community’ for the homeless person to feel comfortable 3) placed in first available housing instead of waiting for the right housing that would help fit the person’s needs.

    One time, I worked for an org that placed three chronic homeless females, each in different apartments, all of them unfurnished and far away from any ‘community’ that would make the homeless person feel comfortable. As I was closing the door after driving the one woman to her new apartment she stopped me and asked me to buy her coffee. There was a grocery store nearby, she new that. What she was really saying was “I’m scared and I don’t want to be alone in this empty apartment”. She lasted a few months and is currently back on the streets.

    More often than not, I have seen agencies claim they are using the Housing First model, but even though many have good intentions, they really cannot provide the housing and support needed to keep someone in housing!

    There is so much pressure to be one of the “cool kids” housing people, how do we fix it so people are given the homes and support they need?

    Let’s be real here. Everyone is trying some version of housing first, yet only a few have the resources to do it right.

  • leti

    Rob is so handsome and smart

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  • Eric Nightraven

    “I’m not looking for a handout, I’m looking for a hand up”.

    Being homeless teaches you many things. I know personally as I was homeless for 4 years with my father from age 14-18. And I can definitely say it taught me many MANY things. I quickly went from a troubled 14 year old, to a wise and strong willed young man, and it wasn’t my choice. But just like they say, we did what we had to to survive. It’s not a way to live, but sadly, the only alternative is to lay down and die. I have actually considered that before when I was in that situation and nearing the breaking point, but let me tell you, it’s a lot harder than it sounds to lay down and die…..

    But, god blessed me. I was 18 and homeless when I took it upon myself to enter a GED program at a local community college. The very same day I received my GED certificate, my long lost cousin contacted me and I got into contact with my mother who I had never known since I was barely 2 years old. I quickly moved out of the mission I was staying at and moved down to live with my mother, and my father went to Ohio to live with his sister.

    Soon after I finally had a steady place to live, I enrolled in community college.

    It’s been 2 years and I am 20 years old, almost 21. I have already completed 51 credits, and am 1 semester away from obtaining my AA degree for Geospatial Technologies.

    So yes, you can get out. But it’s not just “finding a job” or “getting to work” that gets you out of homelessness, it’s not “hard work” and fuckin “determination”. It is definitely blessing.

  • Delia Davis Tillett

    Never knew this……good information. Thanks!!

  • sick lad

    Rob is a trooper hope he keeps on fighting