Before you judge Reno or any homeless person addicted to drugs, walk a mile in their shoes! At the age of 7, child protective services removed Reno from living with his mom because of physical abuse. Reno went to live with his dad when he got out of prison. His father introduced Reno to marijuana and porn at the age of 10. Reno was first arrested at the age of 10 for having weed at school.
If you look at the childhood of almost every person on the streets, doing drugs, or doing time in prison, you’ll discover years of neglect and childhood trauma. One of the main reasons treatment fails to help people get off drugs is traditional treatment attempts to cure the addict but does not cure the pain people use drugs to escape from. Dr. Gabor Maté explains addiction in this short video. Please take the ten minutes to watch:
Reno is a good guy doing the best he can to survive homelessness on the streets of Los Angeles. It’s nearly impossible to do homelessness sober. We all have addictions that help us escape pain. Some eat too much. Others are addicted to television. Younger generations are addicted to social media and scrolling on their smartphone. People can get addicted to drama and anger. Gambling or the rush of adventure. To put drug addiction in perspective, most addicts live in houses and apartments. You don’t see them because they are behind walls.
My point is Reno is a human being. I enjoy talking to him. Reno is always respectful. He wants to get sober. He wants to get off the streets, but the support is not there. Treatment is broken, and treatment without housing fails. There are not enough support services for addiction, mental health, and homelessness, and there’s not nearly even close to enough housing!
Your voice can help end homelessness. If we do not fix the affordable housing crisis, homelessness will continue to get worse. Click here to tweet, email, call, or Facebook your federal and state legislators to tell them ending homelessness and creating more affordable housing is a priority to you.