When most people think of homelessness, they envision a homeless person covered in dirty flying a cardboard sign begging for money. The image of a chronic homeless person has been reinforced for decades by media and even nonprofit fundraising materials. The real truth is most homeless people do not look like the stereotypical homeless person.
When I was an outreach case manager in Los Angeles, I would say probably 85% of our clients you’d never know they were without a home unless they told you.
When Michael told me he has been homeless in Austin, Texas, for 34 years, I was shocked. As I said, most homeless people do not look homeless; however, the longer a person lives on the streets, the worse their physical and mental condition gets. Homelessness is horrible. Fighting to survive every day takes its toll.
Michael says his homelessness was a result of a bad marriage. He continued, “after a broken heart, I hit the streets.” Michael has been addicted to everything, and he has quit everything. I have to say living on the streets for 34 years and not having a severe addiction problem is a miracle. I have tremendous respect for Michael.
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.