Roland’s wife of 30 years died of cancer. They didn’t have any children. Roland says he broke down and ended up in a mental institution for three months. When he got out, Roland says he had trouble holding a job.
People kept telling Roland to go to New Orleans to look for work. They said there were plenty of jobs to go around. The problem is that was after Katrina when the city was rebuilding.
Roland has lived homeless on the streets of New Orleans for nine months. He was able to pick up some temporary work but nothing permanent. Roland refuses to give up because he says he has God on his side.
All Roland has is the four quarters someone just put in his hat while panhandling. He doesn’t drink or use drugs. Although Roland again says he’ll never give up, you can see the pain of homelessness in his face. The streets are hard and after awhile, learned helplessness sets in. People try and try to get out of homelessness but homeless services do not make it easy for people to get the help they need.
The general public believes that homeless people are homeless by choice. They blame homelessness on the person. The truth is most homeless people end up on the streets because of situations beyond their control. Lack of affordable housing or some kind of trauma are the leading causes of homelessness.