I met William while out on the streets with Street Medicine Detroit, a student-run nonprofit that provides healthcare to homeless people in Detroit. The medical students and the nurse practitioner were talking to a homeless man at an exit ramp when William walked up pushing his shopping cart. William knew the medical team, saying hello with a big smile on his face as he approached.
I talked to William a little bit at the exit ramp. He told me he was in a hurry to get to his spot. William continued that if I walk down to meet him there, he would give me a more extended interview.
William has lived homeless in Detroit since July of 2009. A few years’s prior, he lost his house to foreclosure. William was one of the millions of people that were sold a bad mortgage that was impossible to pay back.
William says that each year he lives on the streets homeless his health keeps deteriorating. William has survived cancer twice. He suffers from COPD, a chronic inflammatory lung disease that causes obstructed airflow from the lungs.