My attempt in this article is to open the eyes of those that do not understand ever going without food or shelter, to broaden horizons of a new view, to shift perception, with more energy used to educate and to teach an unfamiliar perspective: A perspective, of love and compassion for humanity.
I know that when the individuals that I serve with when we do our service project Feed the Streets do it out of love and compassion for those that are experiencing being homeless. We are there without judgment of what our brothers and sisters are going through.
We announce at each of our events that we are not there to be of help. To be there to help would mean we would put ourselves on another level. Legacy Intuitive is about being of service to others, to being a voice and advocate for our brothers and sisters that are going through the struggles of being homeless.
Some would say that “we are enabling.” Yes, we are providing food for their stomach, water to hydrate, and personal hygiene items.
Our society says that this population of individuals choose to be in their situation. True, there may be some individuals who choose to camp. Society says they should get a job. With the predicament of being homeless, employment opportunities are very few. Hence, going through homelessness is a huge barrier.
Not having a safe place to live, eat, shower, and sleep is a real struggle. It affects a person’s mind, and makes every-day struggles that most of us face, unbearable.
Small barriers create road blocks for those that do not have skills to navigate around the barriers they may be faced with. I ask you, How do we assist them in learning these skills?
I remember, I had skills to navigate around barriers because of resources, networking, and advocating when I struggled once. Barriers include: Being homeless, having poor credit, and having a criminal background. I had these barriers because of my active addiction. I had completed residential and outpatient treatment and was involved in service work in my community, yet I struggled with having stable housing.
I was in a spot where I was in need of some assistance to get stable living. I reached out to a local organization in our community. I told a gentleman that interviewed me in consideration of assistance, that I was not looking for a hand out, but a hand up.
So many people that are in the situation are there because sometimes life on life’s terms put us in some predicaments that are beyond our control. Things happen that we are powerless about.
I remember I, my wife, and my three kids were homeless in Stockton, California several times. Here are some examples of situations we were put in:
When I tried helping someone else out that was in need, they ended up stealing our rent money. We rented a room out once and the person bailed when rent was due, leaving us short on the rent money. I lost a job I had because we ran out of work. Once a house we rented for nearly two years was sold without any warning, leaving us literally homeless.
Not everyone going through homelessness chooses to be there. Not all individuals in that population are using a substance. Yes, there are a lot of drugs in our neighborhood on Rio Grande, but there are a number of people that go down to that area to sell drugs, and prey on that population of our brothers and sisters experiencing homelessness.
Experiencing a lack of shelter, and not knowing what your next meal is going to be, is a very stressful situation. A feeling of hopelessness, low self-esteem, creating depression. There are so many other effects of going through a situation of homelessness, or joblessness.
Being a person with a mental diagnosis, going through these situations increases my anxiety, depression, my P.T.S.D. We have so many individuals going through these situations without any medication or therapy.
We don’t have a clue why any of these single individuals are experiencing their current situation. It is not our place to assume they’re junkies, or they’re lazy, or they are at fault for being there, giving us no right to judge anyone of them.
These are our brothers and sisters, they are human beings just like anyone else. Some of us are managing our substance use disorders, some of us are managing a mental diagnosis. Not everyone has been given the tools to assist them in long term recovery.
How can we shift the energy we have created in our society? As individuals, how can we be part of smashing the stigmas? Let us find love and compassion for our brothers and sisters, and shift our energy.
–Written by Dan Davidson