let me tell you something....it comes at a cost you couldn't imagine.
i paid a high price to be homeless. i paid a cost you couldn't imagine to live on snap and use some available resources and benefits that you paid for thru your taxes. actually, on a monetary basis i paid for them too. do you think homeless people have never worked and paid taxes in their lifetime? sure...maybe a very small percentage of the homeless and poor haven't worked much in their life...if at all. but most have...some for years. some for a longer period of time than you. some for longer than you are old. being homeless or poor doesn't equate to having never worked, never paid taxes and never contributed to the very fund that they now have to utilize in order to survive
but there is another price that's paid when you become entangled in homelessness or you suddenly fall into ...let's see...how about economic violence. some like to call it that. ehhhh.... i like poverty or being poor better. that's what it is. you pay a price though...sometimes one that is almost too high. you pay with your dignity. it's embarrassing and almost to the point of being humiliating to have to sign up for and use snap benefits. the process itself can be demeaning despite the efforts of the most courteous and considerate social worker. unfortunately most don't fall under either of those adjectives. it hurts your pride and sense of self worth to go into that welfare office, fill out those forms and admit you're unemployed, broke and at the mercy of your government to obtain the meager amount they allocate to buy food and the essentials of survival. it's almost like validating a fact that you've been denying. you're poor and maybe homeless.
it also comes with another price. how much is the worth of a human being? maybe visa would say it's priceless. how ever much it's worth, being homeless makes you feel like your value to the rest of society just bottomed out. suddenly you're at just about the lowest point of existence you could be. you have no home. you have no roof to sleep under. you are forced to go to a mission or a shelter and sleep with many other homeless people. it's almost like being relegated to a camp for poverty. i'm in no way criticizing the missions. this is a personal and very intimate feeling you can't escape from. you are there.....with the poorest members of america's citizens. you are at the total mercy of others to eat, sleep and have shelter. you have no choice.
the price of your sense of well being is beyond quantitative value. you become insecure about everything. you have no control over your day, your nite, and sometimes it feels like your existence. it weighs on you nite and day. your search for a solution is always there in your thoughts and in your mind. if you somehow manage to push it aside for a few minutes or hours, something manages to bring it to the forefront. someone you pass on the street, some offhanded, thoughtless remark you overhear, that look by someone that tells you they have no compassion or understanding....something...somewhere...always catches you and brings you back into the thoughts accompanying homelessness.
the emotional cost is almost beyond anything you can describe. heartbroken is the only word i can use that comes close. you feel abandoned, lost and left alone in the most difficult time that any one of you can imagine. not only are you in a fight for your very survival and a fight not to lose yourself and who you are in the day to day struggle of being homeless....you are doing it alone.
even if you manage to bring yourself out of being homeless, it follows you. you'll never be able to feel totally secure again. you know it can happen and just how quickly it can happen. you carry around that scar that being homeless put on your soul and on your heart. even if you attest that it made you stronger, which in some ways it may very well have, in alot of ways it made you weaker and more wary and more aware of what a thin line separates you from being homeless again. it's always there like a gnat swarming in the summer time. it's not going to bite you but it's prevalent enough to be annoying and sometimes distracting. your thought process and decision making change with that homeless factor being in the equation. it can and does haunt you.
being homeless isn't free...under logic, concept or way of thinking. it's expensive...not only monetarely to our society and our government...which is you....but to the individual. it's carries a high price to the individual. not only that...it pays itself forward into that individuals future. trust me...being homeless isn't easy. it certainly isn't free. i have paid dearly for it.
see you around town