9 Quotes From The Homeless That Will Change Your Perspective
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Politics and Activism

9 Quotes From The Homeless That Will Change Your Perspective

Because social injustice is real, and closer to home than you think.

9 Quotes From The Homeless That Will Change Your Perspective

I don't have class on Thursdays until 11:20, so I typically spend those mornings with a friend, feeding breakfast to the homeless. I do not serve them to feel better about myself or to "be a good person," whatever that means. I like to serve the homeless breakfast because I learn so much from their stories.

One woman was kicked out of her home by her children. One man came back from serving in the Middle East to discover that no one wanted to hire injured veterans. Several people are mentally unwell, recovering from abusive households, or simply drifting from one city to the next, hoping to find some place to call home.

I have yet to meet someone who did not want to share their story. Some stories break my heart into tiny pieces, some make me angry at the injustice in this world, and some remind me of my own shortcomings. I wanted to share some of the lessons I have learned from feeding the homeless these past few weeks. Some of these are my own insights, and others are snippets of conversation given to me by the homeless themselves.

1. "Always tell your parents how wonderful they are."

Family strife can cause homelessness.

2. "Stay in school and try your best to do well"

Several of the homeless have college degrees

3. "Stay away from drugs... once that shit has a hold of you, it won't let go."

Most of the homeless I have met do not abuse drugs or alcohol.

4. "Don't let anyone tell you what to do... only you can control your actions."

A disproportionate number of the homeless once served in the military

5. "I have my body and my mind, so I don't consider myself homeless."

When you have nothing to lose, you cherish everything you have.

6. "Someone tried to run me over today."

Homeless people are the most vulnerable to violent crimes.

7."No one will hire me because I'm homeless."

Poverty can be an inescapable hole

8. "My children won't speak to me."

Families are broken by homelessness.

9. "Smile always. Life isn't too bad, all things considered."

You can't control life's circumstances, but you can control your response to them

Do not be afraid to talk to the homeless. Many of them crave companionship and someone to swap stories with. They are human beings, with the same dignity and worth as you and me. The homeless do not want to be pitied or looked down upon, but they do not want to be forgotten either. The homeless want someone to look them in the eye and treat them like a fellow human.

The best thing you can do is serve the homeless is to work with an established charity. Be wary of local policies, as some cities (like San Antonio) persecute the homeless population through legislation that makes it hard for them to find access to shelter, hygiene, and food. Do your research and do your best to serve those who need it. Organize drives for hygiene items, packable foods, and shoes.

You might learn something.

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This article has not been reviewed by Odyssey HQ and solely reflects the ideas and opinions of the creator.
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