Meet Christopher. I met him near in Boston last night and talked with him for about 20 minutes. Awesome guy. He served our country in Iraq and Afghanistan and had a PTSD episode that caused him to get fired from his job. He has since been living in the streets and even though he has been able to find work again, it is hard to make ends meet in an expensive city like Boston.
He mostly sleeps on a park bench because the homeless shelters have a large percentage of sex offenders. After talking with several homeless people over the years, it seems to be a common theme that the shelters are not a safe haven, unfortunately. Many actually feel safer on the street. This, despite the fact that Christopher has had all his blankets stolen, along with two full suitcases of clothing, and three cell phones.
Still, Christopher remains optimistic that his situation is temporary and keeps a positive attitude and the kindness of strangers keeps him going.
90% of people walk by him, some even telling him to get a job, despite the fact that he has one again, or to get off drugs, despite the fact that he doesn’t drink or do drugs.
Why are we so quick to judge and make assumptions? Many people in this country are one paycheck away from losing their home. These are the people that give to him. And he actually gives to other homeless people.
He goes to the library once a week to Skype with his 13 year old daughter who lives in Florida with her mom. The people at the library know this keeps him going and are always kind to him when he comes in. A couple recently paid for two nights in a hotel for him. Occasionally people will buy him a meal or give him a couple of bucks. It’s a small percentage, but it gives him faith in humanity.
I know Christopher will land on his feet. I pray it’s sooner vs later. I asked him for his email address because I want to make sure he ends up with a place to call home. I don’t want to wonder what will happen for him like I do for all the other homelessness people I have met over the years. And if I, and we, can help in some way with that, I would love to find a way. Please reach out to me if you’d like to collaborate on how to create solutions for the very real problem of homelessness in our country.
You can also read about my recent experience with homelessness in San Francisco, as well as a wonderful human being who is working hard to help the homeless right here in Bridgeport CT here.