Friday, May 20, 2011

Homeless in 24 Hours or Less...

We are homeless. Some of us arrived in this state unexpectedly, while for others of us, it was a long, slow decline. Some of us have made choices abruptly or over an extended period of time, that now seem idiotic, but seemed logical at the time. Some of us are infirm medically, with serious physical illnesses. Some of those illnesses are congenital, some are brought on by bad life-style choices. Some of us are here because our mental faculties do not allow us to function in the "real" world. We may be afraid, subject to panic attacks, irrationality, or we may be bi-polar. We don't all sleep in the streets, or under overpasses and in bus stations. We don't cart all our worldly belongings around in shopping carts or back packs. We don't all shout at the "normal" passers-by, or cause other disruptions in public. We are not all dangerous, to ourselves or others. We are not all addicts or criminals. We are not all "playing the system." We are not all the other things that have been said about us, or to us in ignorance or with malicious intent by "normal" citizens...

We have feelings, dreams and hopes. We do care about what has happened to us and how we've come to be living in a shelter, group home, or rooming house. Some of us are dealing with terrifying health conditions, financial situations, domestic abuse. We are trying to recover from the situation of being homeless. Some of us are dealing with ostracism from family members, because we have been incarcerated. But we have paid our debts to society, and are ready and willing to work and prove ourselves contributing members of this world. We are badly hurt, but we are still trying to craft new lives for ourselves. We still have hope. Some of us are young; mid-twenties or early thirties. Some of us are middle-aged; fifties and sixties. I am pretty sure that my life's agenda did not include being homeless, legally blind, with cardio-vascular disease, emphysema and COPD at age 55. At least, I don't remember wishing for it, but... here I am.

This blog is intended to give the non-homeless a glimpse into the world I and my fellow homeless friends inhabit. This is not a how-to on how to survive homelessness or a directory of useful services in Tampa for the homeless. This is an attempt to describe our view of the world as "homeless" people. We plan to write stories, chronicle our experiences as we move through dealing with the Medical and Government establishments, on our journeys to... "non-homelessness?" Some of this blog will be amusing; some of it heartbreaking; kind of like "real" life. We will start with my story and get the boring out of the way first. We will be adding pictures and will have a few "departments" of other stuff. Sorry to be so non-specific. As we open this up to the public, I would encourage email from readers (if we ever garner any) to send their suggestions for additional material.

So, please read, and please, please feel free to email with comments, criticisms and suggestions. Just please, no hate mail.

-- HomelessViola
-- May 20, 2011