December 3, 2018
Mary Williams, Wisconsin Region Communications Director
At the Fall Leadership Conference, the officer team presented about homelessness In the presentation we addressed some of the things that homeless people face on a day-to-day basis. A friend of mine in Texas runs a church, and its main focus is helping the homeless people of his city. This past Monday night, for the first time in 12 years, he was homeless. During his stay outside, he made regular check-ins on Facebook detailing what he felt emotionally, mentally, and physically. I was particularly interested in his experience because many of the things he mentioned in his video check-ins echoed the ideas we talked about at the conference.
His “night out” started at 8pm, and his first task was to find a piece of cardboard to sleep on. Someone in the homeless community advised him to use cardboard to “keep the concrete from sapping your warmth.” He brought his dog for protection, but did mention that having the dog would keep him from being able to get into a shelter or use a public bathroom. One emotion he experienced while he was out was fear. He was afraid of being assaulted even with his dog. He was afraid that he would be chased from his sleeping spot as he was sleeping in the doorway of an abandoned office building. Sleep was hard to come by because of the cold, his fears, and the uncomfortable feeling of sleeping on concrete.
In his final check in, he did express that even though he spent a night out on the street, it did not give him an accurate feeling of what it’s like to be homeless. He said that even though he was homeless, he knew where he could go in the morning to get food, HOT coffee, and where to warm up. He also said that he knew where and how to get help if he needed it. He knew that he still had a place to go to. He was, however, more appreciative of what he does have like HOT coffee, HOT oatmeal, a job to go to, and the knowledge that it was only one night.
I believe that many of the things my friend experienced are what homeless people experience on a nightly basis across the country. If anyone is interested in watching the videos posted about his experience on the street, you can find them at Open Door, in Lubbock, TX on Facebook (https://www.facebook.com/opendoorlbk/).
Copyright 2018 Phi Theta Kappa Honor Society