The link below was written by a fellow who lived with the homeless near Harvard Square in Boston. The article matched perfectly the experiences I’ve had with people who lived on the streets or in shelters.
He writes that the homeless people he met are mostly ordinary folks who had several things go wrong at once. Maybe they lost a job just when there were medical bills. A family upevil happened or mental illness struck. There are dozens of other things that happen to people.
Just today, my wife was upset after visiting with a friendly and seemingly competent couple in their thirties who showed up at the food pantry where she volunteers. They had just found themselves homeless and needed food for the next few days. She said they were clean and articulate, but she did ask what had happened to them.
I spent a couple of nights at homeless shelters several years ago. I met people who were having trouble staying on medications for mental problems, a divorced man who lost his job and home and so many others.
A homeless man living in a tent called on me when I was a Mayor. He wanted the community to know more positive things about homeless people. We organized an event to do just that. He now married and lives here.
There are hundres of thousands of children living in shelters and trying to keep up with school. I wish there was a simple solution for this problem.