Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Andrew on Overcoming Homelessness

"November marks a year since I’ve been off the streets because I was formerly homeless for two years. I moved back here from Baltimore because I had a house fire and I lost everything including my cat. But, rather than tuck tail and run, I just decided to stay here and fight and work my butt off to get back on my feet. Thanks to Street Sense I was able to do that and now I work as a recruiter and volunteer and do what I can to give it back.

"Before I became homeless, I became comfortable. I didn’t want to help anybody because I was too busy playing Play Station, sitting in the Jacuzzi, watching the big screen, working my own hours, and making good money. In essence, I had arrived as I had my own business. And, the complacency, I think it came back to bite me because when I had the house fire, I lost everything. So now, I had to be one of the people I was trying to help. It taught me that my worst day is someone else’s best day. So, be thankful for your problems and your bad times because you wouldn’t want to trade it with anyone else.

"I remember sitting in 2nd and D, having a pity party in the men’s shelter because they’re horrible. You get in there and the first thing you get is heat and feet. You’re on the top bunk. Then there’s lice, mice, flees, rats, roaches, hepatitis, tuberculosis, flu, mentally ill people, cross contaminated food and bathroom services, alcoholics, drug addicts and thieves. So, its hard to get any sleep there because you have to sleep with all of your stuff on and your gear. And while I was having a pity party, I looked over to the next bunk and there was a guy who had been a veteran with no legs and one arm. He had urinated and defecated himself in the bed and someone had to take him to the restroom and clean him up. When I saw that, I never looked back. I thought that could be me. From that point on, I realized that my worst day was someone’s best day. So, be thankful."

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