I’ve never spoken with a homeless person, let alone shaken their hand.
Today I had the opportunity to meet Mike and Bob (Mike is on the left in the photo). Over the past few weeks I have noticed them near a busy intersection and wondered what was their story. When near an intersection, or sometimes in the median, Mike holds up a small, worn cardboard sign that says, “homeless vet”.
Both are homeless and struggling through life. I asked where they stay, they said, “wherever…with friends, shelters, outside, etc.”.
Mike told me he got out of the service in 1996. Bob wasn’t in the service. Mike is still married, but separated. His wife stays in the South O area. I asked how often they see each other and he said that they talk on the phone almost every day. [Interesting commentary on the importance or value of a cell phone].
They both described for me the challenges they face. Difficulty in getting work, even temporary. Mounting bills. Transportation challenges. Healthcare. [Bob has considerable back issues and had surgery last May. Now going through therapy].
I asked them what they would want me to say in my blog. They both chimed in, “It’s hard being homeless…..damn tough.”
I asked how much they get during a day when they are at the intersection. They said that on a good day they might get $40 to $50. So, today was a good day!
I mentioned that I work in the area, but that I hope they get on their feet….hope that I don’t see them again. They kind of smiled and agreed.