Wandering No More

I've been on both sides of this issue, as receiver and provider. I was homeless for six years. I usually stayed in shelters because I felt safer there than on the streets. At least the shelters were staffed, and they were relatively safe. In the summer, I occasionally slept outside at night because I didn't want to follow the rules and regulations of the shelters. Now, I volunteer at my church where we provide meals and a place to sleep one night a week. It's been a blessing to me to serve alongside those who once served me in my time of need, and to give back to the people who I once lived among. My tenure as a homeless man ended after six long years (almost to the day!) when I was approved to move into a low-income housing unit exclusively for the homeless, to provide them a room to call their own and get them adjusted to living at "home" again. It was such a blessing to sleep in a real bed, to close - and lock! - the door behind me, to shower whenever I wanted, etc. I lived in that room four years, until Sept 2008, when I moved to a 1BR apt owned by Seattle Housing Authority. This is the first real apartment I've had in 10 years.

And, I like where I live, both inside and out. I deliberately picked this building because I know a couple people who have lived here for many years, and because it is in the neighborhood where I feel most comfortable and familiar with the surroundings. Everything I need is within walking distance of my apartment, including 4 grocery stores, several pharmacy/drugstores, public library, community college, even a medical clinic should I decide to change providers (which I'm not yet ready to do, despite how far away my current dr is). The only thing is, I moved further away from my church. I was able to walk there in 10 minutes, but now it's more like a 30-minute walk. (I've done it a few times.) But I can walk 2-3 blocks to the bus stop and catch a bus that will take me there.

So I'm grateful to be living indoors, in a place I can call my own. And I still try to help others who are in that predicament, whether by their own choice or not.

timotito timotito
41-45, M
5 Responses Feb 24, 2009

Well, OK, here I am and I have no idea where to start. Well, first off, I'm homeless (again) but this time it's up here in Seattle. It's not as though I never amounted to anything, I'm a Viet Nam vet and a disabled nurse having worked in that field for nearly 30 years. Divorced, broken hearted, physically in pain most days, but even with the homelessness, the hardest part of my days is knowing I lost the love of my life over a stupid, silly mistake. It's been 33 years since I've seen her, and the worst part is knowing she left me over something I didn't even do (cheat on her) but she believes it and that's what matters. I was even naive enough to think that since God knows I'm innocent, that He would champion my cause and bring her back to me, but that's not the way real life usually works. I've been reading about how 'just existing' isn't a good enough reason to live, but honestly, I'm completely exhausted and 'just exist' and wait for the tide to turn is what I've been doing for longer than many of you have been alive. signed, crippled in ways that you cannot see, Seattle (I guess I just really wanted to be on your prayer lists, thanks)

I have been homeless for about a year now, bouncing from shelter to shelter. You make an important point here that most bureaucrats and politicians miss. It is not enough to get a roof over a persons head (though it's a start). The homeless, like everyone else, need to feel as if their life has some purpose, that they have something of value to contribute to the world they inhabit. To simply exist is not enough. <br />
In my own case I believe there is a reason (known only to God) for my homelessness and I have no problem putting my future in his hands for better or worse.

Thank you for sharing this wonderful story with us. It's heartwarming to hear that you're in a better place now and that you're giving back to those less fortunate by volunteering with your church.

i wish you the best of luck. you sound like a very strong person who doesnt give up. your story would be inspiring too the many others who are facing the challenges you did. i congragulate you for taking charge and making your own life better.

thats a long time ---6 yrs. i was homeless but only 2 weeks and then started working and moving etc..... good for you ill be praying for you