Homeless Nashville

How do you describe being homeless? Growing up in a middle class family, doing all the right things. Then one day, you are on the street.What Happens now?

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Location: Nashville, Tennessee, United States

Now that I am no longer homeless, I still hope to help others. There are a few who truly want off the streets, out of the soup lines. Back to a "normal" way of living. Everyone who is homeless isn't a bum, nor a criminal. There are those that just need a chance. My first day as a homeless person was April 1st, 1997. From then on its been an unreal experience. Not one I would suggest anyone go thru, but one I know I have learned from. I hope in some way this blog helps you, the reader know a little about me. But more important , I hope it helps you understand a little more about homeless people in general.

1.11.2005

My Story 3

Life at the Nashville Mission.
Wow! The first day I walked to the mission, I could smell it before I could see it.
I had looked in the phone book to find a mission. Back home there were two in the local city, I know because from the time I was a kid , my Grandparents always took part of our harvest to them. When I reached adulthood, I did the same. Now I was looking to benefit from someone else's charity.
The old Nashville mission was dirty, bug and rat infested, reeked of human body odors. And that was on the good days. At that time I had some part time jobs. I worked at the Municipal Auditorium whenever they had a show on the cleanup crew. One weekend a month I went to the Fairgrounds and worked unloading and loading back up the flea-marketers.
The Auditorium job was great. I could get there at 7 or 8 in the evening and nap until time to work at around 10:30 or 11:00. It was clean-up work of course, but easy and the pay wasn't too bad, all cash. The supervisor loved to see me come. She knew that the area I was assigned would get clean and they wouldn't get a hard time from me. I would finish up my assigned areas before 2 a.m., then I had the rest of the night to sleep. I even had a storage area with a cot in it she let me use.I worked there for two years. Then the company that took over wouldn't allow homeless to work. Shame, because the city saved money and the homeless benefited as well.
The Fairgrounds flea-market used to be a good money maker as well. I would unload vendors on Friday( I had my own "customers" who would wait on me to unload them ) then on Sundays, load them all back up in their wehicles. On most weekends I made $200.00, sadly the Fairgrounds is being run in the ground by mis-management.
Back to the mission. I usually make friends very easily, but now I didn't know whom to trust and was pretty wary. I did however meet two wonderful gentlemen. I will call them S and G. S was about 5 years my senior, the most talented artistic person I have ever known. A educated, wonderful conversationalist, he and I spent a lot of time talking about everything under the sun. S was diagnosed schizophrenic with depression as well. And he didn't function well outside the walls of the mission. I learned that in almost 8 years he had left the mission only abut a half dozen times.He was never married and from what I gather had been on the streets of Nashville since about 1978.He didn't trust many people, although he was friendly with all. I counted and still count him as my friend.
G. G was comical at times. In an accident years earlier( he was hit in the head by the forks on a forklift)he now had seizures at an alarming rate as a result. But, he would laugh constantly, even at himself. Music was is thing, especially the old heavy metal groups. G was married at one time, and from what I could make out he had children, but as most homeless was not willing to discuss details.
There is somewhat of a happy ending to the story of these two. Fast friends , they looked out for one another. G was able to get some Government help, enough that he was able to get housing. And of course he took his buddy S with him. I haven't seen them in awhile, but last time, they were getting along fine. My prayers are that that harmony continues.

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