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.



Dependency. What is it? The dictionary would tell us that it is the lack of dependence or self-suffiency. I believe that when a person first becomes homeless, they often slide into a form of dependency. You find a homeless shelter. There you get 3 of the 4 things we all must have to survive. Food, clothing, shelter.Work is the 4th. Relying on the mission, Room in the Inn, and other programs fosters this dependency. I have seen men who I knew were new on the streets, they would work their tails off to find jobs. Most end up at the temp services, working for nearly nothing. The slide starts. The dependency starts. You see others, they get up, wait in line for breakfast, sit around all morning, wait in line for lunch , sit around in the afternoons and wait in line for supper. Then they sit thru "chapel" services and go to bed. You begin the same lifestyle. OH you will never be like them, but, hey its cold out and there will probably be no work at the temp service, so why not hang out here. Just for today. Maybe a day next week. A couple of days a week. Dependency.
We have homeless that come into Nashville just for the Room in the Inn program. Clothes, showers, meals, shelter, all provided.
Don't get me wrong, there has to be a place for homeless to stay, to eat and get clothing. But for all the programs these shelters do, none are helping anyone find jobs.The one thing that actually would remove them from the program rolls and put them back on the payrolls.
Why is that? Money. If you are the head of a shelter , one that gets no government funding, how do you run the shelter? Donations. Large donations. Ok, there are some good hearted people out there willing to finance such an operation. Everything is fine for a few years, but there needs to be raises given, maintenance needs to be done. Costs are going up, well you need more donations. How do you get them. NUMBERS.Very simple. The more people you have , the more money you need, the more you can get these good hearted folks to give. Check out the missions website. The top of the page where their links are. What is the first one?DONATE. Look at the picture. That's the image most people have of homeless. Not that there aren't homeless that have that look, but not all of us.But would it be a draw to place someone who was clean shaven, had some decent clothes on there? Ok, now look at the letter from the President. I didn't see the first reference to a homeless person there, did you? Move to the bottom of the page under

Lives you have touched
The last line. Employment secured. Not one has been a homeless man. They only will work with you if you are in their "program".Even if you have no alcohol or drug problem. You have to get with the"program" to obtain help.
Dependency. They want you dependent on them. Even in the Presidents letter he wrote about "Rob". He was there , so far, 3 times. I never saw a mention of "Rob" being homeless. Many are not in the program. And I am not saying they shouldn't have a drug and alcohol program. But don't use the homeless to draw donations, then give them the crumbs of what's left , after everyone else picks.
Why would they want a homeless man to stay there and not move on? I think you have answered that in your own mind. The more people they have, the greater the need, they get more donations. It's like the Hotel California. You can check out anytime you like, but you may never leave.
Room in the Inn, I am sure is a wonderful program. But what could all those church's do if they banded together and actually found JOBS, for the homeless they are now providing food, shelter and clothing to?
I' am not saying all programs are like this, but I do believe , unless they are moving the homeless back into mainstream society, they are doing a disservice to the homeless and to those who donate.


Blogger tammi said...

Your blog is very touhing.This is why I always say "why don't our govt. stop and take a look at what is going on HERE in the U.S. instead of everywhere else!"
Thanks for your terrific blogging!I just got out of a week long stay at the hospital,so I'm catching up on what I've been missing.
Keep up the terrific blogging! It helps enlighten those that have never been exposed to the streets!
Your new bud,

8:02 AM  
Blogger No soup for you! said...

Wow Fred! That was such a great post and an interesting read! My first thoughts were about my own writings about people and situations I've encountered in my work. I hesitated for a long time about sharing that information with others. I change the names and some details to protect their right to privacy.

There is such apathy toward people in need, including the homeless, that I've found it helps break through that apathy if people have a personal story that debunks myths, or agrees with the stereotype yet provides some background as to how and why.

A great writer and psychatric survivor, Pat Capponi, wrote of what she calls 'co managing the shit pile'. About how institutions and organizations perpetuate the poverty and need to improve their own standing as 'helpers' and ensure they will always have a job. I 100% agree with her insight, and yours.

Good luck with your job search!

8:09 AM  
Blogger Fred F. said...

Thanks to both of you. I hope no one thinks that I blame any progam or shelter for the place I am in. For they are not to blame. But I do think that there are too many people who are not educated properly to handle the jobs they are in with in the shelter and homless program system.

11:17 AM  
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