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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Name:
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.

2.26.2005

First paycheck

Got my first paycheck yesterday,,,felt good. It was only for a week, I wont get my first full paycheck for two more weeks. I must have been accumalating good deed tokens. Thursday evening I got a visit from some of the people where I go to church again, you will remember last post they really did well by me.
Again they have done me a good deed. Many of themembers donate vehicles to charities. This time they donated one to me. I am now the proud owner of a 1999 ford f-150 pickup. High miles but , I have looked thru the maintainence records and they never missed a lube and oil change at 2000 miles. Not a scratch on it either. The seat has had a seatcover on it from the time it was new as well. I do need to get a batttery, the one in it is original and due to be replaced, as are the belts and it needs tires as well. BUT, can't complain. My boss's wife( she is the one that read my blog and got me hired to begin with) took me to the bank yesterday and to get tags as well. SO today I am driving myself! Oh I got insurance first thing this morning as well.
No tthat I will be driving much. But I do need to be able to get to the grocery store and other places on my own.
Like I said, I must have a bunch of tokens;)
Work is very good. I really like the men I am working with, and the work itself is great as well.
Needless to say I am happy.
OH , I think that it may be time for a new blog for me. I want to keep this one open because I have a few more things I want to post here. I need a name, any suggestions?
Also, since I got hired I have been offered 2 other jobs as well. One is full-time where I worked last year. Will expanded , therefore could hire me full-time. Of course I turned it down, but, I did talk him into hiring another homeless person.
Aslo I was offered a landscaping job, and I talked that man into hiring a homeless person as well.
Lastly, Will and I have talked alot since I was laid off about my ideas on the private sector funding non profits, and dissolving government grants altogether. Ok he will tell you I did the talking. Guess I did, guess it worked. I did a lot of research in regards to the tax laws( been awhile, but I used to do taxes on the side)
And I proved to him that it was a viable situation. And he in turn talked some of his buddies into going alog with him.
Right now I found a agency that deals with kids who have alcohol and drug problems. They have been thru about all the programs there are and this place is the their last chance. It was taking 30 kids , but due to grant cuts, only 20. Will and his gang restored the funding so they can get 30 kids into the program.
The other non profit is a home for abused women. They have lost about 30% of their funding in the past few years as well. Now they are 100% funded.
This may or may not work. But if you aren't part of the solution, you are part of the problem
See ya next week

2.20.2005

How it happened

I have to tell you it was really weird. At one point I thought I was gonna wake up. I just knew I was dreaming. Ok In chronological order.
Sat the 12th of Feb. I got an email from a lady who had been reading my Blog. She asked me to call a number if I wanted a job, so , naturally I called.
Her husband runs a custom cabinet shop and he needed someone to keep the place clean and to help load/unload, really about anything that needed done around the place. He offered me a job with benefits for 8 bucks an hour. Well I jumped on it. THEN...I found out where it was. About in another county, no bus service. Well not one to be detracted by the small stuff ( Ok maybe it wasn't small) during our conversation I told him about my experience in cabinet shops and that a few years ago,,,ok 12 years ago, I was Corian Certified ( I built solid surface countertops and went to the school the Corian factory provides.) Also that I had worked with the designers closely and did some custom edging, etc. For the FIRST time in all these years I have been homeless, someone actually called my references. He picked me up at 5 that evening and we went to his shop. Beautiful area, more suburban I guess than true country, but it was wonderful to me just to not see a sidewalk! He tested me on equipment and procedures, and hired me on the spot. He told me the wage and I am not sure I didn't lose conscience for a bit. I couldn't believe it. But the top shop man he had wanted to semi-retire and he needed someone with skills BAD. Still , in the back of my mind I was wondering how the heck I was going to get there. Then, it occurred to me that he still had the clean-up position available, and , just so happens, one of my friends lives in his VAN and needed a full-time job. I convinced him to hire not one, but two homeless persons. He laughed, said I needed to be in sales and that he needed his head checked.He took me back to Nashville and met his other new employee and left the two of us discussing everything.
I went to church Sunday morning feeling pretty good. I ride to church with a retired couple. I went to about 20 church's before I found this one. Its a beautiful place, the rear of the grounds borders the woods and I watch the deer and squirrels waiting on church to begin.
Now, no one , including the folks that pick me up know I am homeless. Never saw the need to tell anyone and they didn't ask. I don't look it for one thing.
Well that Sunday I told them about my new job and let it slip, that I was homeless.
Got real silent in that car, I can tell you. Mrs.M just turned around and looked at me and said,"Honey, are you sure?" I had to laugh. Not just laugh I was pretty well rolling around. Well I convinced her that I was pretty sure I was homeless. And they actually took it will, at least I felt they did. I actually told them to pull over if they felt like it and I would get out. I didn't want to cause anyone to feel uneasy around me. Mr M told me to shut up!
Before church , they have a little area with coffee, donuts, juice, etc, set up and usually I grab some juice and watch Mother Nature.
That morning, two of the church elders sat down beside me and asked me about being homeless. Again, I figured that I would be asked to leave, but they were so nice and truly interested about me.I didn't hold anything back, too late for that.
After church I was waiting on Mr. and Mrs M and about 15 people came up to me and congratulated me on my job! And wished me well.( word DOES travel fast I guess) Also, more of the leaders of the church asked me for a word with them. I don't know why that when you are homeless or in a similar state you always fear the worst. Human nature I guess. Again I feared the worst, only to be greatly surprised.
Seems one of the church members lived close to where I was going to work. They just happened to have a garage apartment for rent.( Their son and his girlfriend had recently moved to another state and they just hadn't gotten around to renting the place yet.) Well, I didn't have two nickels to rub together and was trying to think fast about what to do.
didn't have to worry, the church paid my all my deposit, and 6 months rent.
Somewhere about this time I pinched myself. This was just way too good to be true, the proverbial other shoe was gonna drop!
SO..After church, Mr and Mrs M drove me to meet my buddy in the van and I told him I had a place, that he didn't have to worry about me getting there. Then we went to pick my things up, I proved to Mrs M I WAS homeless. She cried, sweet soul.
We then drove out to my new place. Its not only close. I can see the building where I work. They got me all moved in( took all of about a minute) and they headed home.
Some furniture is in the place. including a TV with satellite dish.I have to say its a pretty nice place. Quiet, clean, there is a pasture with some Angus cattle in it in the backyard.
Panic time again.WHAT THE HECK AM I GOING TO EAT FOR TWO WEEKS! This time real panic. Water can last you for so long, but if you are working you need food.
About 8 PM, the doorbell rang ( I HAVE A DOORBELL!!!!!!)
Too good to be true, ladies from the church had housewarming gifts for me. FOOD, toiletries, sheets, blankets, washing detergent, everything a person could think of and more.
I don't really know what I did to deserve all this, but I am thankful for it.
I wont be online alot, today is thanks to a friend who brought me to the library today and is getting ready to take me home. OH, the job is great!! I am working 10 hour days, and I am beat when I get in , but its a good kind of tired. I will post more on the job next week.
I owe alot of people thanks,

2.19.2005

HI all

I dont know if its blogger or the computers here or what, but its tough getting anything posted today.
I got a job, great pay($16.25 per hour) , and ,,,,,,I am now to be known as no longer homeless. Thru the kindness of some folks where I go to church, I have an apartment within site of where I work. AND its out in the country. Well sort of, just a little outside the city limits , but I have deer and turkey in the backyard.
I am about as happy as one person can be.
More details later. I promise.I hope I can get this thing posted before my time runs ou t.

2.16.2005

working

Hello everyone, I am working for a few days and won't be able to be here until probably the weekend. See y'all soon

2.12.2005

Homeless Vets Buried With Honors

Here is a story I think everyone should read.
Homeless Vets get buried with honors
I hope everyone has a wonderful weekend

2.09.2005

Addition to 2.09.2005

I would like to continue this discussion, from the last post.
It's a subject I believe is worthy of discussion and contemplation. Please read the previous post before moving on.
Lets look at the federal budget.I think most Americans believe the federal government is the proverbial "800 pound gorilla".
Not only because of the huge budget it incurs, but just that the scope of the government is too broad. The politicians who supposedly represent the people , now pay more attention to the lobbists than their own constituents.

When the U S Constitution was established it gave the Federal government limited powers.The 10th Amendment declared all powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the states, are to be reserved to the states respectively , or to the people.Over the years however we have allowed federal government powers to increase. Especially in the area of social programs. Our individual states have to deal with policy concerning education, poverty and homelessness . Why have the federal government do trying to do the same thing at that level. Needless redundancy.
When did the federal government decide to be all things to all people?
Before the New Deal came long the poor and those afflicted with disease, both physical and mental, relied on churches and charities.
But during the Great depression, millions of Americans became dependent upon these sources and they weren't equipped to handle the need. President Roosevelt, along with Congress wrote legislation,"The New Deal", to provide federally-funded aid.
Programs like the WPA(Work Projects Adminstration),AFDC(Aid to Families with dependent Children) and Social Security were created. This also was the start of the shift towards more government control and involvement in the day-to-day lives of Americans.
In the 1960's President Johnson's War on Poverty was begun. "The Great Society" it was termed.
President Nixon created SSI (Supplemental social Security) and expanded the Food Stamp program.
All of these programs have had from 30 to 60 years to do their work. Have they? or is it still status quo? Are people still without jobs? Without training? Are we actually tackling the problem or throwing money at it, in an attempt to "plug the dike"?
President Reagan stated in 1981, "the federal government is not part of the solution, but part of the problem."
In 1994 , one of the main focuses of Congress was as John Kasich from Ohio put it"to return money, power and responsibility to the states".
President Clinton, in his 1996 State of the Union address declared that"the era of big government is over", by proposals that granted states more power in operating programs.
Its a start.
1996 President Clinton signed the Personal Responsibility and work Opportunity Act, ending direct guaranteed cash assistance to poor families with children and giving the state the authority to run their own welfare programs thru block grants. The federal government had allowed welfare to become a lifelong entitlement. A "government job" for many.
The federal government was way to bureaucratic and inefficient to properly administer any program.

In 1997 at the President's Summit for America's future, Clinton said that "much of the work [of America] cannot be done by government alone. The solution must be the American people through voluntary service to others."
Adults and students alike volunteer with local charity groups and help take a fiscal load off these groups. But there are many jobs within programs such as giving counseling that need full time case workers.
Here we can go to the private sector, which relies on tax breaks and tax incentives to operate at a fiscally sound means. How?
By tying in these incentives to helping finance and support our educational, health and human services programs.

I have only a couple of hours a day here in the library, so I will try my best to get as much of this written as possible each day

2.09.2005

Good morning to all!

Job creation is expensive, but so is joblessness. The true cost of creating jobs for everyone who wants to work is the difference between the cost of creating the jobs and the costs of unemployment that governments already bear. Creating jobs for all might end up saving taxpayers more money than it costs them.
Philip Harvey
Makes sense to me. Give a person a job and increase the tax roles. Decrease welfare, unemployment,etc. But who do we have to convince of this?
There are other effects of being jobless and homeless. Many homeless eventually reach a point that there is a loss of motivation to not work, but in many cases to try to distance themselves from life in general.
Skills of blue collar workers deteriorate, with lack of use. A persons self-esteem and self-confidence are eroded.
Health problems multiply. Both physical and mental.
Who do we have to convince of this?
The President has few choices. Cutting taxes for those who create jobs, thus freeing up funds for them. Rolling back regulations on industry( California has about regulated themselves out of most industry), or maybe working to expand current foreign markets or find new ones.
States have about the same venues open as well.
Its really NOT a government issue. But the government can help out.
Its up to business's to find the solutions.
Who do we have to convince of this?

Each other. One person at a time we have to convince them that there are people who want to work, who want a better life. And that they need a job that pays a living wage.

2.08.2005

Some sad news

I am new at this blogging thing. And recently a person gave me some encouragement and it helped a great deal. I was surfing around checking on some blogs that I regularly read and I have found that he is no longer blogging.
The Grumpy "Old" Man was, no, IS a wonderful writer and I hate to see him go. But I understand his reasoning. And totally agree with him. I hope one of these days to get back my life and I don't want to be known as the formerly homeless man. Just known for me, who I am, what I bring to the table.
I hope he drops in from time to time.

2.08.2005

I think I do have "bloggers block". I have so much I would like to say , but its just not coming thru on the screen. I hope the problem alleviates itself soon!

2.07.2005

2.07.2005

Hello everyone, I hope you are having a wonderful day.
Ever have one of those days when you really wanted to say something, just didn't k now how to get it out on the screen? I am having that kind of day. Sort of like there is a stop sign in my brain!
Being homeless has changed me. I don't know if its for the better, but I have changed. Its not something I would recommend, even for the experience. I have seen so many things first hand that many people don't or won't ever see. Not all of it good either. It has gotten to the point that very little surprises me.
I have been a person who always took up for people. Now, on the street, its taking your life into your own hands to do that. I still do, but, afterwards, I always have this feeling "this will be the last time".
Its just not coming today. Sorry, hopefully tomorrow it will.
Have a wonderful evening.

2.05.2005

2.05.2005

Ahh the weekend. Good morning everyone.
Super Bowl weekend. The one football game most everyone watchs, mostly to see the commercials.I guess I will go to a friends tomorrow and be one of the crowd.
Its so nice in Nashville today, looks to be about 60 degrees. Looking at my hit counter I realized I was coming up on 1000 visitors. Thats pretty cool I think. I know some just surfed in , but latley I have had a small but loyal contingent of readers. Thanks to all.
Have a great weekend. I am going out to enjoy a little sunshine.

2.04.2005

2.04.2005

Good morning everyone! I you are all safe and sound.

It is impossible to defeat an ignorant man in argument.

William G. McAdoo(1863-1941)
Ever try to explain something to someone who has a pre-conceived notion of things? Impossible to get them to see the light. Homeless face this everyday. The pre-conceived notion is that if you are homeless, you are dirty, a bum, lazy ,alcoholic, drug user,ignorant and a criminal.
Labels.We label everything these days, from food to the sticker on a car at a dealer. you can find lots of useful information on some lables.But what other group of humans would carry the lable "dirty"?
I get labeled that yet I shower everyday, many times twice a day. My clothes, while not from Brooks Bros. are clean. I shave daily, my hair is trimmed. Yet, I am homeless. Dirty? No.
A bum?I ask nothing from anyone , except for a job. I did receive some gifts from friends for Christmas , so maybe I am a bum. Wait! I seem to recall a few million others getting gifts then too. Are we all bums?No.
Lazy. I walk about 10 miles per day. When I had a job last summer it was even more. I would get up n the morning, walk to work. It was about 3 miles. Walk to shower and do my laundry in the evenings. Walk to get something to eat. Walk home.
I pick up cans to feed myself. Have never turned down any job offered to me. Lazy? No.
Ignorant. I have a degree in American History. Grew up in the country where you learn to use common sense. Ignorant? No.
Criminal? Last ticket I got was in 1974. Speeding when I was a kid. Criminal? No.
Alcoholic or drug user? Last beer I had was 3 years ago, I was never a drinker. Never used drugs I my life. Even when friends were pot smoking, I turned it down. Abuse problems? No.
Labels. Do homeless deserve the labels we get? In some cases the labels are true. There are homeless who are dirty, lazy, uneducated ,criminal, substance abusers and even more.But not all. Just like all people who are CEO's are not like the Rigas' or Scrushy's of the world.
Labels.

It is impossible to defeat an ignorant man in argument.

2.03.2005

50-50 rule

I just found this,,,,it rings pretty true for life

The 50-50-90 rule:
Any time you have a 50-50 chance of getting something right,
there's a 90% probability you'll get it wrong.

2.03.2005

Hello! And a Good morning to all!
Great day today! A little dreary out, but the sun is coming!. Thanks to all who have written and left comments here, you are all greatly appreciated.
Went to check on a couple of jobs this morning, and I am headed out in a few minutes to check on one more. I am HOPING that something breaks for me. Yesterday, being out of the city , helping a friend move, it made me want even more to get back to the country. Back to where I am happiest. Wish I could raise a vegetable garden the is year. I haven't had one in a long time.We stopped at a greenhouse yesterday and got some tomatoes. Yes they were raised in the greenhouse. But they are picked ripe, not green like you get in the stores. Such wonderful flavor!
It was pretty good to sleep in an actual bed too!!!! I REALLY miss that!
Well. I am off to check on a job. No big news on the blog today. But I promise to rant some tomorrow!
Have a wonderful day everyone. Thanks for stopping by to visit.

2.01.2005

Next couple of days

I will probably be gone. Tomorrow, a group of us are helping a friend's Ex-wife move into a larger home. Then I will be back out on the job trail the next day.
Stay tuned, have a great week everyone.

2/1/2005

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.