Story of Hope: Why I’m Homeless

Why don’t you go and work?

Homeless people hear this comment most often. But it fundamentally misunderstands and refuses even to consider what the person is actually going through. Many homeless people suffer from mental illness or other conditions that prevent employment. Or they’re on the streets because they once had a job but suffered an injury that ended their ability to work.


Dear homeless person

In a world where society is commonly taught to ignore you, I recognize you. In a world where adults teach you to look the other way, I look into your eyes. In a place where the culture is to disregard your existence, I see you. As civilians, we're taught at a young age that you are “a danger, a druggie, and resonate laziness.” You are a “bum on the streets” only looking for “money to feed your addiction.” This is what we are taught. But to the ignorant minds out there, what they do not realize is that you are one of us.

You are a neighbor, you are a brother, you are a son, and you are human. You may have encountered a series of unfortunate events that have led you to this point in your life, but you also may have had little control of your circumstances. I was one of those who were ignorant at some point in my life. However, unlike much of society, I took the opportunity to educate myself.

I want you to know I do not judge you. I do not criticize you. The reason of why or how you are sitting on the streets is not my verdict to judge. We have all made mistakes, and yours do not make you any less of a person than me. What individual made it acceptable to neglect the existence of another human being? If “pride” is something society puts on such a pedestal, why is it that we cannot empathize with those who are in need of our help the most?

I’m sorry for the times I haven't always given you the respect that you deserve. I’m sorry for staring straight at the red light, anxiously waiting for it to turn green so I wouldn't have to make eye contact with you on the street corner. I'm sorry for not always saying hello when I walk past you. Forgive me for my ignorance. Although I am praying for you, I pursue change in other areas of our society. I pray that the world will see you as an equal, and that we will learn to empathize with you and not judge you. I pray that society will offer what they have to you rather than continue to take the things that they don't need. I hope that society stops seeking happiness in material things and begins seeking joy from helping others, helping you.

You are not invisible. You are important and you have a purpose in this life. You inspire me to count my blessings every day and appreciate the little things. As I write this to you, I hope that it reaches a greater population. I hope others are able to learn something that will hopefully change their insensitivity to you. I hope they become educated, and learn that you are simply another individual living in this world, just another version of them. And most of all, I pray that you never give up on this world.


Nicolle Marshall