I discovered a WordPress blog not too long ago by someone who calls himself chihomelessguy, and his posts embody everything I’ve been trying to say about how people need to stop stereo-typing street people and get to know each individual’s story.
This blogger is not alcoholic or a drug addict, nor is he suffering from a mental illness. He started his life in Chicago with a job, a girlfriend, and a garden apartment. He has a Bachelors degree in Information Technology. He is a former Navy man. He has experience working with his hands since he installed commercial flooring at a journeyman level during his college years.
So what happened to make him homeless? Life happened, baby, that’s all, just down and dirty, shit-out-of-luck life. The company he was working for lost its contract. Companies hurting in this economy aren’t hiring new workers and even low-paying grunt jobs reject him as over-qualified.
He sold belongings and clothes trying to get by, but now all he has left are his truck and his iPhone. He clings to these as a lifeline. The truck means a roof over his head–a cold, cramped, and in-danger-of-being-towed-every-night roof. His phone is his best chance of getting out of this rut, allowing him access to job sites, a number for potential employers to call, a “front,” if you will, to anyone talking to him on the other end that he’s just a normal, everyday guy looking for a job.
Because people are reluctant to hire the homeless, thinking that’s just asking for personnel issues down the road.
I am impressed with chihomelessguy’s sincerity, intelligent posts, and tenacity. While I’m often a skeptical person, I’ve grown to believe he is who is says he is, is doing all he can to change things, and isn’t trying to scam anyone with the social networking platform he is building to improve his lot. I’ve been fooled in the past, don’t get me wrong, but this guy has me convinced he’s on the up and up. If anyone wants to prove me wrong, I’m open to that. Bring it.
So I’ve been trying to decide what I can do to try to help him if I can, without making it seem like I want to steal his thunder, use him for my own selfish purposes, or shove him down anyone’s throat. He has a Twitter feed and Facebook page in addition to his blog, and if there’s one thing Homeless in Seattle taught me, it’s that spreading news about people’s stories is the best way to change a person’s life.
So that’s what I’m going to do. Be prepared to read a lot of re-blogged posts by this guy on my website here. If you follow me on Facebook and Twitter, anytime he posts there, you’re likely to see me reposting and retweeting him. If you don’t like that, go ahead and unSubscribe, unFriend, and unFollow me. I won’t mind. It’s not like I’ve got a lot of followers anyway.
And be forewarned that if I run across any other people like him, I might do the same for them, also. In fact, if you know someone who is trying to improve their lot by sharing their story and struggles, let me know and I’ll give them the same air time. Like I said, it’s not that I have a ton of people paying attention to me, but I have a few, at least for now, and word of mouth starts by telling at least one person something they should know.
Want to follow chihomelessguy directly? Here’s his links below:
“The Chronicles of a homeless man in Chicago”