Homeless People Are Sharing The Things They Wish Other People Understood, And It's Eye-Opening

·6 min read

Reddit user kettlebellPony recently asked, "People who’ve experienced homelessness, what do you wish more people understood about being homeless?" and the answers are pretty eye-opening.

1."There are different levels of homelessness. First level is you don’t have a place of your own, but have friends or family you can stay with with little to no rent charges. This is usually temporary because you have a support system, and is caused by something generally quick to fix (like losing a job or your house getting damaged from something like a flood).

  Showtime
Showtime

"Second level is you don’t have friends or family to help, but you have a car, cheap RV, or 'fancy' tent you can stay in. You can work to pay basic bills, use a gym membership for a shower, etc. Third level is the worst. No job, no car, no help at all. You might get lucky enough to stay in an empty parking lot or tent city for a while, but there’s never consistency."

"I’ve only been through Level 1 and Level 2, thankfully, but I know people who went through the third level. It’s hell."

u/10GivingTrees

2."Once you've given someone money, it's not your money anymore. We can spend it however we want. I was a kid when I was homeless and I remember being cussed out because I used the money to watch a movie and eat popcorn by the guy that gave me it because 'it was meant for food' in the lobby."

—u/Available-Phone-7719

3."There are a lot more homeless children and teens out there that most would never notice because they 'couchsurf' with families that 'take them in' for a bit. The current system in place to take care of children is a massive joke."

u/Available-Phone-7719

4."Good luck staying in shelters if you have anything other than a first shift job."

—u/Scampipants

u/Scampipants

"I'd return from my night shift to the shelter, only for them to throw me out on the streets a couple hours later to go 'search for more work'."

u/aalios

Getty

5."It isn't as simple as 'just get a job.' Not having a permanent address makes it nearly impossible. Employers also know where the shitty neighborhoods that the effectively homeless often end up in or where the shelters are. The further down you go the harder it is to get a job."

"And the places that do intentionally hire from 'the bottom' do so as they know they can exploit you pretty badly in that situation. You need to get your hands on things like presentable clothes, savings, a functional car, and so forth to really get back on track. This can take months or years."

u/GargantuanCake

6."There is also no 'just go to school' option either. How can I go to school if I can't even afford to take the SAT, apply, or move even if I get accepted?"

—u/GargantuanCake
Szefei / Getty Images/iStockphoto

7."Sometimes making a good decision can leave you homeless. I hate the stigma. I'm homeless because I stood up for myself, not because I made a bad choice, but even if I did, nobody deserves this."

u/PopularAppearance228

8."I haven't personally been homeless, but I work with unhoused. Cash is king. Don't offer to buy things. They don't have room for it. Food is heavy to carry around. You have no claim on how they spend money you give them."

u/Scampipants

9."Don't make comments or complain if you see a person using the restroom at a business to clean up, resting on public transit, or sitting in a corner charging their phone. Many shelters won't allow people to rest during daylight hours and they often don't have a safe place to go."

—u/Polyfuckery
Getty

10."You gotta make hard choices everyday. You only have $5 in your pocket. Do I gas up or buy food? Gas gives me one more day of not being arrested by police for parking anywhere. I haven't eaten breakfast and lunch, but a friend from Church promised to treat me for dinner, so I guess it's gas today."

u/doth_taraki

11."Losing all the material possessions was the worst part for me. On the one hand, it's just stuff. On the other, it's stuff that represents your memories, preferences, accomplishments, etc."

—u/Notthesharpestmarble

12."It can happen to anyone. All that stuff you have, your job, your home, your partner, your pets, and your car is just one bad day away from going up in smoke. The average American doesn't have any savings, and if you lose your job it only takes a few missed rent payments before you're in trouble."

u/Xullister

"There's SOOO much truth in that short sentence. It can happen almost overnight."

u/Notthesharpestmarble

13."We desperately need more shelters that cater to the 16-20 year old demographic."

—u/ASynicalTgirl29

u/ASynicalTgirl29

"My daughter's youth group is trying to raise money and collect donations for the only teen shelter we have in our community and it’s crickets. They can’t create touching PR campaigns since they're not allowed to broadcast the teens faces, but when they did a similar one for the local animal shelter, we received SO MUCH support. It’s so frustrating how hard it is to get people to realize how serious it is for homeless young adults and teenagers."

u/Cola810

Getty

14."The loneliness is the toughest part. People treat you like garbage every single day."

u/BeanieGuy234

15."When you're homeless, you are without so much that others take for granted: clean, running water; sewer services; cover for weather; food source; bathing; privacy; safety."

—u/richardcraniumIII

16."It's hot as hell out here."

u/Grassyhobo

"Seriously though. Being stuck out at night, in super hot climates, with no way to cool down really messes with you...hard."

u/Udzinraski2

17."We need programs to help people in housing crises find temporary placement for their pets. Being torn away from them and not knowing if they’re safe is one of the worst feelings."

—u/PopularAppearance228

18."Being hungry changes how you think. A lot of people who believe they would always stick by their morals have never been truly desperate."

u/Delta_ASP

And finally...

19."That being homeless is expensive as fuck. You have no fridge or stove so you can only buy stuff that’s ready to eat, three times a day. If you want stuff that’s nutritious, that’s even more expensive. You can’t buy stuff on offer for later because you have nowhere to keep it. You can’t bulk buy cheap stuff because you have nowhere to put it. You can’t carry or wash cutlery or crockery so you buy disposable stuff constantly. Staying in a place for one night costs way more per night than rent."

—u/deskbookcandle
Johnnyscriv / Getty Images