What's It Really Like to be homeless or live below the poverty level?
Imagine it is 20 degrees outside or a heat index of 100. I may or may not have shoes or a coat, a hat, or gloves. I may have a tent, live under a bridge, or in the park. I may have found an alley that has a small amount of shelter, or I may sleep in a port a potty or dumpster. If it rains, I have no way to dry my belongings. If I have a blanket, it may freeze or be soaking wet.
I may not have eaten today, or yesterday, or even the day before.
I may work. If I do, there are many challenges. How do I get clean? The clothes I have on are the only clothes I have. Anything I walk away from or leave will be stolen from me. I'm robbed regularly. I can only keep what I can carry, often in a small backpack if I have one. I typically walk miles to work and carrying all of my belongings. My shoes may have holes and my feet may hurt or blistered. I may be cold, smell, and need a shave. I walk long distances to get washed up, or I might even use the river.
I may have been in jail. I may owe money for child support and I am saving up to have a place of my own. I may have a problem with addiction. I may have lost a spouse, child, job, house, or my entire family.
Rats are a huge problem. I have to be careful where I eat and go to the bathroom to keep them away. Rats may have eaten through my clothes, cans of food, and even my cooler if I am lucky enough to have one.
I may be partially blind or disabled. I may be a parent, a grandparent, a veteran, a relative, a friend, or even a child. I may have been raped, possibly even in a shelter. I may be on the streets waiting for space to open up in a shelter. I may be newly homeless or I may have been living on the street for a year or more. I may be saving money for rent, or a security deposit, or a bus ticket to see my child.
I may have been robbed and I no longer have identification or a drivers license. This makes it difficult to open a bank account, get a job, cash a check, or find a place to live.
I may lose faith that people care about me. I may have been spit on or called horrible names.
I am often embarrassed of my circumstances and may not want to ask for help.
I may be sick. I may be dying. I am most certainly the strongest person you will ever meet!
How Does Mission from Mars Help?
The goal of Mission From Mars is to create a community of like-minded men and women who feel compelled to help the homeless and those that live below the poverty level. We want you to find a place to serve within our street ministry, when you don’t know where or how.
Photo Credit: Wrangler