When I met Derrick, he wasnt homeless. Even though I wrongly profiled him, and regretted doing so, he told me that I shouldn't and that he glad that I did. Derrick said that that's how he see's the good in people, when they have an immediate impulse to help others. Derrick had been homeless for 15 years of his life, and he's seen how people are taught to think with their head first, instead of their heart, and that's a stigma. A stigma against people like him.
Due to the continuing nationwide pandemic, outreach for Naming the Homeless has been stalled due to health concerns. Although we haven't been able to conduct interviews for new content, we never stopped spreading awareness. Next month on NamingtheHomeless.com, we will be featuring never before seen interviews from our archives that relate to present day social issues. Thank you for sticking around and continuing to name the homeless with us, one story at a time.
My first experience with a homeless person was being told not to talk to them. Not because they didn't want me to, but I wanted to give the young girl my silver dollar and they were trying to teach me not to hand out money. Eventually they gave in, having no idea how this moment would influence me in the future. Keep reading to learn about my first experience with a homeless person.
Michael has been homeless for about a year now, and the thing that he struggles with most is the way that he is treated by those around him. He now feels a disconnect from society, which he feels only adds to his disadvantages that homelessness causes. "Honestly, I wouldn't even get into words with that because, it just wouldn't be right," he said. "The words I've got for it are just mean words, because I hate that, I hate the way that they treat people." There are many things that Michael wishes he could change about his situation, one of the most pressing issues being the way that he is perceived by others. "Help one person at a time. Anything helps, it doesn't even matter. Food, anything, that helps. It helps a lot," he said. "And you can't help everybody, but you can help someone." Watch his full story here:
After graduating high school with a seventh grade education due to a learning disability, Turhan has worked his entire adult life to support himself--until now. "Labor is my only skill," he said, "if I can't lift anything, I can't work." At age 49, he developed an inguinal hernia that caused him constant pain and left him out of work and, because it's technically not an injury that he sustained while on the job, he never received workers' compensation. "That really hurt my feelings," Turhan said, "I'm a loyal employee, I put everything into my work because it's all I have... I couldn't understand why they wouldn't help me." Unable to work and with no other source of income, Turhan turned to the streets, where everyday is a battle with depression for him. "I don't want to hurt myself--I want to recover," Turhan said. Read more to find out what happens next.
Tamika graduated college. In fact, she went to my university, Rowan, and got a degree in business. From there she began gaining more work experience and a thirst to see the world. To celebrate her success she would travel the country with her family and boyfriend of 10 years. In May, her boyfriend passed away. Tamika couldn't believe it. She began to struggle to support herself on her own and found herself on the streets. She used to look down on the homeless and now she is one of them. Read more to find out what happens next.
Something to know about me: I have three half sisters, even though I never think of them as anything less than a sister that I care about very much. Jasmine is my youngest sister and the only one that lives in the same house as me. She turned nine years old just last month. Ever since I started this blog she has been begging to be a part of it in any way she can. She even attended an interview with us one weekend. She had her pad with her to take notes and came up with her own question, I was very proud of her. Recently she done something that is above and beyond what she has already contributed. This is my message to her:
Jeanette's interview was completely unexpected, we had originally finished our interview for the day with Belinda. We were on our way back to the train station, passing out sandwiches along the way, when we saw Jeanette walking away from the station. We stopped her and asked her if she would like our last sandwich and her reaction was priceless. She claimed that our approaching her was a message sent from her children in heaven that they are watching over her. She admitted that she was feeling a little down that day and that our kindness really meant a lot to her. Jeanette is not homeless, she lives in a personal care home. Before she moved to the home she was homeless for two years and her story and all that she has endured throughout her 70 years is nothing short of incredible. *The spelling of Janette's name has been corrected.