Runaways: For whatever set of reasons, some children have become homeless in America. Some are children who run away from home thinking they will be better off not living with their parents or guardians. Some children are born in hospitals only to live on the streets. They may live their entire life as a nomadic person, their parents staying one step ahead of local child protective services.
In the moment of anger, a child may say they are going to run away from home, and eventually, some do. These children grow up quickly, their childhood is stripped from them. They become prey to older children and adults. They in turn learn how to survive the brutality of living and existing on the streets. You may see people with stolen shopping carts or backpacks with their possessions – they are the “rich” ones. Mainly any possessions that runaways have are quickly taken from them by predators soon after leaving the protection of the home.
Shelter: If they are lucky, they might be able to get in line at a homeless shelter daily for the night sleeping arrangement, many do not. Pictures of people who live in state government purchased tents cities and having port-a-potties and one meal a day is a temporary condition that changes like the wind of administrations and state facilities do not guarantee safety. The remaining people like on East Lancaster a population center for the homeless sleep on the streets. They sleep with newspaper or cardboard in their clothes as most street burning bins are prohibited.
Cleanliness: Bathing opportunities are mostly non-existent as they are not welcomed into businesses to clean up themselves, and when they do get the opportunity they are putting back on their dirty, and stinking clothes. Clothing is another issue. Seasons in Texas roll into each other with hot – freezing- then warm days, rain, or wind or shine. They depend on charities to give them clothes donated by other people. A lot of the charities like goodwill charge a fee for the clothing. The truly free clothes closets limit how many changes (usually two) that a person can have per month or just a one-time annual service.
Survival: It is a fact that continual deprivation of basic privileges of food, water, shelter, and protection from the elements breaks the psychological and sociological soul of a person. Many become users of illegal drugs or illegal users of someone else’s stolen prescription drugs. Drugs are easy to come by if you are willing to break the laws of society or allow your body to be used by others. Many people have forms of mental illness like PDST as a result of being on the streets. Free counselors are few in number. Free psychiatrists and prescribed medications are almost non-existent. Medications for psychological treatments can cost thousands of dollars monthly; a cost that most people can not afford.
Medical: Free clinics are hesitant to prescribe mental health medications or any requested medication. They mainly cover colds, flues, and injuries. Lice are considered a social issue, therefore, not a disease. Most people with mental health issues do not think they have a problem or that they need a treatment plan.
Harassment: People call in complaints on the homeless for just being on their property or near them. Usually, a police officer will come out and “shakedown” the homeless person looking for illegal contraband on their body and in their backpack or shopping cart. They are just doing their job. Most officers have cards with numbers to an outreach program for the homeless where they might be able to find shelter and food-bearing in mind they can use a phone somewhere.
In memory of Jerimiah Nicholson, my nephew, in 2021, was beaten and stabbed to death on the streets. He wanted to explore America and experience life by seeing what was out there.
Article by: Kat Challis