Descriptive Essay Homeless Person Sign

Personal Narrative Homeless Man Essay

Personal Narrative- Homeless Man

My friends often describe me as a cynic and a pessimist. For the most part, they're right. Sentiment loses value when it permeates one's attitudes and behavior just as the value of a commodity decreases as it becomes ubiquitous, so as a rule I reserve expressing sentiment for rare occasions that I deem worthy. Fortunately, even the harshest cynics are surprised sometimes.

To begin, most people in my hometown know who Mike is. But I would bet that ninety-nine percent of those people don't know Mike's name. Mike is a homeless man who lives at the public library. He didn't really attract my attention until several months ago; since then, I have found him impossible to ignore.

At about eleven o'clock one Friday night, I left my house with the intention of buying a CD at Discount Den. I grabbed my coat to shield myself from the chill air, the result of a cold front and incessant rain, lowering temperatures into the 40s and threatening to drop them even more. Before I reached the Den, I passed the public library and noticed Mike sitting on a concrete bench. Stopping at a red light just beyond the library, I attempted to force myself not to look back at his cold, shivering form. With guilt welling up inside my chest for driving past Mike so many previous times and overlooking him, I couldn't make myself look away.

As the light turned green, I sat for a moment, not moving, and asked myself what I was going to do. Then I accelerated slowly, waiting for the car on my left to pass as I changed over to the left lane. I made four left turns at four consecutive stoplights until I approached the library again. Pulling into the library's parking lot, I turned off my lights, radio, and heat. As I opened the car door, the cold air stung me like a quick slap to my face. Slowly and uncertainly, I walked toward Mike.

The street was eerily quiet as I crossed. So was Mike. Staring at me unwaveringly, he said nothing as I approached. The crow's feet framing his eyes, the ridges in his forehead, and the crinkles in his cheeks still stand out in my mind. How many nights had he lain on that bench, covering...

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How many times have you passed by people sitting on the street, with a plastic glass or a small cardboard box asking for spare change? Have you ever noticed the amounts of people who have neither home, nor a job to sustain themselves? Perhaps you think it is their own fault; you might think if they wanted, they would have it all. “Go find yourself a job” is a regular phrase homeless people hear. However, this advice is pointless, because there are objective reasons why people lose homes and jobs, and why they cannot return to normal life.

One of the most frequent causes of homelessness is property-destroying disasters of any kind. It can be an earthquake (like in Japan in 2011), a hurricane (like in New Orleans), a flood or tsunami, and so on. At the same time, it can be a disaster or accident of a smaller scale, but still a significant one. Domestic fires, for example, destroy hundreds of residences annually; usually, if a brigade of firefighters does not manage to arrive on time, people suffer severe material damage. Left without a home, victims of these disasters also often lose their IDs, property documents, credit cards, cash stashes, and so on. It can take months (or even years) to renew them. And friends and relatives are not always willing or capable of helping a victim during the time he or she recuperates (IFR).

Another group of factors leading to homelessness includes unhappy marriages and their outcomes. Divorce and abusive relationships are among the major factors of homelessness (Homeless Resource Network). In particular, divorce can often leave one of the spouses homeless. When divorcing, former family members usually try to divide the property they acquired in marriage; in some cases, one of the spouses can find themselves deprived of any property, including a place to live in. Another possible reason for homelessness is domestic violence. Although it is usually considered that women suffer from domestic violence more than men, it is not true; as a result, a number of people of both genders prefer to live on the streets rather than stay in abusive relationships.

The institutional backgrounds of people can cause them to end up living on the streets (Shelter). In particular, people who served in the armed forces and participated in war conflicts can suffer from post-traumatic stress disorder, which can prevent them from fitting into normal life, living with their families, and so on. As a result, they are at risk of not being able to get along with the peaceful environment around them, and end up on the streets. Another group of people who can potentially become homeless are former prisoners. A prisoner does not necessarily remain a villain after getting out of jail; moreover, such people could have committed some minor crimes, or even were unjustly convicted. Still, non-criminal citizens usually do not give them a second chance, so they often become homeless as well.

It is obvious that homelessness is caused not only by a person’s unwillingness to work and sustain themselves; rather often, there exist objective factors causing people to become homeless. Among them, one should mention disasters (both natural and human-caused), divorce, abusive relationships, PTSD, and non-conducive backgrounds like being a former convict.

References

Doe, John. “What Causes Homelessness?” IFR. N.p., n.d. Web. 27 May 2015.

“Factors Contributing to Homelessness.” Homeless Resource Network. N.p., 03 Aug. 2011. Web. 27 May 2015.

“What Causes Homelessness?” Shelter. N.p., n.d. Web. 27 May 2015.

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