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This Is What Homelessness Looks Like

April 23, 2014

This Is What Homelessness Looks Like

This photograph was taken of me in March 2014 at the Jean Rice Liberation Library at Picture the Homeless. It seems à propos here to post a blog that I deleted at the request of my employer, who created a part-time job for me in attempt to prevent me from becoming homeless, but realized soon after that she could not afford to bring on a new employee and laid me off. As a result, I now owe the city for a one-shot deal in addition to living in a homeless shelter…

Portrait of a Soon-to-Be Homeless Man
by scottandrewhutchins on July 24, 2011
He has…

a master’s degree
an Adobe certification
a documented disability that keeps him out of non-desk jobs
a 400:1 resume-to-interview ratio (resume revamped with advisors 26 times since 2006)
no job
$3,900 in backed rent from lack of income
an order to evict if not paid by August 15, 2011
$200 in the bank from friends giving him freelance work
a computer that takes half an hour to start and sometimes as long as half an hour to open Word or send an e-mail
never gotten a girl in trouble

He is…

no criminal record
a social activist
pesce-pollo vegetarian
avid reader of heavy and classic reading
active in his church and several choirs

His friends…

live in cramped apartments and have expenditures roughly equal to their incomes
have jobs of long-standing or are in retail/food service jobs (in spite of their educations) that he cannot do because of severe back spasms
have family who will take them in in an emergency
are impressed with his intelligence
pass his resume up to their superiors, who have never called

His family…
His father…

died in 2008, leaving him $37,000, which has been completely used up, mostly for rent.

His three closest living relatives are his brother, his mother, and his maternal uncle. His other relatives are near-complete or complete strangers because his immediate family moved to the Midwest before he was born. He saw his extended family only twice: one vacation and at his grandmother’s funeral. He once interviewed with two of his cousins for a position that they were not sure would be created, and it was not.
His uncle…

took him to dinner once and refused to do it again after he brought up the Iraq War and his nephew disagreed on his position. He told his sister that he was offended by his nephew’s opinion.
told him to go to truck driving school upon the completion of his master’s degree, even though he developed severe sciatica that lasted five months during a van drive for a school project that exploded into a debilitating slipped disc.
told him not to be a truck driver and to be a professional singer after hearing him sing at the memorial service for the aforementioned father

His mother…

advised her son, “do what you love and the money will follow”
went into crying fits, insomnia, and destructive rages when he lived at home without a job or with sporadic temping
has a delusion that someone restraining her when she is violent is an act of violence
has a delusion that she has a right to vandalize the belongings of others who live in her home because it is her home
tried to prevent him from going to graduate school
has a 3-bedroom house that she insists is not one because the beds are gone
has an ostrich-like attitude to the present job market
will not provide any assistance to her son, insisting that he made his own choices
advised her son to sell his body to survive when he could not find legitimate work, but he refused

His brother…

would be paid to babysit him when he was younger, stuff his head in the couch for long periods, give him bruises, and still get allowance on top of babysitting pay.
continued to get an allowance while working as a teenager, stating that for him it signified “I’m better than him,” while his brother typically got his revoked for missing a chore
thinks he is better than his brother because he got hired for a really good job while still in college, even though that was in 1994.
viciously called a friend of his brother (closer to their mother’s age) a liar for describing his home life as a “concentration camp experience.”
has at least a green belt in karate, but told this friend that he feared his brother, in spite of his physical challenges, would become violent with him if allowed to stay in his house.
satisfied his mother by having a (second) wife, a daughter, and a big house in the suburbs
insists that his brother chose to work in temporary and short-term contract jobs, failing to build a solid work history, when that was all that was offered to him
insists that it is possible to spend more than one hour on New York Public Library computers, in spite of posted website policies and actual library card practice, in order for his brother to do a “work-from home” job for just above minimum wage that he lost because of the slowness of his computer
insists that his brother chose to be in his situation
insists that his brother has chosen not to send his resume or to respond to callbacks, in spite of a paper trail of forwarded e-mails
insists that his brother failed to get medical assistance that would correct his physical problems when the only medical advice that he got that he refused (back surgery) from any of multiple doctors was later retracted after additional therapy (chiropractic and massage) from friends who are licensed professionals
insists that his brother could whiten his otherwise healthy tetracycline-discolored teeth without filing and veneers, in spite of the findings of three dentists

Yes, gentle reader, if you suspected that the portrait of the soon-to-be-homeless person is also the author of this piece, you would be correct. This is what it takes to become homeless today. Homelessness is now a punishment for overqualification, for those that walk into places that say “now hiring” and are asked if they have specific experience for a job anyone with a high school diploma can do. This is justice in America, where someone with credential after credential can be forced onto the street because corporate America has become hoarder America.
Where is the justice?
Where are the American values of helping out a brother?
Where are the New Deal-style plans that would stop this?
How can anyone consider Obama a far-left president when he has done nothing of this sort and is instead trying to get the Republicans to like him?
When are Americans going to take to the streets in protest in the numbers that Europeans do?
When is there going to be an armed revolution, and would it even work?
Middle class jobs=Jobs that start with slave labor internships that many cannot afford
Justice in America=Justice for the Wealthy

  1. grickster permalink

    Blaming everyone else for all of your problems didn’t help in 2011, and it still won’t help.

    • If we are supposed to put credit where credit is due, why not fault?

      • grickster permalink

        Because it’s counterproductive. You can blame others until you are blue in the face. Even if you are right and they are at fault, it won’t change your situation. Obsessing about who is at fault just makes you less happy and keeps you in emotional chains.

  2. Blinguini permalink

    Yo, foo. Dat picshur makes it look like youz gots on dirty underwears, man! Dats nasty, homeboy.

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    I’m book-marking and will be tweeting this to my followers!
    Wonderful blog and terrific style and design.

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