I just finished up my 24 hours in the shoes of a homeless person experience on the streets of Kansas City. It is my 6th year to do, and I learned yet more new and exciting things about the homeless. Each year it is an adventure, and a glimpse into the life of the homeless lifestyle.
There is one primary reason I do this each year and it’s to raise awareness for the plight of the homeless and help the Kansas City Rescue Mission before the holiday season, and to tell the story of the homeless.
This year I, along with the fellas who traveled with me, learned more than expected from a homeless young man named Phillip. Phillip (guy in middle of the picture) is from Miami, Florida and is really homeless by choice. He is college educated, well spoken, clean cut, not a drug user and very interesting to talk to. He decided he wanted to get away from it all, so he walked away from his job in graphic design, sold his car, let the lease on his apartment run out and bought traveling gear and hit the road. 7 Months after leaving Miami wound up in Kansas City. Jumping trains and hitching rides with truckers is his means of travel. I do not have the space here to tell you all he shared in our 10 hours together, but one word to describe it would be ‘fascinating.’
I do not know the statistics of homeless who are like Phillip and those who suffer from addictions, substance abuse, or mental issues and those who have just been down on their luck. If I was to guess I would say he represents 25% of the homeless? A total guess, but from my very limited experience that’s what I see. Most homeless have real issues and would really struggle to enter back into society and desperately need a place like the Kansas City Rescue Mission to help them get back on their feet gradually.
WHAT I LEARNED THIS YEAR
It sucks to be homeless! Basically that is what I came away with. It’s know vacation, and it’s definitely no life to envy, especially when most homeless are dealing with loneliness, cold, rain, hunger, sleeplessness, depression, and so much more on a daily basis.
And the one thing that is reinforced each year for me is that I have nothing to complain about! Life is good, truly I am blessed! And you are too!
Watch the full WHAT I LEARNED LIVING HOMELESS video here: https://vimeo.com/48728150