The Homeless

Based on My Experiences

in Detroit

The Homeless Home Movie is a very good source for information about the homeless.  There you will meet some of the homeless and hear their stories. It's youtube channel.

I have lived in many parts of Detroit.  I too was one of the homeless for   three months.  I also lived in an hotel  in a part of Detroit (the Cass Coridor) where many of the homeless  exist.  This area is  now an economic development area.  Soon the homeless will be moved as new business moves in.

Detroit is becoming a beautiful city (downtown mainly).  With the Casino business and the new hotels and business  brought in by them we are going to see revitalization of the Downtown.

What happens to the homeless?  Who cares?  The answer to the first is that they are pushed into the neighborhoods.  The answer to the second question is the people in those neighborhoods will care.

Most of the homeless are in their position for reasons beyond their control.

Some lost their jobs and were too old  or not qualified to find  another.  Many  of these have turned to cheap alcohol  to make their lives easier to deal with.

Many are vietnam veterans that our country has abandoned .  They went to fight for our country (They thought) and were exposed to cheap drugs, a new type of warfare, mental problems caused by the war, physical problems caused by the war, missing or useless limbs due to wounds, flash backs  and other problems caused by an unpopular war.

The vietnam war was a war where  many survived  due to the modern lifesaving techniques  used  in the war.  Many  came home as  unable to walk and other disabilities that made it hard for them to  get jobs.  I have met many victims of the war  that are homeless.  I volunteered to go when I was in the Navy  in 1964 but I failed the physical.  If I went  I may have ended up on a gun boat in the Mekong Delta and later on the streets of Detroit.

Many of the homeless have a problem with drugs or alcohol (Please see my page on this subject.)  One night the twin brother of a girl friend , who was an addict and homeless  came to my hotel and  and said my his sister relapsed and  was with a dealer.  After midnight he and I were going through the most dangerous area of Detroit.  Everywhere you look you see addicts smoking crack.  You pass by bushes and see the fire from the pipes and lighters.

We would stop and he would ask other addicts if they saw his sister and many said yes and where.  We got back to the hotel empty handed.  Soon he came back and said he found her and needed  money.  I gave him my money and a wedding ring that was going to be used when his sister and I get married (we did not ).  He did not come back.  The whole thing was a set up.  He went to great links  to get the money.  He had friends helping by saying they saw her.  She was at home all the time.  You will meet her in my drug and alcohol  page.

What we do for these people.  There are programs to help rehabilitate them.  Our government pays some SSI.  They use it to buy their drugs.  Some times I think  it is hopeless.  No  one cares.  They are addicts by choice.  They can stop when they want to.  People saying this do not really know.

I am a reformed drunk.  I quit drinking because I no longer wanted to drink.  I quit on my own.  Many  need help.  Before they can be helped they have to  want help.  Usually it is too late when they want it.

Many of these people have mental illnesses.  They are put out of the mental health hospitals because they are "not a threat to themselves or society."  This is true with most as long as they take their medication but most do not.  Many can not find a job because they can not communicate well enough.

We also see young runaways.  There have been many television shows on this subject.  Too young to find work or afraid of being sent home if they get a job.  There are a lot of twisted Johns out there looking for  young boys and/or girls for their sexual satisfaction. (Here is a good place for the death penalty.  Pedophiles do not deserve to live.)

How do the homeless survive?  Some beg, others do odd jobs,  others resort to prostitution and some steal.  The people that distribute  handbills from door to door are homeless. Some live in abandoned buildings.  Some live in cheap hotels.  There are shelters but not enough. It is said  that unemployment is low but they are the uncounted unemployed.  They eat at shelters, soup kitchens, out of garbage cans.

Alcohol and/or drugs are a part of the life of most.  They use most of the money they get for  their habit.

What can we do to help?  Many say, "They can help themselves.  They can get a job."  Some can and many can't.

We need more shelters,  half way houses, rehab centers and low cost homes.  There are a lot of abandoned hotels in Detroit that could be converted to places for the homeless.  Now with the casinos  they will either be torn down and replaced with new hotels or rebuilt.  The rich will benefit from them.  There are also a lot of abandoned homes in Detroit that can be  rebuilt and used for them.

Short Story- Place: Cass Coridor, Detroit, MI. Time 11PM. I was 50 years old, grey hair. 6'1" 275#. I had on an old top coat, wholey sneakers, two day old beard. Freezing Rain. Two guys twice my size come to me and ask for a square (cigarette).

The biggest gets behind me and picks me up. He says, "This is a hold up." I busted out laughing and asked him not to take the girlfriend's and her daughter's pictures. After they get the money the guy says, "Is five dollars all you have?

I looked at him and said, "What the hell do you expect from an old white man in the Cass Coridor? Why don't you go where people have money instead of robbing the poor, homeless and crack addicts? " Daaaaa.

This my friends is life in the Cass Coridor.

Thank you.  Please check out my drugs and  alcohol  page  then come back for the link to the National Coalition for the Homeless. Drugs and Alcohol  

Click the house for more info and links.


© Copyright 2001 Lee W. Gaylord

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