Homelessness Doesn’t Have A Tour Guide

From the Street Roots blog: The Unreality of Urban Plunges
Disclaimer: The original post includes quotes of some profane language.

Robert chose to be homeless for a short time, just to see what it was like.

As I sat on some church steps eating a charity sack dinner, a man on a bicycle screamed at me: “Phony! You’re going to wake up with gun in your mouth. It’s not a game.”

The “gun in your mouth” really just served to drive his main point home: I was an imposter. He saw it; nearly every homeless person I met saw it. The only person who hadn’t grasped that fact was me.

See, for me, it had been a game. That was my motivation: adventure. I love camping, and camping is little more than voluntary exposure to the elements of nature. To me, homelessness was like urban camping, as much about feeling alive in my vulnerability as it was about the hot shower waiting for me on the other side.

I would never suggest that…

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Though we try to empathize, it’s impossible for us to understand stark reality of a harsh life on the streets. It shouldn’t stop us from trying, though — and reaching out to offer hope.

Your support of Portland Rescue Mission creates a place of safety and warmth for men and women who are more desperate than we can imagine. Thanks to you, we’re able to sit with them, listen, offer food and bed — kindness that opens the door to relationship and possibly a way back home.

Thank you.