A Will To Become

Posted: June 30, 2007 in Employment, Goals, Homelessness, Hopes

According the National Coalition for the Homeless web site, roughly 1 in 4 of America’s homeless adults have full time jobs.

"Greg" and "Judy" are a couple that I met shortly after becoming one of San Luis Obispo’s homeless myself.

They had been together for some time and were pretty much having the same problem I was – trying to figure out how to get out of being homeless.  

Greg had been able to find work, but most of the time it was temporary work, or jobs that lasted several weeks at most. As soon as one "job" was done, Greg would have to work at finding another job.

About six months ago, Greg was able to find a permanent full time job in the food service industry. His biggest struggles with his job are the hours. He doesn’t work a regular 9 to 5 schedule. He might work days, afternoons, or even late into the night. Nevertheless, he has continued to show up whenever his schedule requires.

Judy, on the other hand, has had problems finding gainful employment. She has an anxiety disorder that has been exacerbated by the experience of being homeless. Plus, during the hours that Greg works she had been keeping their personal things with her. But because of the high price of rental units in the area they knew that if they were going to get ahead that both of them would have to work.

This past Monday Judy started her new job. And she was absolutely excited about it. With her working, the odds of their being able to move out of homelessness and back into the mainstream community look better.

There is one rough spot that Greg and Judy still face though… their personal belongings.

Like most of the homeless Greg and Judy don’t have a place to store their belongings while they are at work. And now, with the both of them working, they are faced with having to figure out what to do with their things while at work.

Most employers here in San Luis Obispo – or anywhere for that matter – don’t like to have their employees showing up to work carrying all of their worldly possessions with them. For the homeless who are seeking employment, having to carry around all of the belongings out of necessity is the biggest drawback.

Despite this minor obstacle they face, Greg and Judy are happy to both be working. They, like many other homeless who are trying getting ahead in life, do so on sheer will: a will to become more than just one or two among the hundreds of thousands of America’s homeless who will be forever doomed to life on our nations’ streets.

It is this will to become more than the sum of ones parts that have allowed many homeless to become a productive part of their communities once again – even against the odds.

I’ll keep my fingers crossed for Greg and Judy. I hope they are among those who are lucky enough to get out of this nightmare.

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