Homeless helping the homeless

Josette Simmons
December 6, 2006
Filed under Opinion

I spent the day being homeless just to see what it was like. It was very humbling. I spent the day sleeping in the park with just a few blankets to keep me warm. To my surprise I received so much help from other homeless residents. It’s amazing to know that the homeless are not completely helpless. Some people are willing to help. It’s also wonderful to know that the homeless have programs to help.
During the day as a homeless person, I lived their life. Homeless life was uncomfortable. I could not take a warm shower or get a drink of water at my convenience. However, finding food was not a problem. During the Thanksgiving holiday, there were many places to go to get a warm meal. Interestingly, during my experience, I learned that there are many resources to help you find shelter.
I was introduced to the homeless shelter on Baker Street. Also there is the mission, which is very overcrowded. It was surprising to me to see so many homeless people in Bakersfield. It broke my heart. I was pleased to know that there is somewhere for the homeless to go; the homeless can get help. During my stay at the mission, I was able to receive help.
They have programs that take you in for a year to help you get back on your feet. For example, I went to a group called Substance Abuse, also Alliance for Family Violence, HIV, and HEP C. There are also programs such as Transitional Housing, which help the homeless to find a place to live.
As for spending the night there, that was a different story. I was scared half out of my mind. Once again I was wrong. The people there were really nice, they made me feel very much at home; I was no longer afraid, and I even made a few good friends.
So all in all, people who are committed to helping the homeless are also very nice people. It’s nice to know that if you are homeless, you will have places to go rather than sleeping in a park or under a bridge.

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