If overpasses could talk, how many stories could they tell? They stretch
majestically across the lonely night streets. During the daylight hours they
see the hustle and bustle of each day’s activities. At night, what do they
see? Do they see the little spiders building webs on their bracer sections?
Do they happen to notice the field mice scurrying up into the cubby holes
where the grass meets the cement? Do they pay attention to the people who
congregate under it to live? The structure never sleeps. Little could anyone
realize how deep a question to ask?
Is there a difference between homeless persons and street persons? Most of
the populations of cities do not have time to wonder. They never think about
the question because it does not pertain to them. These are details that are
unimportant to anyone but those who live in this situation. Is there
actually a difference? The answer is yes.
In most cities there are different levels of living. The poor struggle
through with little money and a lot of hard work. The vehicles are not the
newest not are there a lot of choices for residence. Their families get by,
but just barely. In the middle class, spouses have jobs, cars, and homes that
are more or less of their own choosing. These people live in decent housing
and for the most part pay their bills with a little left over for
emergencies. Then, there is the upper class of people who can, basically, do
what they want. However, most people do not know of the other two levels of
society that are very real.
The first is the homeless. These are the ones who have lost whatever job
they might have had and also their living arrangements. They live in
shelters and look daily for some type of employment. When they find it, they
strive to better themselves by getting into some type of living quarters that
are not very expensive so that they can build and grow to better
accommodations and lives. This author knows of a woman who procured
employment at a restaurant within walking distance from the shelter on the
midnight shift (graveyard shift). She worked for four nights sleeping during
the day amid children playing and whatever else was going on in the shelter
during that time and went to work each night. On the fifth night, she went
to her shift and worked as usual.
When she got off her shift that morning, she walked to the shelter and was
told that she couldn’t sleep that day because she would be off that night.
She sat in the park with the valuables that she carried for safekeeping and
was so tired that she cried to keep herself awake. Knowing that if she went
to sleep, she would lose anything of value on her person, she could not think
of anything else to do. Her weariness precluded walking to any of the sights
around the area as she would have to carry her
parcel with her.
Finally, the time came that she was able to go back inside. There were
chores to do after dinner and then she went in with the single women who
showered last to tepid or cold water to take her turn in the partitionless
showers with stalls that had no doors. The road to get one’s life back is
certainly not easy; and it is a sad truth that a lot of families are a
paycheck away from such circumstances.
The second are the “street” people. They have one goal in their minds. That
is to get enough money for their next quart or drug buy. They have no place
to go and like it that way. There are no responsibilities except to survive
another day and that is all the responsibility they want. Life has either
beaten them down so far that they don’t even try anymore, or they have become
lazy and have no more ambition than to sit and drink or do drugs.
The most important difference between them is that one group really does wish
to pull themselves out of their situation while the other doesn’t care about
anything but themselves. The street people are not necessarily evil;
however, most of them are opportunists. Someone may be sleeping on a park
bench – between leaving the shelter in the morning and going back in at night
- with his or her backpack next to them. If a street person thinks that the
sleeper has any medication or money that they can take, they will use this
opportunity to steal it.
By the same token, if a street person encounters someone that they think is
pretty or appealing in some way even if they know this person and have been
friends with them, they might grab that homeless person as the opportunity
presents itself. Being drunk or high, they never consider the fear of the
other person. In normal circumstances, the person would not think of such a
thing, however the opportunity presented itself and it didn’t matter whether
they were behind a building or on the sidewalk of a busy street. The person
being accosted might not get help in extracting themselves from such
situations because the working people who are running errands or shopping
don’t want to get involved.
Let me be clear. Most of the time the “street”, as a rule, don’t go around
attacking people as they walk down the sidewalk. Experience has taught that
they steal from the homeless who are within their grasp. Given the right
situation, however, it is imagined that the “street” will use whatever
opportunity is open to them to get the money for their smokes, booze,or
It is also to be noted that the homeless have some kind of morality within
them. They are just having extremely hard times. However, anything that the
“street” wants to do is not thought of as moral or immoral, it is what they
want. Therefore, a person walking down the street in the daylight hours
could conceivably see a man or woman taking off parts of their clothing due
to the fact that they have soiled themselves. Trust me; it is not for the
faint of heart.
Is there a difference in the difficulty of survival between homeless men and
homeless women? Most definitely there is. Women have a harder time than men
usually. The women who find themselves in shelters have opportunities to get
jobs for themselves and work their way out of the situation, however they
have to be careful when they are out walking on the street. It is easier to
fall into “the oldest profession” when there doesn’t seem to be any hope, so
hope must be kept within them.
There are ways to do this.
- They can make sure that in the course of the day, they never travel
alone. Making a friend with other women at the shelter is
- It is hard for a woman to find a job when she has no address. A lot of
employers won’t hire anyone from a shelter address
that they recognize in the area. The men have “morning call” in which
construction companies and such come to the shelter to hire workers for the
day. There are women who can handle such a circumstance, but some can’t.
- Inside the shelter, there is a locked closet where the women can keep
their clothes and such. If they dress before they leave the shelter in
clothes worthy of finding employment, they can put in applications as they
walk through stores in the area while waiting to go back in the shelter at
Is there a correlation between any of these groups? It would seem that the
middle three classes have the work and the worry and the hardships. Working,
poor, and homeless strive to better their situations and make ends meet. It
is interesting to note that the upper class and the “street” have not a lot
of these worries. This excludes self-made successes. The upper classes can
buy what they want or manipulate it from others while the “street” just take
what they think they need from others. Either way the highest and lowest
sides of the spectrum are the same in generality’s ratio. Isn’t that an
Deb was born in Peoria, IL and was raised for 22 years there. Graduate from Manual Highschool in 1971, she favored music classes at school and piano responsibility in the Church. She has lived in Montana, Hawaii, California, Alabama and Texas as well.
Graduating from Barclay College vocational Legal Secretarial training in 1986, she worked as secretary/receptionist for many years until 2008 when she started writing in earnest. She has finished five books and has started organizing another. There are a mix of science fiction, short story, non-fiction, poetry and music.
She has been married for 28 years at the time of this bio and hopes to have many more years with her husband. Mother of six children (his and hers), she also has 12 grandchildren.
She and her husband live just a hop, skip and jump from the Gulf. Her favorite thing to do is creating websites and reading God’s word.
Links To Visit
Excellent writing and readable. Loved itTracie Reeve Owen
A Must Read! Gives you a Lift from the chaos of our day!Tracie Reeve Owen