A father’s view on homelessness (Al’s story – part one)

If your family arrived at the door of the Coalition with nowhere else to go, what thoughts would consume your mind? Would you blame yourself for what happened? Would you feel helpless and hopeless? How would you pick up the pieces and start again?

For Al, homelessness has become a reality. As a current Coalition client and single father, Al wanted to share his perception of homelessness and how, as a father, he is dealing with his circumstances.

Al, current Coalition client and single father, asserts "No one ever plans to be homeless..."

Al, current Coalition client and single father, asserts "No one ever plans to be homeless..."

No one ever plans to be homeless when they are growing up. But somewhere along the way, as adults, something happens – mental illness, an alcohol or drug problem, spousal or child abuse, loss of a job in bad economic times, etc. Anyone can become homeless, from teenagers to senior citizens, single or married with children, from all backgrounds and all levels of society.

“Being homeless is a worldwide disease that can be cured in some cases – for those who don’t want to be homeless and work to get out of their situation…society recognizes the problem of being homeless and it does the best job it can to cure this disease.

“There are many faces to the homeless: men, women, children – and each day new faces are added to these ranks.

 “My two children and I were added to these ranks in May, 2008. My children’s mom blamed me, their sisters blamed me, a few of my friends blamed me – I even blamed myself…I still blame myself, for after looking back, I know that there were things that I could’ve done to prevent this.

“I will be getting myself and my children out of this situation soon. But now I know what to do to keep from ending up in this situation again. And it is society that is helping us to get out of this situation and never be in it again.

“But most important, it’s God’s help through society that is helping us.

“You know, you find out who your true friends are when you become homeless. I’ve lost a few friends for being homeless. They never call to check on my children or myself, not even to give us moral support. After calling them a few times and leaving messages, they never returned the calls…I guess they thought I was going to ask for money or food.”

Al is not discounting his own mistakes or asking for a hand-out; he simply asks that our community not turn our back as he and others work to become self-sufficient. At Coalition for the Homeless, we are proud to stand by our clients as they build new lives.