When I lived in New Orleans, there were often homeless young people after Mardi Gras. To be honest, I was one of them for a short time though fortunately, I never slept on the street. Within a few weeks, these people had either figured out a way to live that took them out of homelessness (which is a whole other story) or they had moved on.
When I moved to San Diego, I ended up working for St. Vincent de Paul Homeless Shelter. My job was in their clinic where they also saw undocumented people of all ages. (Before this gets anyone on a rant about the “illegal alien” stealing from us, I want it known that our doctors & nurses were volunteers.) I met people from all walks of life: teens fleeing corrupt regimes, women who had been battered, mentally ill kicked out of the only system they knew, AND vets. Vets made up the majority of the homeless. And the wounds could not be healed by anything we could offer in the clinic. Except kindness, of course. Occasionally, we could get them a bed for a night or two, but not as often as we’d have liked.
Sometimes, it was heartbreaking, but at least we were doing something. One thing that SVdP always had plenty of was a hot plate of food. So, at least there was that.
When I moved to LA, I learned what desperation was. I remember my roommate saying “Sherrie, you should be used to this by now.” when she saw the hurt in my eyes after seeing a young black woman talking to herself. Though it looked more like she was yelling at an invisible person.
I had learned by then that many of the women who ended up homeless had been molested when they were young. That started a life of feeling worthless that eventually brought them to the street with no one to help them.
I had promised myself that if Bush stole another election, I would start photographing the homeless. I wanted to show their humanity, their nobility. Because despite being homeless, there was still something inside them that was untouched. You could see it in their eyes.
I cried hard the day Bush won a 2nd term, but I ended up moving back to San Diego, back to the man who had loved me, but kept it to himself as I had cried saying goodbye to him. It wasn’t the right time back than. I needed the time in LA to understand what love is.
Now, all I can do is hand a few quarters or a dollar to the homeless who have now made it all the way to my little city.
Peace, love & an end to war & homelessness,
Sherrie Miranda’s historically based, coming of age, Adventure novel “Secrets & Lies in El Salvador” is about an American girl in war-torn El Salvador:
Her husband made a video for her novel. He wrote the song too. You can watch it on her Home page:
https://sherriemiranda1.wordpress.com Or go to Youtube & type in the title of her novel! 😉 ❤