My street dad was a Vietnam Vet

The following is the third installment of an essay written by Jaime L. Benshoff about her experiences being homeless. If you want to read the earlier parts, you can find them here: Part 1: A cup of hot water costs 27 cents, unless… Part 2: The men sit up front.  The women sit in the […]

The men sit up front. The women sit in the back.

The following is the second installment of an essay written by Jaime L. Benshoff about her experiences being homeless. If you want to read part 1, click here. Have a great week! Ryan   Finding Home Part 2 of 6By Jaime L. Benshoff   I was being discharged [from the psych unit.]   No, I […]

A cup of hot water costs 27 cents, unless…

I got an email recently from a woman who had written an essay about her experiences being homeless. It was incredibly well-written and brutally honest. I knew immediately that you need to read it! I hope it touches you the way it touched me… Ryan   Finding Home Part 1 of 6By Jaime L. Benshoff […]

In the event that I am pronounced mentally insane…

It was a Saturday. Mid-morning. Pleasantly warm outside. On such days, people should be skipping stones across tranquil ponds.  Or playing frisbee with panting dogs in freshly mowed fields. Or driving through mountain passes with windows down and music loud. I was doing none of those things. I was in my windowless office, my face […]

The #1 cause of homelessness

Dear Ryan, My adult son has bipolar disorder.  He is unable to work.  My husband and I support him as best as we can.  Without us, I’m pretty sure he would be homeless. Is mental illness the #1 cause of homelessness?  Thank you,  Jane Dear Jane, Thank you for sharing.  Your story is not uncommon.  […]

Frank is a jerk

Daniel is kind. Daniel’s smile makes me want to share a secret with him. Daniel’s honesty and earnestness make me question my own cynicism. Frank is a jerk. He is mean, petty and abusive. He only targets Daniel, though, constantly undermining Daniel’s self-worth. What were you thinking? How can you be so stupid? Why would […]

We are not defined by our wounds

She lived with her family in an expensive subdivision.  She was pretty and thin and wearing designer clothing whose names I cannot pronounce.  I think she was 16 or 17 years old, with the rest of her life ahead of her.  He lived at a homeless shelter—Hesed House—with a couple hundred other “homeless people.”  He […]

Last week’s post upset some people.

I got a lot of messages about last week’s email, so I want to expand further on this idea. There are five things I know to be true after decades of working in a homeless shelter: FACT #1: HURT PEOPLE HURT PEOPLE People who are hurting often hurt other people. Consider Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI), […]

What about disrespect<br>towards staff?

The following is taken from an incident report at the homeless shelter where I work.  A new staff member wrote it: Gus came into the office being very disrespectful towards me. He asked me “do you actually do any work to deserve a paycheck?” I told him if he continues disrespecting me or other staff […]

What about the <br>undeserving poor?

WARNING:  I use one cuss word in this post.    (But I use it really well.) Our culture tries to separate poor people into two groups: The Deserving Poor The Undeserving Poor The “Deserving Poor” generally includes: Children… but only until they turn 18. People with disabilities… unless they did anything to contribute to their […]