Editorial: We, the homeless, want you to hear our voices

By Tony Hodges

I feel disgusted, covered in filth from not bathing daily and properly. It has not been easy to cope with being homeless. Society looks down on us and treats us worse than lab rats. It’s already bad enough that we’re homeless. Why add insult to injury?

All homeless people do not self-inflict their homeless situation, even though society seems to think otherwise. The fact is that families may have turned their backs on us. Some of us are high school and college students, while some of us are mentally incompetent. There are too many legitimate reasons for being homeless. However, many people in society don’t take the time to understand the problems of the homeless.

I want to say that we shouldn’t judge a book by its cover. We are living creatures of God and have the right to be treated equally. Homeless people are good people that have many talents and are intelligent. We have just fallen on hard times. Our income, appearance and the environment we sleep in should not and does not define who we are. Because we’re homeless, society thinks we’re inferior, illiterate and worthless scum that shouldn’t be employed. Other people want us to change our appearance, be civilized, get housing and receive opportunities like everyone else in the working world.

Someday there will be reform in how we, the homeless, are treated. We demand respect, assistance for housing, education, employment, clothing and food. We shouldn’t have to meet criteria or be on a waiting list if our status makes us eligible. Society says they love to help people who are in need, but where were you when we were sleeping underneath bridges, cardboard boxes and alleys in the rain, sleet and snow? When there are holes and rags in our clothes and we are in need of food, water and showers?

We go to shelters and even there sometimes the workers make it hard for us. That is why I personally don’t go and why others steer away from shelters. There might be nonprofit organizations that help homeless people, but there is only so much they can do. Without the help of the many people in society who look down on us there’s no chance in ending homelessness in Greensboro or in any other community.

We, the homeless, are in need of a hand up not a handout. Do you love your neighbor as you love yourself? If so, where’s the love for the homeless? We are your neighbors.