Category Archives: 2-1-1

“Why Would Someone Chose Homeless” – Homeless 17 Year Old Girl

Meet “Alice”, Homeless Girl now 17 in Canada

Her words (she went homeless before 16) – She is older than her days:

“Why would someone choose to be transient or homeless? The world is a vast, ruined empire- It is void of any true meaning with all our responsibilities being entirely superficial, and we have created imaginary borders and priced things that belong to no one such as our land. The surrounding materialism weighs us down, makes us weary: It is a distraction that is malignant.

“Being homeless is an entirely separate dimension from this society, an alternate community- There is a completely different set of rules, way of life, and sense of normality. Once you have adjusted to homelessness, it can be very difficult to turn around and work your way back into the ‘Real World’; it becomes frustrating and lonely when you have to abide by a new social code and people are intolerant of your mannerisms.

“It’s like walking into a new country where you know nothing of the current customs, are baffled by people’s beliefs and gestures, and are confused by the tongue spoken. At a time, you just want to break free and separate yourself: You want to listen to your heart, and not found yourself on stability or comfort.

“There is nothing quite like the feeling you get when you walk away from your home with nothing but what’s in your pockets, and with no intention of returning.

“When homeless or transient, especially when you’re on drugs, life becomes a journey rather than an endless cycle. You lose your sense of time, not knowing the date and having only a vague idea of what stage of day it is; you spend your money on your present needs and desires rather than on future possibilities. When you’re high, it’s all about the small things in life; there’s no interest in the future and no care for the bigger picture. No one and nothing, yet everyone and everything, is cool. You’re content with no yearning desires. Life is all about warm, sunny afternoons on the cliff admiring the view and soaking in the calm, altogether uninhibited, and liberated on crack rocks- Free to speak your mind with no prejudices, free to be with no boundaries.

“However, I would support (the assertion) that children don’t become homeless merely because they dislike school or their family rules; rather, I think there is a much larger picture. Any kind of sufferance can be deepened when you love and care for the person hurting you; fear and confusion in childhood can make a claustrophobic teenager; and boredom can result in frustration and anxiety.

“Life on the streets is without any doubt a constant struggle and the average youngster would return home to comfort rather than hold out on the street if he didn’t have a strong and viable reason. His home and his life would have to represent a lot of pain and anger to keep him away for long; and he would have to have deep-rooted feelings of hatred and fear of the system to keep him there.

“Children who have been abused and neglected, then let down by their social workers and teachers, as well as nurses and police officers; children who have been drained through years of needless counselling then tossed from hospital to hospital like a nun; children who were kept isolated, then were physically and emotionally hurt when they attempted to connect.”

The above is a copy of a post by “Alice” which is not even her real screen name, but she is a real homeless person, trying to tell us a little about what it is like.   It may give you at least a little insight into the thinking of a young homeless girl. 

There are places to call, such as the National Runaway Switchboard or 2-1-1 anywhere in the country.   The link to the NRS is in the right column.  The idea is to get these youngsters help before they run away or get thrown away.   If your child is at risk or harboring a friend that would be on the streets without your help, get professionals involved… NOW.

Kids are out there too…

Do you hear a cry for help?

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Who you gonna Call?

Who you gonna Call?  Or perhaps more accurately: How you gonna Call? 

An idea to consider:  cellphoneIt occurs to me that we have a great 9-1-1 system operated by our local governments and a wonderful 2-1-1 system operated by United Way.  I think we all know about 911 but only a few know about 211.    211 is a wonderful system available over about 80% of this country. 

One call will reach a trained operator that will find out what you need in the way of services if you are broke, need a doctor, have mental problems, can’t pay your utilities, or  have virtually any non 911 emergency need that you are unable to meet yourself.  211 calls are typically made by those  with limited resources to pay or find the services they need otherwise.   211 is a referral service only. 

However, the phone companies are removing the phone booths as fast as they can so the option of using a phone booth to make emergency calls  of any kind is disappearing fast.   Most of our homeless cannot afford cell phones and many businesses refuse use of their phones to the public.    

Some homeless (usually parents with children in school) carry cell phones and they can call 911 anytime even if the phone has no minutes or has been discarded and no longer activated.   But…. can they call 211?  Most cell phones can’t, but a few select providers do.  Metro PCS is the provider in the Atlanta area that allows 211 calls from cell phones.   Since the answer is generally NO, then I want to suggest that United Way lobby the cell phone companies to allow free 211 calls for any cell phone even if it is not in service as long as it can get signal, and suggest that we all lobby our Congress to require it.  

Actually I have alredy talked to United Way of Atlanta’s call center director and they are considering the possibilities and welcome my suggestions.    However, this needs to be nation-wide and you need to consider taking up the cause whereever you are located.   As a short-term solution, the local 9-1-1 call centers should be allowed to transfer calls to 2-1-1 at their discretion if there is a need for help that is not a police matter.  

However, if we can get 2-1-1 calling through cell phones with no-service calling features (all you need is signal, not air time), then we could collect and distribute old cell phones for use by the homeless and needy families who could then call 211 as well as 911 without charge and with no cost to them for air time.  There are millions of these old cell phones around.  I know we do that now for emergency use by battered women, but can’t we do this little thing for the homeless too?