Monthly Archives: May 2013

Don’t Just Look at Me, SEE Me.

What is written here I found to be true in my own experience. Some people treated me kindly and others with contempt. And they didn’t
know anything about me, except I was homeless. — T.J.

The Deroche Decibel

homelessfeethome·less  (hmls) adj.
Having no home or haven.
n.(used with a pl. verb) People without homes considered as a group.
Often used with ‘the’

Bring up the topic of homelessness in a room full of people, and you will likely incite an argument and heated words. Homelessness in our society is a very heated topic, filled with debate, ego and judgement. Fortunately these arguments are contrasted by empathetic individuals, capable of putting themselves in other people’s situations with the ability of treating each person as an individual with their own circumstances. With today’s economy, many of us may be able to relate in ways we previously could not.

Good or bad, the term homelessness often brings images to mind, as well as generalizations about intelligence, motivation and past history. Perhaps this video that I found earlier today will be a reminder to all of us…

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The Greatest Poverty

2 Guys Photo

man, bench, park, sleeping, homeless

We think sometimes that poverty is only being hungry, naked and homeless. The poverty of being unwanted, unloved and uncared for is the greatest poverty. We must start in our own homes to remedy this kind of poverty.

Mother Teresa

Sony NEX 6, Lightroom 4

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Head Injuries Among the Homeless Population

A new take on why some homeless people might not be able to “straighten out” and get a job:

Someone to Watch Over Me

That's Another Story


Yesterday was warm, sunny, and breezy, so, when I had the opportunity to spend some time outside while at work, I took full advantage of it.  I quickly learned that taking advantage of this opportunity led to some of the men at the day shelter to take the opportunity to make sure that no-one took advantage of me.  What transpired reminded me that I have guardian angels of the most unlikely and unexpected kind here on earth, and I wouldn’t trade them for the world.

When I stepped outside that morning, I was greeted with, “Good morning, Miss Kristi” and “Hi, Sunshine”, which was quickly followed by the inquiry, “Where are you going?”  I returned the greetings and responded that I was going on a home visit with one of the case managers to visit one of the men in the permanent supportive housing program.  After giving my response some…

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The Hidden Reasons for Homelessness

Food line at the Yonge Street Mission, 381 Yon...

Food line at the Yonge Street Mission, 381 Yonge Street, Toronto, Canada (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

There are many reasons for homelessness. The media focuses on three most of the time (mental illness, drugs, and laziness), but I have seen hidden reasons for homelessness.

More than one person I knew have told me about their childhood and mentioned sexual abuse by a family member. They didn’t state that as the cause of their situation, but it doesn’t take much intelligence to put 2 and 2 together. They don’t trust authority now because their trust was broken early on. This can lead to problems with bosses, family conflict, and difficulty in relationships. Not everyone who was abused turns to the streets, but an amazing number of people with dysfunction in their lives have similar histories of abuse.

Another cause of some people’s homelessness is, surprisingly, being pushed out of an inheritance by siblings or other family members. I have also experienced such an event (I won’t go into details). Depending on how much the individual wanted the property, the depression and dispare can be quite devastating. I felt a sense of unfairness, but luckly, was not interested in the property and didn’t get as emotionally invested in it as some family members did. In any case, the resentment that results can break bonds within a family and the person has not only lost their inheiratance, but also there family connections.

Disability is one more cause that is a hidden reason for homelessness. I have to say this is a contributing factor with me also. If someone is disabled but does not meet requirements for federal help, then things can get pretty grim. Even those who get a SSDI check have little structure in their lives and some end up on the streets. The added factor of having a legal means to getting pain killers makes the situation worse.

I hope this post has opened some eyes about the causes of homelessness. Of course, you would never know of these hidden reasons if you never took the time to talk with someone who is homeless.

A Leaders in Training Service Project

KEYS Service Corps, AmeriCorps

In the North Side of Pittsburgh there is poverty, brokenness, and dejectedness. There is also hope. There are youth that live in the various North Side communities that are transforming themselves and their community. The future is bright because of these students. The Pittsburgh Project is enabling these students to transform themselves and their community. The Pittsburgh Project is a youth development non-profit that has a program called Leaders in Training (LITs). The program is a high school youth development program that aims to develop work skills within the youth and prepare them for college. Part of the leaders’ training involves addressing an issue that plagues the community.

Homelessness is an issue that plagues the North Side. There are whole homeless communities that exist. The communities are often found under bridges. The staff of the LITs,  the students, and I decided that we could make a difference. We decided that…

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Beyond the Numbers: Understanding Youth Homelessness

Well Done, Good and Faithful Homeless Man

Not all homeless people are there because of bad moral character. Some times the world just tries to starve the good out of someone. –T.J.

Wild Goose Writings

There I was, sitting on the coffee shop patio at the corner of Lonsdale and 29th, engaged in a business meeting.

As we were talking, I was trying to stay focused on the topic at hand, but my ears picked up the familiar sound of shopping cart on sidewalk.  I glanced to see a dusty, scruffy man pushing his cart full of empty bottles and cans.

What I saw next took my breath away.

The man manoeuvred his full cart to the corner, pressed the button, and waited.  When the walking signal flashed, he proceeded to cross.  I was so intent on him I didn’t notice that on the other side a frail, old lady with a walker was also waiting to cross. They met right where the sidewalk sloped to the road.

The man navigated his cumbersome cart around the lady-obstacle who had by now lost her chance to make it…

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Are they going to kill Google Buzz?

I’ve searched and searched for a nice little community social network for you all to connect on, and just when I thought I found it, arrrggghh! it looks like they are going to shut down Google Buzz.

It would have been so cool. I will keep you posted about the process and if I find any alternatives.

Resume Drafting For the Urban Survival Specialist — Part Two

Okay. I assume you read Part One and have a resume written out. Books at the library can help you with formatting the thing so it looks professional. Just don’t try to” lift” work references from the book. Your prospective employer will find out. This is the computer age, for God sakes. Now take that wonderful resume print-out and read it from an employers prospective. You have jobs here and there, in a couple different lines of work. Gosh! Your health care worker/office clerk/computer geek resume is a mish-mash of experience. Yet, Mr./Ms. Employer wants dedication. Commitment. What to do?

You have to put your jack-of-all-trades cap on and retool your resume to focus on each individual industry that you are interested in. In you health care worker resume, put the spot light on what matters most for your prospective employer. Fill the page with volunteer work and show off your skill level.

Do the same with your office clerk and computer geek resumes. Now, take the extra step and make 2 more hybrid resumes: health care experience with office clerk experience and office clerk worker with a computer geek bent. Hybrid resumes are great when you are transitioning from one career to another.

You will have plenty of extra space on the focused resumes to put in all the tiny details that would set you apart from the pack. Think long and hard about these details. Gather all those “pat on the back” moments and breathe some life back into them.  Add in what you know past employers have valued in you and don’t be modest about accomplishments, especially if you can throw in a numerical value (sales up 25%, increased inventory production by $3,000 a month, losses decreased 30%, etc).

In the references section, drop in “References available upon request” and, if you don’t have them yet, get some. They come from everyday places… church members, people who are helping you in your employment search, educators from classes that you have taken. Just be sure they have a clear speaking voice, can say something good about you and your character, will be clean and sober during business hours, etc.

Once you have your resumes ready, it is time to think about cover letters (will it never end!??! you ask.) Just use the same cut and paste formula like the resume, focusing on each employment skill. Oh, and this is where it gets easy. Those books in the library with cover letter formats (the real syrupy sounding kiss-up letters), you can actually copy whole paragraphs and count them as your own. Just make sure that what you copy applies to you. Plus, you can talk about something that is already in your resume (just re-word the baby, don’t want them to think you cut and pasted from the resume). Take your cues from the job postings ad and write a cover letter emphasising that you have the experience and skills that they need. Ta-da. Now you have a wonderful introduction package to present, either on-line or through snail mail, to your prospective employer.

What’s next? Getting ready for the dreaded interview! If you are prepared ahead of time and you really like (and are interested in) the jobs you have applied for, then the interview will not be so bad… I promise. See interview tips in Part Three.