We seldom have an opportunity to take time to hear from a homeless person and get a feeling of what being homeless is like. Here is your opportunity. I asked one of my homeless friends who stays at the Nomadic Shelter on the evenings that it is open to write his experience down. This is what he wrote out for me.
“I’m 48 years old. Was raised by my Grandparents who are passed. I’m from the Bay area. I started working at a street rod shop as a welder & fabricator building custom cars at age 17. I did that off & on at 3 shops for about12 years. I was also a Union iron worker where I had a serious back injury that still restricts what I can do. At age 29 I owned a big home in a nice neighborhood in the Bay Area. I don’t drink. smoke, or do any kind of drugs. I made a big mistake that I thoroughly regret and ended up losing everything & went to prison for seventeen years. I had never been in any real trouble before & ending up in a violent level 4 prison. That was a horrible culture shock I have ever seen & experienced things that have seriously traumatized me. I have always had mental health issues. But over the years the stress & major depression has caused heart failure. I have had a pace maker for almost eleven years now. Getting out of prison I was told by CDCR that because I have no family & no where to go that CDCR was going to place me at a prison & take me to transitional housing. But upon my release no one picked me up. So I had to figure out how to get to the parole officer in Auburn which I did. I met my parole officer & he said there is no transitional housing. He dropped me off at the Walmart parking lot in Placerville & told me to go find a place in the woods to live. That was fourteen months ago. I am unable to work due to my physical & mental health problem. I hear voices, I have hallucinations. I have also been struggling with some type of dementia for five years. I get lost sometimes. I have tried to go into homes thinking that I still live there. I have attempted suicide, I tried to jump off the Forest Hill Bridge where the Police picked me up & took me to the hospital. I have been in several hospitals and many mental institutions. I don’t even know how I got to the bridge. In my mind I thought for some reason I was in Oregon. I can see demons follow me. I am struggling to just make it through the day. The last 20 years have been so hard I know that I can make it much longer. Parole has done nothing to help me & say that there is no help coming from them & they have obstructed others from helping me. Throwing parolees out on the street to be homeless in an unfamiliar area where I don’t know anybody is a plan for failure. Nobody should have to ho through this, especially people who have real medical & mental problems. I have worked so hard to change for the better. I have a lot of incite on how my life went off course. Under different circumstances I could have become a productive member of society instead of a transient who is hoping for my pace maker battery to finally give out so my sorrow & hurt will finally end. It should have given out two months ago but it’s still going, for now. If I was an alcoholic of drug addict there would be some program I could go to but for people like me there is nothing. I have met many homeless parolees in Placerville, several with mental problems & parole does nothing for them either CDCR does a great job of taking care of themselves, but those of us, who are their wards have nothing coming. My hospitalizations have cost the county around $100,000.00. Safe, stable, housing could have prevented most of this & would have been much cheaper.”