R.I.P Michael Wesley Collins, who took his own life today.
This is what he wrote about homelessness at the end of November 2018:
“Homelessness is no joke. Taking a journey through being homeless and penniless has given me a new perspective on what hardships homeless people endure. Once you’re in it, it’s very, very difficult to escape. You run into chicken-egg problems again and again and it leads to an inevitable downward spiral. For example, you can’t get a job because you’re homeless and you’re homeless because you can’t get a job. Imagine having no car, being filthy and trying to show up to a job interview. It’s impossible, and you come into a hopeless downward spiral. The homeless shelters are awful places where they pack people in like sardines in bunk beds, and everyone there is in a dark state of hopelessness.
The social services in the USA are a joke and they don’t provide enough support to even live, let alone give you an opportunity to dig yourself out of a hopeless hole. Welfare amounts to almost nothing, not even enough to buy food, let alone establish an apartment or residence, and it’s quite difficult to get as well, and the system is unforgiving for missed appointments, which can happen quite easily when you don’t have a home or money for transportation. Again, it’s part of the vicious cycle.
Often there is a waiting list to even get into a homeless shelter. In San Diego for example, the wait list is 1 month, so you must sleep on the street for a month before being considered to sleep in a crowded room. To receive government-assisted housing, the wait list is 2 years! If you become homeless in the richest country in the world, you would wait 2 years for relief!
People are immensely cruel to the homeless as well, many of whom suffer from a psychiatric condition that they cannot help. Often families reject people with psychiatric conditions with the misunderstanding that they could be dangerous in some way, but most often they are sensitive souls who also often connect with higher spiritual energies. In old days, these people would be seen as prophets, medicine men, and spiritual leaders, but today they are derided as mentally ill and very often wind up homeless. They are most often victims of human cruelty and miscomprehension, rather than a threat.
I am still homeless, though I’m continuing to fight my way out, but thankfully I still have some generous friends and haven’t yet sunk so low that I cannot escape, though I remain on the precipice. I will say that I will kill myself before I fall into that level of despair, and I fight daily to keep myself from this fate, but often I must choose between difficult options. I have also endured an immense amount to trauma during this experience, and the idea of taking time for healing is ridiculous considering that I must navigate getting basic needs met like food and shelter with the onset of winter coming.
Please keep me and all other homeless in your prayers, but action is needed even more than prayer. If you see homeless, or know of someone on the brink of homelessness, please have compassion for them and give to them generously. You have no idea of the circumstances that led to their condition, as this world can be a cruel and unforgiving place.
I have a master’s degree, high intelligence, and a variety of high-value skills, but I still wound up homeless and if you understood the story and reasons why, it would make perfect sense, and you would also understand that I had no control of the events that led to this place. It was a complex series of events that caused it, and it can truly happen to anyone.
Have compassion for those who have fallen into this horrible state of despair.”