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My Turn: An uncertain life gets even harder

I have been homeless since Sept. 11, 2012. I lived in a tent by the railroad tracks (the “tubes”) and in a shelter during the winter.

I left the area by the tubes and moved to a place I had thought was okay. But I’ve been told all homeless people need to move by Tuesday, and we haven’t been told where we can go.

Let me describe what life is like for me as a homeless man in my late 50s. I sleep on the ground at night, unless I am able to get a bed at a shelter in the winter. Where I stay is a considerable distance from the Friendly Kitchen, so I spend a lot of time walking. I also walk to places where I can escape from the cold in the winter and where I can be cool in the summer. I walk to doctor appointments and all other locations. When I walk, I carry a backpack with my few belongings. 

I rely on help from Open Hands, the Friendly Kitchen, the Concord Homeless Resource Center, the churches that open their doors to us during the cold months, and the generosity of those who care enough to help.

The uncertainty of a homeless life is hard. It’s even harder when we’re told we have to leave but aren’t told where we can stay. I didn’t set out to be homeless. Life’s circumstances put me where I am.

I ask you to put yourself in the shoes of a homeless person. How would you feel if you had nothing? If every day was spent simply trying to survive, and then you had to pack up and move every month?

We need to know where we can stay. We need reasonable people to consider our circumstances and a realistic effort to come up with a reasonable solution.

(Wendell Ford lives in Concord.)

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