How homeless people live in the USA: a difficult story of one man
A small coffee house, from whose windows the Pacific Ocean gleams in the rays of the awakening sun. Tom, a 55-year-old thin American, carefully attaches to his wife a piece of apple pie.
Suddenly a bearded man comes in. Greasy blonde hair begs for a haircut. A dirty windbreaker, well-worn jeans - homeless, he's homeless. Fatigue mixed with indifference is reflected in the faded brown eyes, as after a hard day at work. Suddenly he rushes to our table.
- Tom! - joyfully greets my neighbor.
- Jason! How do you? - Tom answers.
-OK. Like children? - says the homeless man.
The conversation comes out quick. As if two old acquaintances waved at each other at the intersection. Homeless disappears in the restroom. To go to the toilet of a small cafe or fast food for the homeless in the United States is a common thing.
“We studied in the same class,” Tom calmly explained. “Good boy, he lived next door.”
Tom's childhood and adolescence were spent near the ocean. A prestigious area, where now the rent of the simplest house costs from $ 4 per month. And a tramp in greasy clothes grew up there? A chill ran through me.
“Jason loved surfing,” he continued calmly. - Often ran away from lessons to the ocean. Already a teenager conquered the waves. Not like the avid pro surfers, but also good ones. It's time to go to university. But Jason kept surfing. "
“He never did. More precisely, I did not even try. Not in a year, not in three. In the end I didn't become a surfer either, ”said Tom.
“But what about the parents? Really didn’t force, didn’t direct him? ” - I was surprised.
“It is not customary for us to put pressure on a child. I agree, it would not hurt to send. I don't know if they tried. I only remember that his sister, on the contrary, followed in her parents' footsteps, working in a bank. And Jason left home. And parents are tired of it. An adult son, he does not pay rent, ”explained Tom.
He, noticing my surprised look, grinned.
“Well, what did you think? From their student age people move out from our parents. And if someone lives, he pays for the room. It is clear, often less than the market price, but you will have to pay $ 600- $ 700, ”Tom answered anticipating the question.
“I often met Jason by the ocean. With the same undecided guys hanging out on the beach for hours. Finding food is not a problem: there are enough shelters with feeding for the homeless. It just turned into a way of life. Instead of a house, there is a tent, and the “bed” is made of old cardboard boxes, ”he continued his story.
“You see, they have their own life here. With its own challenges and events. Get food, shoot a little thing, find out something among themselves. One problem: it is not pleasant to settle in such an area. They feel at ease, and you can't kick them out, because we have freedom and equality. The authorities are trying to influence, but these are already entire areas. Moreover, most of these people were born in the United States, they could easily get a job. The same loader or delivery man. But why? This is the lifestyle they have chosen. It is clear that someone got into bad company or got hooked on some rubbish. Some were just unlucky, ”Tom shrugged.
On the subject: Which states have the largest number of homeless people?
I could not believe that that fair-haired teenage boy, who subjugated the waves, who grew up in one of the most prestigious areas of California, wakes up in the morning in this dirty carriage. It is covered with a shabby blanket obtained in the trash. He sleeps on cardboard.
“But these people can live differently,” somehow escaped me.
- They can. But they don't need it anymore, - said Tom sadly.
Original column published on the blog. "Stupid America" on Yandex.Zen.
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