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JohnJJohn Posts: 964
edited 06/11/2012 - 8:40 AM in Good News
I have been trying to support a homeless man for a few years in my community; I buy him things and give him money for a warm drink where possible. He lives in a derelict garage, his face reflective of 15 years from the cold, his clothes sewn on for warmth, he has MH issues. I searched for him last Christmas Eve with hot soup and dry clothes.

He was a manager in London and worked in France, he regaled a story of going to a private school with his name embroidered on his uniform, and he speaks fondly of growing up and his youth.

Today it’s minus 5 and I have not seen him for a few days, he has specific routines and my daughter gave him some money and stopped for a chat about four days ago.

The reality of living on the street is shocking; I am supporting him in what he wants to do.

Any ideas ?

His name is Alan.

Take care. John



  • Hopefully he sought shelter from the cold somewhere. Short of checking all the shelters, hospitals and police stations, I'd say following his known route is the best bet.

    I wish you luck in finding he is okay.

  • LizLiz Posts: 7,832
    I have known of a few people who live on the street, 2 of which I know still owned their own homes but prefer the life on the street.
    I know they get picked up from time to time, cleaned up given health care but then prefer to go back on the streets.
    I worked at London's Waterloo station in 1992/4 homeless people slept underneath the arches outside the office, there were clothes brought and left for them including new shoes etc, but over the course of the week the clothes were strewn over the ground and never used.
    It is hard to understand and help.

    Liz, Spine-health Moderator

    Spinal stenosis since 1995
    Lumber decompression surgery S1 L5-L3[1996]
    Cervical stenosis, so far avoided surgery
  • Just the very act of any kindness to Alan is probably enough for now, there is a canny community out there, with survival skills rivaling that of any hardened veteran. I pray he wil be warm n safe and if there is any warmer clime, I hope he has migrated, for now. Kep up the good work and stay warm in your life.
    William Garza
    Spine-Health Mod

    Welcome to Spine-Health

  • There is only so much you can do.
    Check his route as far as you know it, if it is safe to do so!

    Perhaps check the shelters and local police if you fear the worst, they should know.

    Also, If you know any other homeless people, ask them. The community of homeless is often very knowledgeable of their group and who might have gone were. be it a cave, sewer even, with those temps he may have a hidey hole he does not really like, but it keeps him warm.
  • It is ours to do for those who cant, You are doing a great and wonderful good for this man and dont despair of trying, only of failing to try. Keep that wonderful heart lit Mr John!
    William Garza
    Spine-Health Mod

    Welcome to Spine-Health

  • What a noble thing.

    Where I live, the homeless live under the overpasses. Only, recently DOTD has been widening the interstate there and I haven't seen any.

    One agency decided to do a "habitat for homeless" or something of that nature; they give the homeless a place to live, but they have to do the plumbing, electrica/carpentry work, cleaning, etc. Basically free room and board.

    I feel for some of the homeless; I've seen (through the Disability Appeals process) how easy it is to lose everything you've worked your whole life for; and it's the families or the young/elderly that grab my heart. I'll give them $$ in a heartbeat (much to my husband's dismay).

    Hope you find your friend; if not - I hope he's warm.

    Merry Christmas, Everyone!
  • What you have been doing all year long is what typifies the true spirit of Christmas, in my opinion!

    Others have given you ideas of what to do next, I just wanted to say you'll receive blessings back on you for your selfless caring. I hope you find Alan alive and well!

    2009 Foraminotomy C6-72010 PLIF L4-S1Multi RFA's, cervical inj, lumbar injLaminectomy L3-4 and fusion w/internal fixation T10-L4 July 17Fusion C2-C5 yet to be scheduled
  • I hope Alan has found a warmer place to sleep at one of the shelters. I remember we had a patient in the hospital with foot ulcers and the Social Worker was setting up a long term place for him to go and he refused. He wanted to live "out there" and not be stuck in one place. Hopefully he'll find a warm place to live. Blessings to you for your acts of kindness. Charry
    DDD of lumbar spine with sciatica to left hip,leg and foot. L4-L5 posterior disc bulge with prominent facets, L5-S1 prominent facets with a posterior osteocartilaginous bar. Mild bilateral foraminal narrowing c-spine c4-c7 RN
  • Hello,
    I have found him this morning, he feeds the birds obsessively giving little concern for his own well being. This perhaps the life he has chosen and who I am to suggest anything different. He is of no fixed abode and to that extent his appeal for continuing any state subsistence has been rejected. What is that to say of a society that imposes barriers to those in most need for the want of an address.

    He is very independent and the offer of somewhere warmer refused, I do understand that we can only do so much, his appearance differs from the norm and I have seen him abused for that in itself, some people have misconception of who he is and our answers are not necessarily his. He has a small plastic box with all his worldly possessions, a comb, some cigarettes matches and glasses he found on the street.

    He had been in a shelter where people with drug and alcoholic dependency resided and will not now go. The report in our local paper of a man found dead was not him and I did share a few tears of joy and relief for this news. I shall continue to help when I can, last year he said Christmas day was the worse for him and it was something I have never forgotten.

    Thank-you for your kind words of support and guidance, Christmas more than ever is a time when all the Alan’s of our community need our help, kind words and a listening ear. I do take strength from his resolve and adaptability, focusing my attention to others not in pain just requiring support. As Liz said, it is hard to know what to do for the best and I do ask him every time can I do anything more. I would like to thank my 3 teenage children who have this year helped in any way possible and share a kind word and money for a cup of tea for him.

    It is a pleasure to call him a friend and he remembers my name, even when for him surviving every day is a priority.

    From my heart, I thank-you.


  • Hello,
    I saw my homeless friend Alan, he feeds the birds and takes great care for them above his own needs, he has had some recognition and support for his specific needs over these past months, with the severe cold and rain an additional challenge, he has been sleeping rough for the past 15 years. I am humbled at his fortitude and resistance, simple kindness and generosity.

    Some here mention those who are having a difficult time and I am trying to be supportive in what he wants to do, rather than see him in accommodation where he is not happy, this is the life he prefers.

    It is a pleasure to be his friend.

  • hi john
    I wish there were more ppl in our world like you..after ppl have lived in the streets ..they for the most part don't want to live anyother way...
    I also help groups of homeless thru a mission and i ask neighbors and friends often for clothin and such...and it is astounding to see ppl with so much and give so little..............
    Once you talk to a few its is shocking to see all they have been thru in a day just to survive on the streets..
    Alot of homeless in chicago and the mayor treats them like garbage.. and yes there are shelters but no enough safe ones..alot of them here anyway suffer from mental illness and just need place to get help...there are different sections some are drug addicts and each section is diff. so some can not go into these shelters..
    When talking and handing out just a simple sandwich or coffee most homeless are so educated and so thankful for just a simple sandwich ..it warms my heart, when most of us take for granted going to our showeres daily..
    its a great thing to give to others who have nothing but talking with many..they have alot more than us..in there hearts and spirit for sure..
    bless you john
    neck,bone spurs pain started 04, back issues and fusion l4,l5 06~hardware removed.
    good few yrs. 09 pain sharp, numbness feet,legs, diagnosed fibro, neurop. legs.lung issues.
    daily goal do good thing for someone.
  • A young man approached me the other week and asked for any little change i could spare, i gave him all my worldly wealth, .87 cents. he took it like it was a handfull of diamonds. He had shown me the discharge papers from the hospital on shoreline, he had tried to escape from himself, they treated him, and then discharged him to make his way through his unfavored life as best he could.
    He looked in my eyes and said he wanted to go home to San Antonio.

    Where in this great country, of enormous wealth and potential do these forgotten and discarded people have to go?

    As i gazed into his eyes, dulled with hardship and despair, i hoped he would make it to a safe place, if not without, then at least within.

    William Garza
    Spine-Health Mod

    Welcome to Spine-Health

  • You did a good thing. More important than the money is that you stopped and listened. While there is alot of poverty in this country we can't forget that much of it is self-inflicted.

    There are countless programs available to help people get health care, psychiatric care, shelter and even job training. What stops most people is their mental state. They may not be competent to seek or participate long term in these programs. Some for various reasons don't want help. Remember we all have different ideas of how we want to live. We should not impose our values on others. If someone really wants help they will find it.

    It's easy to throw money at a problem. Before you do that you need to figure out what the problem really is and how you can make that money stick. Often what is really needed is a listening ear.
  • I have always been in favor of buying a meal and a drink for someone rather than give money. My family just smiles, as they know of my preferance. What I love now, is that is what my daughter now models.

    I worked for several years in my young and mid twenties in south central LA in rehabilative medicine. The lessons that I was given were many.

    Everyone has their own individual way of "doing" or "giving". The world would be a much better place if we would all pay it forward.

    Thanks John for reminding us and I send my love and well wishes to your friend Alan!
  • there is never enough to go around.
    William Garza
    Spine-Health Mod

    Welcome to Spine-Health

  • I'm with you. Just giving money to homeless is questionable as to where it will go. Giving them food and clothes makes more sense to me.

    On that note. We give to the VA all the time in the form of clothing and other goods. We also give to local shelters for homeless and the women's shelters. Those we give furniture pieces and clothes as they are trying to place people in housing. They need basic furniture and children's clothes to get started on a new life.

    I'm sure just about every one of you on here could donate 1 thing to help someone else get started over again.
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