Monday, July 2, 2012

What is Next...

I have begun to look into Kentucky and Tennessee as my next locations for the Humble Homeless Project. I have not decided which city among the states yet, but for Kentucky it is between Lexington and Louisville, as for Tennessee the options are Memphis and Nashville. I look forward to continuing the Humble Homeless Project, although I have not put a time for my next voyage seeing that I will make it fit around my whatever job I am blessed to begin within the next few months, as I am on the job hunt.

I would like to add some type of campaign with my next homeless trip to have an opportunity to raise money and clothing for the homeless shelters within the state I travel to. As well as raise awareness with hopes that individuals within the state will also volunteer at their local homeless shelters.

I am still trying to gain the information and resources needed to make Humble Homeless Project into a non for profit organization.

I cannot wait until my next trip!


Sunday, April 1, 2012


I would like to thank everyone for all the care and support, I have safely made it back to Charleston, IL (EIU). Please know that this project would have been a lot more difficult for me if I would have not had so many people supporting me. Every time I noticed a comment or the number of page views rise I got excited just knowing that I was able to provide someone with insight on the issue of homelessness. By no means was this project meant to put me in the spotlight but rather raise the awareness on homelessness within our on country, more specific our communities.

The Humble Homeless Project will definitely not stop here, this project started as an independent study course but has developed into a life mission for myself. Some how I will continue to try to have a positive influence on raising awareness and assisting the homeless. I just ask that you please keep a look out for the next Humble Homeless Project and continue to support because it is gratefully appreciated as well as needed.

Homelessness does not equal Heartlessness, remember they are us and we are them.

Friday, March 30, 2012

Keeping the Faith

On a daily basis you go through trials and tribulations. Some could be as minor as being late for work, getting a bad grade in a class, or losing your wallet. Major trials and tribulations could be getting wounded or hurt, losing a job, or losing a loved one. For the majority of time we are just challenged with those minor trials and tribulations but we act as if we have lost everything we dwell on it and forget that it always could be worst.

For these men in here everyday is a major trial and tribulation not knowing if there will be enough room in the shelter for them to stay here, attempting to find a job, and staying away from the negatives that have put them in this situation. Although a majority of them walk around with their head held high, refusing to believe they are not blessed. After experiencing such things these men have they know how to remain grateful for the small things.

Next time something happens in your life remember it could be worse. Remember to thank God for the blessing he has bestowed on you, rather than waiting for something wrong to happen to call on him. I have seen men in here pray more than 4 times a day, thanking him for at least putting them under the roof of a homeless shelter rather than having to sleep on the streets. They thank him for another day, knowing that the day may not be filled with the best opportunities but they realize that they could have not been blessed with this day.

For them to continue to keep the faith, is amazing, but yet its not difficult when your Blessed by the Best!

If they can do it, you can do it. KEEP THE FAITH!!!

The woman in the picture is not panhandling but actually telling her story of why she is in the situation she is in, to people that donate any spare money to her and that are willing to listen to her story.

Not Looking Homeless

When I first arrived at the shelter I was very observant on the clothing of the men here. Some really looked homeless, literally wearing clothes and shoes with holes in them. On the other hand there were men that looked as if they had a pocket full of money. They have on Jordan shoes; shoes that cost anywhere from $100-$175. Two men even had on suits, one was a three piece, very sharp. I quickly assumed that they were taking advantage of the system; just coming to the shelter for the free meals. Although these men are homeless as well.

I over heard one man say, just because I am homeless does not mean I have to look homeless. From there I began to understand that if they go out looking for jobs or whatever it is they do throughout the day with worn and torn clothes they would be prejudged and not taken seriously. These men have pride in them self and understand their position but refuse to allow others outside of the shelter know their predicament.

Also there are those that find temp jobs and get paid anywhere from $30-$50 a day. Once they get their money they spend it on the wrong thing, they do not prioritize their earnings and use it properly. They will blow the money away literally. That is why I feel there needs to be workshops provided to them on how to manage their money. These men are willing to learn they just need to be taught and without anyone to teach them they are stuck in the ways, committing the same wrong doings over and over.

Without the proper guidance how do we expect them to stay on the right track...

Thursday, March 29, 2012


Generally, there are two types of panhandling: passive and aggressive. Passive panhandling is soliciting without threat or menace, often without any words exchanged at all, just a cup or a hand held out along with a sign. Aggressive panhandling is soliciting coercively, with actual or implied threats, or menacing actions. If a panhandler uses physical force or extremely aggressive actions, the panhandling may constitute robbery.

Isolated incidents of passive panhandling are usually a low police priority. In many jurisdictions, panhandling is not even illegal. Even where it is illegal, police usually tolerate passive panhandling, for both legal and practical reasons. Courts in some jurisdictions have ruled that passive panhandling is constitutionally protected activity. Police can reasonably conclude that, absent citizen complaints, their time is better spent addressing more serious problems. Whether panhandling and other forms of street disorder cause or contribute to more serious crime.

Panhandling becomes a higher police priority when it becomes aggressive or so pervasive that its cumulative effect, even when done passively, to make passersby apprehensive. Panhandling is of greater concern to merchants who worry that their customers will be discouraged from patronizing their business. Merchants are most likely to call police when panhandling disrupts their commerce.

Police must also be concerned with the welfare of panhandlers who are vulnerable to physical and verbal assault by other panhandlers, street robbers†† or passersby who react violently to being panhandled. Panhandlers often claim certain spots as their own territory, and disputes and fights over territory are not uncommon.

Broadly speaking, public policy perspectives on panhandling are of two types; the sympathetic view and the unsympathetic view. The sympathetic view, commonly but not unanimously held by civil libertarians and homeless advocates, is that panhandling is essential to destitute people's survival, and should not be regulated by police. Some even view panhandling as a poignant expression of the plight of the needy, and an opportunity for the more fortunate to help. The unsympathetic view is that panhandling contributes to further community disorder and crime, as well as to panhandlers' degradation and deterioration as their underlying problems does not get addressed. Those holding this view believe panhandling should be heavily regulated by police.

People's opinions about panhandling are rooted in deeply held beliefs about individual liberty, public order and social
responsibility. Their opinions are also shaped by their actual exposure to panhandling, the more people are panhandled, the less sympathetic they are toward panhandlers. While begging is discouraged on most philosophical grounds and by most major religions, many people feel torn about whether to give money to panhandlers. Some people tolerate all sorts of street disorder, while others are genuinely frightened by it. This tension between opposing viewpoints will undoubtedly always exist.

Some individuals will offer services in exchange for donations; people perform nominal labor such as 'squeeging' (cleaning) the windshields of cars stopped in traffic, holding car doors open, saving parking spaces, guarding parked cars, and carrying luggage or groceries.

Panhandling is Illegal in Indiana!

The Doctor's List

I do not think I have blogged much information about those that are physically disabled in some way. I have noticed 6 individuals with a cane, 1 with a crutch and a foot brace, 1 man in wheelchair, 1 with a walker, 1 with two canes as if they are crutches he has a huge leg brace and several others with just bad limps

These men obviously have a physical disability that holds them back from being able to do hard labor jobs, which could possibly be the only thing they are qualified for due to lack of education or understanding of new technology. So that make you ask the question, is that the only thing (which is a major thing) that is holding them back from 'getting back on their feet.'

Although when you do not have job, you can not afford insurance or doctor bills, when you can not afford to pay those bills you do not get the services you require, and without getting healthy you cannot return back to the job field. It is a ongoing problem, that does not have a good outlook.

There is a doctor list available at the shelter for individuals to sign up to see the doctor but usually they only take a certain number due to the time available for the doctor to be here. Also I think the doctor only comes once or twice a week. There is a possibility that you can go several weeks without seeing the doctor, unfortunately.

As a man, we belief that we are workers...hands-on workers, and for that to be taken away from you when all you feel you know is how to do a certain job is incredible disheartening. Then as a man you find yourself 'lost' in life, feeling that you are not of value, feeling that you are not a MAN.

Take ur Meds!!!

I hear the phrase "Take your Meds!" a lot throughout the day in the shelter. There are mentally challenged men here in the shelter that I feel should be in a better facility, that will accommodate their needs better.

Before bed and right after waking up is the worst, when individuals who have not taken their meds begin to "act up." Last night when I was in the restroom there was a man that is about 60 years old talking to himself, or he could have been talking to me but I could not tell. He was saying, someone is going to die tonight, cause he don't play that mess. I was not to alarmed for my safety but was more concerned about him because he did not have that attitude an hour ago. He then left the restroom talking out loud that its gonna be a problem tonight. Obviously he has some mental disorder, but I never seen any staff member assist him with his condition, they just told him to be quiet.

This morning there was a young man sitting on the stairs, he is about 20 years old. Another homeless man walked up to him and asked how is work going, and the young man replied loudly for him to get away and leave him alone. The other man tried again to have a peaceful conversation but once again the younger man yelled out at him. The man walked away telling the young man to hurry up and take his meds.

This phrase is common in here but who knows if these men are actually taking their meds properly. The staff allows anyone to keep their medicine with them but do not oversee the use of it. I am not saying that they should not allow mentally disabled men in but there needs to be a better procedure for them. They may see it as a good thing to allow them to stay here and provide some assistance, but if they are not PROPERLY assisted they could be harmful to others around them.

I am not sure how to conclude this blog entry but I feel there needs to be more concern towards the well-being of everyone in the shelter, including those mentally disabled.

Did he deserve it?

A homeless man we will call Carl, was kicked out of the shelter last night for 7 days. Because one of the staff members said he was giving him attitude. If a faculty/staff members decide that you have broke a rule or being disrespectful that have the power to kick you out of the shelter (usually for 7 days but can be more).

The staff member (also a Chaplain) said there has been several times Carl has been disrespectful, the only example he gave was that Carl told him, "I don't wanna hear the bull coming out your mouth." Carl continued to ask for other examples but were not given any. About 30 minutes earlier Carl had stepped out of the man giving the sermon to speak with the head of the facility to make sure he was marked down for a bed or mat. Everyone could tell that the Chaplain was highly upset, because at the beginning of his sermon he asked that everyone stayed seated. Although I can understand going to figure out if you have a bed or mat for the night as an important topic, because if Carl does not he needs to look for other alterations as soon as possible at it was 8pm at the time.

The dispute between Carl and the Chaplain took place in front of everyone, which I believe should have been done behind close doors. There has to be some type of accountability on the professionalism by all staff members, no matter your ranking. Carl asked the head of the facility to step in but he said he could not change the decision of the Chaplain. Carl calmly left without the justification he was seeking.

Throughout the entire dispute I could here others (homeless men) speaking about how wrong the situation was and blown out of proportion. As well how some staff members over use their powers.

There needs to be a better procedure put in place for kicking someone out...

-7 days...Is this too much?
-Do you feel this could have been handled better?

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Dinner Conversation

I had a great conversation at dinner today with two other men who both were older than 50 years old. Both of these men are incredible wise, for this blog they will be known as Adam and Anthony. The conversation sparked when Anthony asked if we were staying at the shelter tonight and Adam responded that he was too late and all beds and mats are booked up. Then he began to talk about how the government does not help! He began to talk about issues the government is keen on but feels homelessness is a issue that is at the bottom of the priority list. Anthony seeming to be very familiar with the bible, said a verse that caught my attention, The Harvest is Plentiful but the Laborers Few (Luke 10:1-8). He talked about how we have enough land for everyone but not enough man power (individuals that cares) to help create housing options for those in needs. Anthony also pointed out several vacant buildings (one being next door) within the area that can be used for homeless shelters or alternate housing systems. They shared other beliefs on the issue for about 5 minutes but the conversation concluded with Anthony who said, "don't worry, live life and be grateful."

Get Robbed...Not Today!

I was walking back to the homeless shelter from the Library, when two men began following me as I passed the Veterans Memorial. As I got about 2 blocks from the shelter walking down the alley I felt something hit me in the back of the head at the same time something pulling me back, it was someone trying to pull my backpack off my back. When I turned around there was two guys, which I found out later they both are homeless. One of the men yelled to me to give him my backpack and I refused. (If they would have asked for just my wallet I would have gave it to them. I created a false wallet, in case of a robbery filled with an old panther card, store cards ex: Kroger, and $2. I would have been willing to give that up knowing that I still had my real wallet.) Once I refused one of the guys pulled out a steak knife and insisted that I give it to him. I replied with no words, but I pulled out my pocket knife. There was a standoff that lasted probably 10 seconds but felt like 5 minutes. Out of no where I hear a voice, "Leave Him Alone" when I looked to my right there was a guy I meet yesterday in the shelter walking with another man. They began running towards us and the two men who were attempting to rob me took off. I was very grateful for the timing of the two men that ultimately stopped a situation that could have been a lot worst. Only 2 blocks from the shelter the two men (one who is K who sleeps on mat 33 and I am 35 we became cool instantly) explained to me that the two thieves were homeless men as well who had been kicked out of the shelter for stealing other's belongings and they basically survive of robbing other homeless individuals...well not today!

I have a small knot on the back of my head from being hit, nothing I can't walk off.

Although this situation was somewhat scary it was a real experience that these individuals have to deal with on a regular.

The main thing that was mind boggling...this happened at about 2:40pm smh in the daytime..I expected at least at night.

S/O to K I'm have to give him my dessert at dinner to show him my appreciation for his great timing.

Buying and Selling Sex

There are homeless men and women that literally will have sex with one another for an exchange of $5-$10 or even a pack of cigs and bottle of liquor...WOW, your thinking right. However this seems to be normal within the homeless community around here. Men and Women both brag on some of the experiences they have had recently. Sex is a beautiful thing between two people and we all enjoy it, so why would you not think homeless individuals would stop partaking in sex just because they don't have reliable shelter, definitely not the case. Although one thing I was concerned about was their lack of use of protection or worry of STDs.

Fresh Meat

"Fresh Meat" wait....Did this lady just call me "Fresh Meat?" In fact she did call me that, I encountered a group (5) of homeless women as I left the library walking with a known homeless man of the area. Instantly a conversation started with me being the topic. They asked me questions such as where am I from and how did I get in this situation. Then the conversation got a little raunchy, asking questions about relationships and preferences.

"Wanna have a good time, later on" is what one of the homeless women asked me, she seemed to be between 35-40 yrs old. Politely I changed the subject of the conversation without having to answer her.

I know you may be curious to whether or not the social and relationship aspect of life continues for the homeless, well it does. They are social among each other realizing that they are in the same situation and have to worry less about being judged. As far as relationships some of them do have a girlfriend/boyfriend or a wife/husband how they manage to keep the relationship successful, but one thing to know the passion is real compared to being with one another for the benefits or material things.

Just sitting around

Some people may see homeless individuals as lazy and taking advantage of others, unfortunately some of them are, but the majority are not. They are truly down on their luck, recovering drug user, unemployed, mentally challenged, etc.

You see them sitting down on a corner of the street and you think that is all that they do, sit and beg. However just sitting there is one of the hardest things to do. First they have to deal with people walking by giving horrible looks, talking about them, and worst of all judging. Then there is the issue of dealing with any inner problems such as a mental disability or self esteem issues. And lastly, there is the fact that they are sitting there just thinking, usually thinking of the things they do not have anymore which can destroy the mind set of an individual. So please know that 'just' sitting is a difficult thing!

The NEW Guy....Call me Humble

It is obvious that I am the new guy in the shelter, a lot of other homeless men and the staff at the shelter ask me, is this temporary or permanent, I quickly respond temporary. Where some individuals have been helpful others are looking at me waiting for me to make a mistake of leaving something valuable for them to grab for their own use or to sell for $.

They ask do I have an alias name, because one of the staff members, name is Darius, so I told them they can call me, Humble.

There are small traditions they do such as whenever someone ask if your new and I reply yes there are yells through out the area 'Gotta New Guy' as if its an honor to be in this situation...

Rise and Shine...Now go out and Grind!

It is mandatory wake call at 5am and now it is time to start our day. Yesterdays procedure began by us having mandatory Chapel at 7:30pm (where there was an argument between two homeless men), then showers at 8:30pm and in the bed by 9pm. The way the system flowed last nite almost seemed like we were in jail, SMH.

I got lucky yesterday as a new person here to receive a bed (#35), bunk bed style. I have to report back with this shelter no later than 4:30 if I would like my bed again, if I am late I have lost my bed for the day, possible the week.

Another homeless man offered a lot of insight for me on how to survive around here homeless. He asked me to guess his age to begin with, I said, 39 years old, but he was actually 54, I honestly would have never guessed. He has been homeless for 2 months now. He was addicted to crack at one point of his life, he did acknowledge that he still uses from time to time, but he has made all his progress with giving the drug up as daily use on his own. He said he had to, for his daughter and 4 granddaughters. He has given me directions on 'temp' services jobs as well as independent contractors that will hire you on the spot (if they want you and feel your capable of doing the job) for about $6-$7/hour straight cash only for the day. I may attempt to work some although I cannot apply for any 'temp' services due to not having birth certificate or social security card. Today he has agreed to take me around with him if I promise to teach him some basic computer skills....DEAL!

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Higher Expectations

I expected for the homeless shelter to provide some sort of developmental training for the homeless individuals seeking assistance however the only thing educational being taught is religious studies there is a mandatory Chapel or Bible Study option for those staying over night. Although I do like that this shelter gives the option for individuals to leave in the morning or stick around. However if you stay at the shelter throughout the day you only have availability to the sitting room which is the size of a class room with about 50 chairs and 1 tv. There is no recreational space, but there is a fenced area outside at the side door where individuals can go smoke at.

If I'm blessed to one day own and manage a homeless shelter I would love to offer workshops throughout the day that helps develop leadership, professional skills, and personal development. Not only do I want to assist them with finding shelter and employment, but also provide them with the knowledge to maintain a positive lifestyle. Participating in this project makes me feel closer to accomplishing my dream.

Over capacity

These gentlemen are homeless for all types of reasons, from eviction, unemployed, mental disability, and even personal decision. It is sad to see that some of these men with disabilities have no family or supporters other than this homeless shelter; their options are so limited. Although it is easy to notice the men who are taking advantage of the system and coming to the shelter for the free food and bed, yet they have on name brand clothing and Micheal Jordan shoes SMH!!! Some individuals will not be granted a bed or mat tonight because of over capacity. Those individuals will be stuck to find alternate housing. If for some reason I am unable to stay here, I have found an abandoned construction site the location that I should be able to get adequate shelter at.

There has been two men that have reached out to assist me in my situation. They have given me insight on things such as a location where I can go that will provide me with clots from head to toe, to who are the men to stay clear of because of either attitude or theft problems.    

Shelter Rules

Rules of the Shelter:
No smoking
No alcohol/drugs
No violence, foul language, and threatening behavior
No pornography
No weapons
No food or drink brought from outside
No entry or re-entry without permission after 4:30pm
Mandatory Bible Study for those staying overnight
Length of stay: 10 nights in  a row per month
Report to bed at 9pm
Wake-up call at 5am

Checking in to Homeless Shelter

As I walk in...eyebrows rise. "He is to young to be here," is all that hearing among the whispers. Instantly the man checking individuals in comments on my age ad that he has never seen me before. When arrived there was about 20 other gentlemen, within 2 hours the number shoots up to about 70, due to lunch being served and every male is welcome to the food. Not all these individuals plan on staying the night here, but there is only 40 beds offered and I pray I get one.

No Sleep!!!

My first night was was unbelievable cold, the temperature got down to about 15-20 degrees. The thin jacket that I wore did nothing to help, I got approx. 2 hours of sleep. I found my spot for the night at about 2am and at 7am I was back up, hitting the streets of Indianapolis. I have attempted to upload pictures and video recordings although they will not upload properly. At this point in the day I will attempt to find a soup kitchen and homeless shelter, to check in. I also may look for a salvation army, hoping to find a bigger coat, it is 35 degrees right now.

Good Night

Good Night! I am going to attempt to find somewhere to lay my head for the 1st night, pray for me.

Monday, March 26, 2012


I have arrived in Indianapolis, IN. The first thing I did was say a prayer, asking the God to watch over me. From there I took my pocket knife out my backpack and placed it in my right pocket, ready for whatever. As I left the bus station to embark on my journey I initially went the wrong way, SMH, but i am on track and downtown in the heart of Indianapolis. I have been walking for about 20 minutes, trying to remember streets, significant buildings, and locations with free Wi-Fi. I am currently in a Steak`n Shake using their free Wi-Fi, although i had buy food to sit in here, so with limited funds I have purchased water and fries. I am taking forever to eat these fries because I know I will be expected to leave once I am done.

Also I have spotted another homeless individual. I can tell due to her being alone and having a lot of items with her in a plastic bag. As well she is stalling with eating her food. Looking into her eyes I can see that she is tired. This is going to be a rough 5 nights...

Change of plans...

I originally planned on driving my car to Indianapolis, IN with intentions on leaving it somewhere, but just to make sure I do not use it as a crutch, I have decided to take the train there. I will be leaving from Charleston, IL at approx. 6pm and arriving in Indianapolis at 11pm. I will be returning Saturday, March 31st; therefor I will be spending a total of 5 nights, approx. 105 hours homeless. WISH ME LUCK!!


This is a list of items I will be taking with me:
·      Identification/Letter of intent 
·      Backpack    
·      $40
·      Tablet
·      Camera
·      Plastic Bags
·      Small empty container
·      Jacket
·      Notebook and pens
·      Blanket
·      Map
·      Lighter
·      Flash lights
·      Pepper spray
·      Deodorant/Wet wipes
·      Toothbrush/toothpaste 
·      Towel
·      Hat
·      Pocket knife
·      Bible

I will not be taking in spare clothes, if for some reason I need more clothes due to
damaging them, I must seek out a salvation army or goodwill. There is only one
homeless shelter that I am eligible for within the area, Wheeler Mission Ministries, the
other three are only for women or as a man I have to have a wife or children with me to
be eligible.


The purpose of this project is for me to get the ultimate experience of a homeless individual. Although I am doing this for my independent study course, this project is my idea and I have not been asked by the University to participate in this activity. At one point in my life I hope to have the opportunity to work with homeless individuals and the homelessness situation in the United States, however how can I truly help if I do not know what they are experiencing, so what better than to actually go out there and experience it firsthand. Homelessness is a crucial situation in the United States that I believe has been overlooked tremendously, and I plan on spreading the awareness of the situation through this blog.

My goal is to visit all 50 states as homeless man to gain the experience but more importantly spread the awareness. I even have a dream of making this a non for profit organization!