During last four years, my brain has been shocked, jogged and twisted. It has remained critical, and perplexed. As a paid volunteer, I have worked with approximately 350 residents.

There were no social workers at this shelter (residents --ages 18 to 69 - male and female.) Affordability?

Daily questions have been asked by my brain matter: "Why doesn't this person work?" ---- "Doesn't that man/woman have energy or goals?" --- "Is this person lazy?"---"Why doesn't he/she have life skills?"

--- "Why can't they THINK?" (Why do they lack critical thinking)-- "What happened in their schools and families?" -- "Don't they realize that bad habits have destroyed their lives?" "Don't they realize how this will affect their abandoned children?" Focus has been slanted, when it must be directed at their children.

I must add, I have liked most residents and believe that they are "good" people, who have chosen wrong paths.I must confess -there have been people with chips on shoulders and difficult to love.

We must give more heart to mental health residents - because we do not know if they can control their brains.

I have watched residents, who have sat on a couch--and viewed TV 24/7. We have tried to help, but their lifestyle molds have been cracked and damaged.

The main question is: "How can I help this person?" And, after 48 months of paid volunteer work, I have reached some conclusions, Not many good answers. Where will they go, after they leave the shelter?

As I mentioned previously, some will return to the streets, or live temporarily with someone, and/or live in a park. Some people can not abide by rules, and spend short time in shelters. Others go from shelter to shelter!

It is my belief - that after age 21, it is difficult to change a person's behavior, unless they decide to do so. This includes bad habits of: smoking, drinking, drugging and making bad decisions. There are some love/hate relationships.Some people return to these situations. Over and over.

Often, a resident will relate to a staff member. They do not disclose everything about themselves. But, after a few days, we know some things about them.

After a resident has been entered the shelter, for a few days, it is easy to understand some problems. But, we have been plagued with thoughts, that their homeless problems will continue for years.

Unfortunately, residents (who do not work), have limited resources.No money,nor transportation. Residents who work low paying jobs can not afford apartments.

Many residents do not have peace of mind,or self esteem (confidence).-- Negative attitudes are rampant.Depression looms daily. Others want to stay in bed.

Some residents have claimed, "Someone ratted on me." Believe me, no one needs to tell us about habits. After two or three days, a residents' lifestyle is nearly transparent.

Most homeless people have "nothing." Their belief in God is not cemented.Some persons lack a belief system. If family relationships and friendships exist, they are shaky. They can not or will not change behavior or attitudes.

What can they do?

Medicine is a huge problem. Many homeless residents take too much OTC medicine. Aspirin, antiacid, diarrhea pills. On and on. The Psychiatrist, in many cases, provides strong medication for mentally ill people. Often, I ask, "Does that resident see that Doctor again?" The answer is: Probably not for some time.

I am being critical, but some residents are zoned out of the real world, because of extra strong medication. And, some alcoholics, druggies mix their habits, OTC and mental health medicines.

In that case, how can you tell if a person is bipolar-- or have other mental problems? Can't answer that question!

The mix in homeless persons' lifestyles: disengaged from family, friends, and others. Some parents, friends, and others give unconditioned love.

In the State of Ohio, you can draw food stamps. That is the law! But, does it make sense, to give a homeless person a card, if the shelter provides three meals a day.

Most of the homeless get about $200 monthly. Now, if one is homeless, and are on the streets, and if you are not connected with mental health, forget about food stamps!

Would it help, if social workers were stationed, at homeless shelters? I do not think so. Homeless people have access to food stamps, limited transportation, help at OneStop for jobs. Some homeless people draw unemployment or have Social Security Disability payments. Veterans do come to homeless shelters.

Sometimes there are not answers to some of these homeless problems. People must take care of their health and help themselves.

I believe, if they have religion (or some belief), a support system (father, mother, uncle, aunt, other relatives and friends),a good attitude, then they could change their lifestyle.

Homeless residents are under tremendous amounts of personal stress, and do not understand how to relax. Limited education is a factor. (Many residents, while students, fall through cracks in school systems - and some have had health problems)

Let me tell you about one resident. I have said, when I first worked, "If anyone returns a second time, I will quit!"

Well, residents were permitted to return after thirty days. It took awhile, but I had discovered, that if you undergo homelessness, it takes months and years to survive (and heal) in this crazy world of ours.

Mason was 34 and was a chronic homeless person. His Mother and Father had given up on him. He had mental health problems, but would not sign up with Mental Health.

Fairly good health. Had trouble (when he was walking.) But, he had walked all of the city streets. He would say, "I am a Vietnam Veteran." Well, if he was, we could not prove it. He would not enter the VA office and ask for help. He would not send for his DD214 official document.

Mason entertained everyone with his heroic deeds in battle. He told everyone he had a child in another State. I was also told by Mason, that he had never had sex with a woman.

So, you have a disturbed person, who is not dealing with reality. Everyone tried to help. One day, I caught him peeking outside front door. He looked as if he was hiding from someone!

He said, "I am hiding from my girlfriend's husband. He works accross the street." His girlfriend did live nearby. When the woman got her divorce, the husband had the house in his name. He allowed her to live in part of the house,with the kids, while he had lived with a girlfriend. Same house. Oh, what a weave we lead with our lives.

Mason had stayed at the shelter 3 times (90 days) each time. Did not cause any trouble, except ---after a time he wanted to boss the other residents. Now, did we help Mason?

Yes. We clothed and fed him a total of 180 days. Mason had worked many different places. Where is he now? We do not know.

Critical thinking. I am not a social worker, psychiatrist, and not a psychologist. So, my reviews of homeless people are limited. And, I do know mental health persons, who work, and it is difficult to understand ----why some other people do not work! And, I agree that some people are lazy,and depressed.

I have realized, that some of these people, do not look for jobs. They have become dependent on food stamps (some $200 a month), unemployment and disability.

Disability payments are about $600 a month. Not a liveable wage. Unemployment, Medicaid, and some disability should be used, as a ladder, to reach good health and employment. Not a lifetime guarantee, as it is used in many cases!

There is no way to gauge success, when working with homeless residents. There is "drama" (that is a young person's word for chaos)----- and there is not "critical" thinking. In fact, many of our young and older citizens do not THINK! When a problem arises, we must analyze and tear the problem apart.

People should ask, "Did I cause this problem?" When I was in my 30s, I had discovered that most of the problems that I had -----were caused by me. So, I knew that I had to untangle the mess that I started. And, it works. That decreases "chaos."

Life is difficult for many of us, who did not have "great" parents. I used the word "great." - because my parents were good people. I dislike the word, "dysfunctional." Many parents do what they know how to do!

Sure, my parents were dysfunctional. But, they were good and clean people. Born in the Mountains in the early 1900s. Second and grade education.
Then, they moved to large cities and survived.

Parents must teach children to think, at an early age. We are keepers of the small ones, but when that boy/girl is eighteen, they should be able to "THINK." If not, we have not done our job.

Chan hated people from other countries. He had a good job, after high school, but got fired because of drugs. I advised him not to move back to his home area. "Oh," he said, "that is where my friends are!"

By that, I knew that he meant "drug buddies." After he was thrown out of shelter, I heard stories about this young man, for last two years. Evidently cocaine habit, and could not change his behavior.

Did not sign up for mental health. Many people told me," I can't sign up for mental health. That would be lying." My response: "No, you would not be lying because you do need help."

Since we did not have counselors on staff (affordability?)_ -- I am saddened because there is so much waste of life. But, I know homelessness is happening throughout the United States---and there are not many success stories.

What can we do about these problems? First of all, I do not know all the answers. I believe parents must educate children, at an early age. It is not an easy job. Unfortunately, many young people have turned to alcohol and drugs. The grandparents end up with children, and many do a great job.Not fair to small children, because they should be with their young parents.

I am sad to think of small children, who must be raised by older people. These young parents have shifted THEIR responsibility to parents, and/or children's services. How will these young people turn out?

Children must be given respect. I have heard teenagers say, "How can I give them respect, if they DO NOT respect me?

Responsibility. How can they be responsible --- if they are not taught responsibility?

Religion. This is a "touchy" subject for many people. I do believe that students should have some belief system.

For too many years, we have brainwashed children. We are still brainwashed by TV ministers and others. How did they get answers to God" Let the children be shown different religions. It is a family matter.

There are mental health people, who should not be in our jails and prisons --- but where would they go? After some of these people rent apartments, they do not have skills enough to maintain an apartment.

Remember ----NO ONE IS PERFECT!

Adversity Makes On Stronger! --- Napoleon Hill, early 1920s.

Charlie (an old man)

Author's Bio: 

Life is mean, hard, cruel, devastating. There are bumps in the road. One must study critical thinking, so that they can make decisions and then,they can have faith in themselves.

Life can be fun. Read more about attitudes, lifestyles.

Charlie hice, charles @ aol.com