Unca Jones (best-smith@TRIAX.COM)
Sun, 22 Nov 1998 14:19:58 -0800

As a new subscriber I'ld like to introduce myself and provide a bit of
background on my past homelessness. I'm no bleeding heart when it comes
to this topic, the choices that led to my destitution were mine alone.
Drud abuse, lack of a serious work ethic and naive concepts regarding
humankind all were within myself to avow or reject.
For instance:
1. I ran away from home to escape a brutal upbringing, however instead
of seeking help with established advocacies (church, children's
services, etc.) I chose to run with the pack eventually winding up in
jail for drugs, burglary.
2. Eventually returning home I left to pursue the same mistakes, no
burglaries this time but drugs were still the escape from low self
esteem. I wandered the west coast for ten years, playing music on the
streets of Santa Cruz and L.A., summers spent panhandling in the
national parks. 70 - 74 was spent dodging the draft, the war and amnesty
provided a legitimate return to society that I had no use for at that
time. My choice.
3. Eventually landing in Portland, Or. I married and sought to turn my
life around but emotional problems and deep seated misanthropy had
everything fall apart again by '85. Two more years of wandering
followed, feeling sorry for myself mostly. Again, my choice.
4. The story of my turnaround started with getting off hard drugs and
realizing that the only one capable of turning me around was me. There
used to be a program in Portland called the Pilot Project - a real shame
that this program was cut during the Reagan years -, they provided me
with housing, bus and food vouchers that I used to get a job (riding
buses often up to 6 hrs a day to get to and from work), save enough for
a beater car, buying a few necessary tools to begin a fledgling
contracting company, then working my ass off to better my life.
     It's been almost fifteen years now. I've raised three kids -
teaching them the business (my own parents couldn't be bothered), one is
a star basketball player winning the Oregon State AAU championship and
placing second in west coast nationals this year. All are dedicated
students. My contracting business has expanded to the point that I now
have time to pursue other goals ( certified television producer, as well
as soundtrack and theme production I construct in my high-tech digital
audio/video home lab).
     I think this newsgroup is vital to awareness of the homeless
plight, but please take note, those of you who are homeless; if you are
tired and angry at your position then change it, you have that power,
don't take no for an answer, start with small victories, don't bog down
in self pity. Like Picard sez, "Make it so."