I was on the streets trying to survive…

I was on the streets trying to survive

2023 June #2
By a Joy Junction Staff Member (JBF)

Have you ever experienced a really bad sunburn? The damaged skin is so very sensitive to anything that touches it; you feel uncomfortable no matter what position you are in. It’s hard to wear even the lightest clothes because the pressure of the fabric on the skin is painful.

What about dehydration? Have you ever gone through that experience? Your lips are parched, your head hurts, and sometimes you become dizzy. Your body feels very tired and you crave water like never before.

Those are a few results from the extreme heat that hits our area each year.

A person with a sunburn needs to stay out of the sun. But, that’s hard to do when they are homeless and live on the street. They are not welcomed inside businesses or stores, either, to cool off or get relief from the sun.

As well, being dehydrated and without water is another issue that is hard to overcome when living on the street. You can’t simply walk over to an imaginary kitchen and get a glass of water.

Thinking about those situations, do you wonder if the summer months are easier or harder, than the winter months, for those who are without a place to call their own?

Extreme heat, sunburn, and dehydration are real enemies to the homeless who are living on the streets.

Protection from the heat is just as important as protection from the frigid cold. Each season brings its own problems, to be sure.

Therefore, those without a home seek shelter wherever they can. Getting out of the sun’s intense rays is vital to a person’s health. People are found hiding under an overpass, crouched alongside a building, or huddled in an alleyway corner – among many other places – trying to get protection from the elements. They create make-shift dwelling places out of whatever they can find.

Besides trying to find a space to protect them from the intense heat (amongst others searching for the same), they also have to be aware of all the dangerous things that could happen to them while searching for that safe place to “live.” There’s no telling what kind of danger awaits them around the corner.

In the end, even after they find a spot to claim as their own, it’s scary to be out on the streets.

For example, here’s a story from one of our female guests:

“I got to the point where I didn’t have enough money to pay my bills. I had to leave my place and move into my car. I had lost my job, so when the time came to give up my apartment, I sold all I could to gain enough money to pay for some food – and then I tried to make the money and food last as long as I could. After a while, that money ran out, and I still had no job.

I was on the streets trying to survive.

It was awful…and very scary. Then, I met a man I felt I could trust. We were in the same situation because he had lost his home, car, and job when his wife divorced him. We became close. The two of us had heard about Joy Junction, so we decided to find a way to the shelter to escape the horrible conditions of living on the streets.

When we got here [Joy Junction], we immediately joined the program and it’s really helping us. But, more than that, we are very thankful for having a place to stay and for the food we get every day. Being on the street gave me a desire to get some help to find work. I want to be able to take care of myself, again, and I believe Joy Junction is the answer.

I’m so thankful for Joy Junction!”

As you have read, some of those who no longer have a place of their own choose to come to our facility – even though that, too, is a scary thought to them.

The unknown is always scary.

But once they arrive on our campus and see that we really do have their best interest in mind, that fear is replaced with relief. It’s written all over their facial expressions and body language. They can finally relax and have peace of mind while they work toward getting their lives put back together.

We house up to 350 individuals per night and receive no city, state, or federal financial help. We provide them with a safe place to rest, a shower each day, and three meals every day of the year – as well as a program to help them turn their lives around.

That means extra financial gifts from caring individuals, churches, and businesses are especially needed during the summer months when funds are low for us.

No matter what our budget is for any given month, though, we strive to take care of each person as if they were family. We want the best for them and work hard to provide for all their needs. We stretch every penny we receive, but, we still need your help to accomplish our daily goals.

Please continue, or consider beginning, your partnership with us!