I spent much of yesterday, (Feb. 26, 2017), in Albuquerque meeting with homeless persons and hearing their stories. Later in the day, before joining with a few friends who are forming a writing critique group, I walked around downtown Santa Fe. There I met Tom, pictured immediately below. Tom told me has been living on the streets and in the arroyos of Santa Fe for eight years.
Everyone has a story. If they are approached with respect, if they are shown courtesy, if their dignity is not questioned, most everyone I have meet on the street has been willing share their story, many of which are quite moving and troubling. Certainly among the street population, mental health issues, and drug and alcohol addiction are common, though this is by no means the whole story. Rising housing and utility costs, stagnant wages, declining employment opportunities, and cuts in basic social services are also factors contributing to our nation’s growing homeless crisis.