What it’s Like to Face Homelessness in Atlanta
From downtown Atlanta to Buckhead, you can find a community and neighborhoods filled with things to do and sights to see. But for our friends who face homelessness in Atlanta, the same streets look a bit different – filled with more struggle than joyful memories.
Here are some of the hardships those facing homelessness in Atlanta endure:
Lack of Medical Care
Medical care is expensive, and when you have nowhere to sleep, the last thing you’re worried about is finding a doctor. Unfortunately, poor health is both a cause and a result of homelessness. And medical care is extremely difficult to come by for those facing homelessness. They are left worrying about their conditions, wondering if they’ll ever truly be healthy again.
“I was shot 12 times. By God’s grace, I survived, but when I left the hospital I couldn’t work and I had no money. I was homeless, in pain, and struggling to keep my wounds clean.” – Gyassi
“I suffered a tragic brain injury in a car accident and was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis. I remember choosing between food and medicine. I was penniless and had nowhere to go.” – Rae
Harsh Weather Conditions
While we make a decision to take our families outside to enjoy the weather or to stay inside with heating and air, those facing homelessness are worrying about how they’ll live through another scorching hot or freezing cold night. With the blacktop temperature reaching up to 175 degrees in the summer, things like dehydration and heat stroke are often a reality for those facing homelessness. And when the temperatures drop in the winter, they’re faced with the realities of freezing.
“I saw people die from exposure to the elements. It was hard. When you live on the streets, you forget what real life is like.” – Larry
“I went days without eating or drinking. I was often dehydrated, and sometimes had hallucinations. I was down to 90 pounds and on the brink of death.” – Emily
Poor Mental Health
It comes as no surprise that poor mental health is common among those facing homelessness. When you call the streets your home, you see and endure many things that nobody, no matter their circumstances, should ever have to deal with. While mental health issues are one of the many circumstances leading to homelessness, becoming homeless amplifies any existing those existing issue. Anxiety, fear, depression, and sleeplessness are all things those facing homelessness can experience.
“People won’t even look at you. Makes you feel like you ain’t wanted; like nobody cares.” – Michael
“I was going to jump in front of a train and commit suicide…” – Bishop
Homelessness is a temporary circumstance, not a permanent condition, and could happen to anyone in the blink of an eye. Nobody deserves to endure a life of pain, hunger, and uncertainty. At Atlanta Mission, we meet each person where they are in their unique circumstances to help them overcome the cause of their homelessness. If you or someone you know is in need, reach out to us here.
Ways to Give
We’d be honored to have you share in the joys, struggles and transformations of Atlanta’s most vulnerable souls.