I was born at the Chula Vista Community Hospital in 1961, when my parents had a place near the airport. We moved a couple times until my father bought the house I grew up in, in Claremont Mesa.
The combination of Aspergers Syndrome, and the emotional problems that developed due mostly to people not understanding the cause of my ‘odd’ behavior, (ie my parents considered me a disciplinary problem and thought that punishment would make me behave in a manner more to their liking), I never developed the skills necessary for independent living. Regardless, my father promised to kick me out of the house when I turned 21. I attempted to hold down a job and a place of my own, but within a month or so I had lost both. Believing that my problems were mainly environmental, I got as far away from San Diego as I could and ended up in Nashville Tennessee. I lived in Nashville for the following 30+ years. During my Nashville years I did attempt things like joining the military and attending college, but failed at all that and more. At one point I did get married to a local girl from Antioch who happened to work in the downtown area. Our marriage lasted for about 6 years, and was the most stable I’d ever been in life. After the divorce I returned to the streets. In 2002 I started writing this blog.
Some of the positive things I have done while homeless include creating a homeless newspaper that was sold on the streets of Nashville, had several showings of my photographs – (a volunteer at a shelter knew of my interest in photography and so lent me her camera. With money I earned selling blood plaza, I bought film and processing. Some time later I moved into a halfway house for the homeless, and got a job as a cashier at a convenience store. With money I earned from that job I was able to have my photos framed and made ready for the showing.) I also sat on the Nashville Metro Homeless Commission and the Mayor’s Task Force on Homelessness. I’ve also given talks at area colleges and universities, including several times at Vanderbilt. And when able, I attend national conferences on homelessness.
In recent years, some very exciting advancements have been made in ending homelessness. They have a proven track record and I fully support those endeavors – they include the “Housing First”, and “Rapid Rehousing” programs. In communities that are serious about ending homelessness, these programs have been very successful. Sadly, most communities are reluctant to participate and so homelessness lingers.