Our Homeless Population – People Who Have Tragically Fallen Through The Cracks

I know so many truly good people who live in homelessness.  Many live under tarps to keep the rain and wind off themselves.  Many stay overnight in shelters when they are able to access an available bed. Many couch surf whenever they can.

They are the  sons and daughters of other Mothers who are battling the unforgiving disease of addiction.  Many are struggling with severe and untreated mental illness.  Some have escaped an abusive environment.  Or have been released from the prison system.

All have their story as to how they got there.  My son was homelessness many times over the twenty-three years of his addition.  I have listened to his stories.  I have listened to the stories of hundreds of people I know who live in homelessness.

Each one is carrying pain.  Fear.  Embarrassment. Shame.  Hopelessness. Always a sense of hopelessness. Smiling on the outside but in deep pain and crying on the inside.

The following are three poems I wrote.  One reminds us to stop and acknowledge.  The second tells of those who walk all night, because to fall asleep can put a homeless person in great danger.  And the third of someone just released from prison looking for a place to go.





#1  Homeless:  See Me

See me.

Don’t walk by.

I am not invisible.

Or am I?

Today I feel dead inside.  

Please see me. So I have hope.


Your outside packaging is clean and new.

Mine perhaps stained and worn.

But under the outside packaging

We are the same.


I hurt when I fall.

I bleed when cut.

I am often sad and lonely.

And cry I do when I am overwhelmed and hurting.

You see, inside we really are the same.

Don’t walk by.

I am not invisible.

See me.

By June Ariano-Jakes





#2   Homelessness:  When Evil is awake

Night time falls.

It is dark,

I cannot sleep.

Evil is awake.

I cannot sleep.

I must walk.

My body aches.

Sleep it cries.

But I cannot sleep.

Evil is awake.


My feet are wet.

My feet are sore.

Oh my street feet.

I cannot stop.

I must walk.

For evil is awake.


If I dare sit down.

If I dare lay down,

If I dare to fall asleep.

I may not wake.

For it is dark.

Evil is awake.


I am so tired.

For I have walked all night.

My feet are wet.

My feet are sore.

Oh my street feet.

I must not stop.

I must not sleep.

I have to walk.

Evil is still awake.


The sun comes up.

Time for you to wake.

Now I can fall asleep.

You see me and say “lazy bum”.

I am not lazy.

Don’t label me with your words.


While you slept

I walked.

For I dared not sleep.

No locked door to keep me safe.

When darkness comes.

Evil is awake.


By June Ariano-Jakes




#3   I Need To Find Some Place To Stay


Seven years I have been away

I have paid my debt to society they say.

I am on my own. No where to go.

Just a one way ticket in my hand.


For seven years I have been locked up

No one to blame but myself

Told when to wake

Told when to eat

Told when to go outside

Told when to sleep.


I cannot think for myself anymore

I forgot how.

Where to go?

I just don’t know.


The bus stops

Time to get off

Go left?

Go right?

I do not know.

How do I decide?


Keep it simple they say.

I will go in the direction of the next car that passes by.

For I have no where to go.

No one to see.

I burnt my bridges.

I just have to find some place to be.


Some place to lay my head

Some place to feel safe

I have slept in a cage for seven years

This is all to much

Freedom is scary

And today freedom is my prison.


I ask a stranger on the street

Where can I go?

“Just keep walking,

You’ll find some place”.

Of course I will find some place

But where?


I am beginning to feel overwhelmed

The sun is going down

I still cannot find a place to sleep

I need to feel boxed in.

It’s just to big outside.

I need to find some place to go.


I asked another

“Where can I go?”

“Just keep walking, you’ll find some place”.

That really doesn’t help me I feel like screaming.

But I dare not make a scene.

For I can not go back.


So I keep walking,

My feet are sore

My spirits are low

I have still not found some place to stay

I ask once more

“Where can I go”?


The lady on the corner points to a building.

It’s after midnight – I take a chance

I knock on the door – I tell him my story

“Come on in,” Neal says, “ I’ll put down a mat”

“Where am I man”?

This is SUM Place. Welcome Friend.


By June Ariano-Jakes



I want to thank Frances from Parents Forever, a parent support group in Vancouver, B.C. Canada for inviting me once again to speak to their group last evening.  If you are a parent whose has a teen or adult child battling addiction, this is a wonderful support group.  Go to:  http://www.parentsforever.ca

As we are now well into the fall season and the days are getting much shorter – be sure to take care of yourselves.  Remember, you count.  Never give up hope that your loved one will reach out and grab that lifeline you are throwing and accept the help they so desperately need.  Remember  you did nothing to cause your loved ones addiction.  It is a disease. And only they have the power to say when they are ready.

Until next time my Friend, remember you are not alone.  I truly care.

Much love,



2 thoughts on “Our Homeless Population – People Who Have Tragically Fallen Through The Cracks

  1. linda

    So beautiful June…..you have such wonderful insight and ability to put the struggles of a person suffering from addiction into words.
    Thank you

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