Joseph; Tempe, AZ

As you read this story, I want you to take into account all the things you are blessed with. November is Hunger and Homeless Awareness Month, this blog was made to show the world that homeless people aren’t sub-categories, but individuals just like you and me but down on their luck. Please be sure to share these stories of homeless individuals to make the world aware of homelessness through the eyes of those struggling firsthand.

Today’s story is one of my favorites, you may remember last week Rocky’s story which you can find here , this is the story of his friend Joseph whom I met the same evening.

Joseph is a free-spirit you cannot help but be inspired by, this New York native came to Arizona in 1974 and absolutely fell in love. The always warm weather, diverse individuals, and the southwestern art drew him in. As of November 5th, Joseph has been sober 15 years. He became homeless after a toxic relationship took over his life, he has chosen to give up drinking and his wife of 7 years did not. He said that he would come home at 5 in the afternoon to find her passed out drunk on the couch, a life he has given up to better himself. He had a choice to stay in the toxic relationship and get stuck in his old ways or leave and never turn back. He has been on the streets ever since, accompanying friends like Rocky.

Since being on the streets, Joseph has fallen in love with biking and has totaled up 176,000 miles, which he proudly told me is about around the world 7 times. Tragically his bike has gotten stolen on the streets and he hasn’t been able to ride in the last few months. He mentioned that once he gets a new bike, he and a few of his buddies plan to ride all the way back to New York. His ambition and enthusiasm is widely inspiring,  a man who has been down on his luck begging for food, shelter, and water still has finds so much joy in such a small thing as riding a bike. It truly makes you think of what you take for granted.

Joseph and Rocky mentioned a homeless camp nearby, where they can sleep peacefully, sleep deprivation is one of the biggest issues they mentioned because they need to stay on their toes to make sure they don’t get robbed or attacked. A world of constantly having to be on your toes and never having alone time can be exhausting, just imagine not being able to go to the restroom privately. The life of the streets is one you’ll never understand until you’re forced into that situation.

Meeting Rocky and Joseph was such a powerful and inspiring moment, as I gather these stories I’m becoming more and more aware of how tough the world can be. As you lie your head on your pillow tonight, I want you to think of these stories and how easily you could be in the same situation, be thankful for what you have.

Thanks for reading and sharing,