This blog is not just for news stories, but also for personal experience stories about Myrtle Beach homelessness and poverty that I myself have been through. I was reading an article just now from last month from ABC News Channel 15 that struck me. It was all about how last month the Skywheel was lit up for a night to represent the city’s awareness about how many kids are out here in Myrtle Beach without a place to stay. The actual awareness period was called National Homeless Youth Awareness Month, and it featured an agency that does so much to help the youth in this area, Seahaven’s Project Lighthouse.
In the article, it says how the organization helped 250 kids who were in Myrtle Beach homeless last year, and how only 10 to 15 percent of them even have the option of going back home. It went on to say how you may not recognize a kid who is homeless out on the streets, and that it may look like it’s a book bag they are carrying, but in actuality all of their personal things are in it. This is when I thought about Myrtle Beach itself, and how the average citizen and/or business owner views the homeless in and around the city.
I was at Associated Charities in Myrtle Beach on Tuesday morning. You probably would pass it if you are not from here, but it’s located at 742 8th Avenue North, right across the street from 84 Lumber. Anyway, I was in there for the same thing as I usually go for, work clothes. Man, never pay for work clothes, not as long as they are there. For those who don’t know, if you need good work pants like khakis and jeans, you know, for labor work, roofing, landscaping, things like that, they are the place to go. Just get in line on Tuesdays anytime from 9am til 11am. I also am writing a book on Myrtle Beach homelessness as well as homelessness all around the State of South Carolina. So, each time I go by I always ask around while I’m in line if anyone wants to interview. I always get at least one or two folks who have a story, and a few are lined up already to tell me theirs for the book. The thing is, it is almost impossible to tell if a person is actually on the streets or not, or know what kind of story I’m gonna get. This is because there is no certain way that a homeless person looks. But, you can’t tell the richer, more uppity people in Myrtle Beach that. They worship a car so much down here that anyone walking around without one is almost automatically assumed to be on the streets. It’s not like that up north, where there are trains, subways, etc.
A few years ago, a student from St. Cloud State University named Bret Piekarsky wrote a piece for the Salvation Army website where he said how his image of a homeless person changed immediately once he entered their doors. “The image of how I thought they would look was gone immediately” he said. “Almost everybody had on good clothes with no rips in them. A few had beards, but there were a lot of clean shaven guys.” Earlier this year, there was a similar article that was printed on the Chicago Coalition for the Homeless website. In it, they talk about how biased everyday people are, and how they almost immediately judge a book by its cover, such as when you see a person who is driving down the street in a nice car, and think that their life is all good, when in actually they are up to their ears in debt, and dying inside.
I want to end today’s post by speaking to the folks in Myrtle Beach going through harsh living situations, whether it be homelessness on the streets, living at a shelter, with friends and/or family, in and out of dorm rooms, storage rooms, wherever…don’t give up. All you have to do is keep putting God first. If you have been reading this blog, you know I am a real person who just went through this earlier this year. And, that I have been going through borderline homelessness, just as many others in the area have, on and off for years (the 5,000-word nonfiction story is here if you want to read it for yourself). I know how it feels to know that it was nothing that you did to deserve the situation that you are in, such as when I was arrested by the Myrtle Beach Police Dept. for no reason on Halloween night, and lost my room for rent as a result of it.
It is just that we are living in the times that we always predicted in the 1990’s. We live in an era where the rich get richer, and poor get fucked over and out. The overall attitude in the general public about the homeless in Myrtle Beach will likely get worse before it gets better, but we all can do our part moving forward in 2019 to eliminate this horrible epidemic that is plaguing our community, whether we are experiencing it in our own lives, or see it happening in the lives of others.