CharlesAbout the time you think you know everything there is to know about the homeless along comes someone like Charles. I was doing my almost weekly run to the dump. As usual there was my friend John. He was at his usual post with his shopping cart overloaded with bottles he collects. He has been doing this for about 2 years and when as he puts it he “gets by”.

Near by was Charles who told me that John helps him out with clothes. Charles’ story is not atypical from a lot of homeless people that I run into in Portland. Charles is 62 and he is trying to get by on whatever amount of money that Social Security will pay at 62 year of age after working all of his life in construction. The construction business dried up and now he is in survival mode. He is not on food stamps. He has never been on food stamps. He does not want to go on food stamps and he takes his meals at the food pantry and sleeps at the shelter.

If you don’t know how much he gets from SS I can only guess that it probably would around $600 per month. Mind you he has contributed all his life. He is a veteran. And he is diving into to the system to claim his “ENTITLEMENT” which when presented by the Republicans it is a dirty word. Compare Charles to Michele Bachman’s farm subsidy of a half a billion dollars.

3 Replies to “Charles”

  1. This is a tough one to come face to face with. By the looks of this portrait Charles must trust you very much. There is always a story and I say thank you for telling his.

  2. For the most part these people just want to be recognized. To most people they are invisible. I’m thinking about a project where I will shoot stills and turn them into slide shows with the individual’s voices. What do you think?

  3. Sounds like an interesting project. I’m always interested in hearing the rest of the story. i have a cousin who used to live under a bridge in the NW for years (schizophrenia). He was a Vietnam vet also. He was resistant to drawing on the soc.sec. Physicial health probs finally have him in a nursing home and finally regularly takiing his meds. Sad to think of his wasted life. He is one of many….He also had worked construction for many years until he was too mentally disabled.

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