Homeless Not Hopeless
Columbia, S.C. (WACH) - Homelessness is an epidemic spreading across the country as a symptom of poverty. But do you really know what it is like to be homeless?
The National Alliance to End Homelessness says that on any given night in the United States more than 500, 000 people are experiencing homelessness.
South Carolina Coalition for the Homeless conducted a survey in 2016 - that said more than 1,300 people were homeless in the Midlands with the largest concentration of them in Richland County, dealing with 876 people.
The facts and figures are clear. Homelessness is a growing problem not only in the United States but across the world.
With this growing problem comes growing stigmas and stereotypes.
The pathways into homelessness are unique. No one story is the same.
Telisha Coleman found herself in the reality of homelessness after the majority of her items we're stolen. But she says homelessness has changed her life for the better.
I really feel like I had hit rock bottom so there was only one way to go which was up. You know. Of course I was angry , mad at first.
Shan Sweet entered into homelessness after being released from jail. Sweet says he's been able to turn the "mess of his life into a message." Rebirth and new beginnings is what Sweet refers to his current state of homelessness as.
It's just been a beautiful thing. I didn't realize that to lose everything to come to a place of lowly is when you would discover your potential. And that's where I am at today. I discovered at my rock bottom that I had meaning. And I had a place in this life to make a difference.
Sweet currently mentors young adults through a program called KS3. He says teaching how to make the right choices can help lead people in the right direction.
John Holmes is a homeless veteran by choice. Holmes has been homeless on and off for the past 13 years. He says it's his choice and he enjoys it.
I got me and 8 by 10 six man tent down there in the woods -sitting up on pylon off the ground with carpet, electricity, and a queen size mattress. I've been out there 3 and half years. I stay out there all year long. I'm nice and warm. I got like 13 - 14 blankets and about 6 pillows. You know so I don't want for nothing.
These three stories are just one of millions of different ways people find themselves living in homelessness. See their full interviews down below.
Full interview of Telisha Coleman
Full interview with John Holmes.
Full interview of Shan Sweet.