When it comes to issues of homelessness, it’s rare to hear from a primary source.
A primary source being someone who has lived or is living on the streets or in a shelter– either way, without a home.
NPR’s Amy Shapiro brought together three big names in homeless outreach, but the star of the show was David Pirtle. Untreated paranoid schizophrenia pushed him to the streets in 2004. Pirtle explained to his audience why, to the befuddlement of many housed consumers of media, some folks without homes choose to sleep outside instead of in a shelter.
The answer isn’t always mental illness. The answer is that our neighbors without homes are just like the rest of us.
“All I can say is that my fear of the unknown, of what might be waiting for me at that shelter, was worse than my fear of the known risk, you know, of staying out on the street. That was where I was comfortable. And I think people, we’re creatures of habit. We get comfortable in the most uncomfortable positions, and that just becomes home.”