A Blueprint For Beating The Streets

Kindness and Patience

A Grain of Salt | ElbyJames
4 min readApr 5, 2020


There’s no how-to manual on being successful when you’re homeless. Where do you go? How do you prepare? Will I be okay? Will I survive?

Homelessness really makes you question society and culture. Living on the streets really had an impact on me because I had just returned from my deployment of Iraq in support of OIF III which didn’t go very well.

We did all the tasks Seabees traditionally are known for such as building camps and repairing tarmacs. We repaired runways for 2nd Marine Aircraft Wing, MAW unit we were attached to (out of MCAS Cherry Point, NC.)

Nearly the first half of my deployment was met with mortars and incoming rocket attacks. One camp I was at, AR Ramadi, we had to deal with a sniper who was holed up in the tower of a glass factory on the Euphrates river.

I was even involved in a fire fight at Al Qa’im.

After my return, my brother and his wife asked me if I wanted to move in. Their reasoning was we could save money; I thought about it for a while and I agreed. Everything went well for the following two years . . . no problems at all.

Then, two weeks before Christmas 2007, the 2008 Recession struck and I lost my job. Three months later I ran out of money, my brother without hesitation kicked me out. I began my two year journey of living on the streets.

I eventually forgave him. It would be non-productive for me to hold a grudge. Those two years though really made me question life.

Here’s a short list of what I faced living on the streets. There were several attemts to steal my backpack. I was harrassed by the police regularly and I was even cuffed and placed in a squad car while they ran my ID, this happened to me three times.

The irony of me being cuffed and placed in the back of a squad car [the last time] was outrageous. The officer’s car had a “Globe & Anchor" decal on it’s rear bumper. I risked my life in support of the Marines during my deployment.

I was attacked twice by kids with too much time on their hands. The first time I was hospitalized for two days with a concussion. The second time I had two broken ribs; both attacks happened while I was…



A Grain of Salt | ElbyJames

ElbyJames is an American disabled combat vet exiled in the UK & a free speech absolutist. He’s an occasional Top Writer .