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The Invisible People: The Homeless during the Pandemic

You think being homeless is bad? Imagine being homeless during a pandemic

A Grain of Salt | ElbyJames
5 min readMay 9, 2021


THE YEAR 2020 WAS ONE of the worst years in not just my life but for most of the people in the world. Of course as usual, it was a great year for the wealthy. It was still not THE worst year I had experienced, that would be 2008 through 2010.

In 2008 I became homeless and just that fact made 2008 the worst time of my life. The icing on the cake was the fact I had just returned from a deployment of the Middle-East a few years earlier which lasted, with all my training nearly a year, a year of hell.

I was only homeless for two years though but those were two of the longest years of my life. It was hard getting off the streets, probably one of the hardest things I’ve ever had to do. I couldn’t had done it without a plan; my plan had two parts. I was to NOT look homeless because very few people will give the homeless a chance. The other part of my plan was to stay positive. For me, this was the hardest part but I did it and I got off the streets.

Once I got off the streets, I did keep in contact with my homeless friends I lived and interacted with when I lived on the streets. They were still pan handling and hustling to make a buck or two. Some of my homeless friends were excellent at their craft making more than some people who worked a nine to five.

My homelessness though consisted of having no friends to rely on, in fact, the few people I knew were still in the military serving In Iraq. The rest of my “friends” wanted nothing to do with me. I had no family members to ask for help. My brother at one point told me – when he found out I was homeless – he would shoot me if he saw me in his neighbourhood . . . and he was a cop. As for a car to sleep in, I didn’t have a car; I slept on the concrete.

A few years after I got off the streets, the university I went to use to have “Homelessness Awareness nights.” Usually what happened was a group of twenty-somethings would go out at night and sleep as a homeless person would.


There’s so much good intentions in this group but, they just didn’t get it.



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