Helix Freshman Josh Iles has had an experience being homeless. “It was definitely difficult, but I happened to make it through unharmed,” said Iles. During his experience, he had to sleep on the Pendleton levee and in an empty church. He didn’t get enough, if any food, but at least he had water to hydrate himself. He spent most of his time at Circle K, a small convenience store at the edge of Pendleton, and at Stillman Park, mostly hanging out with other homeless people he met in various ways.
Approximately 700 homeless men and women nationwide die each year from hypothermia. The most common cause of homelessness is poverty, or the lack of a large enough income to be able to afford things that people want or need the most. Many people do not understand the causes and effects of homelessness, but those that do are probably the ones that nobody would see on the streets, homeless. Because no one want to be homeless, and they probably didn't think they would end up homeless either. Another cause of homelessness is struggling with poor physical and/or mental health. Being homeless can also destroy valuable relationships that are really important to some people.
“I like hearing what other people have to say,” said Iles about his new-found friends. He likes to talk to people who are walking on the streets because they usually have some pretty interesting stories to tell. The sights around Pendleton that caught Iles eye was the Umatilla River that runs straight through, and the levee that runs by the river. Iles found that securing regular meals was difficult, and at one point he hadn’t eaten in a few days, so he was obviously very hungry.
The homeless have even more than finding a meal to worry about; their risk of death goes way up, much more than if a person were at home, safe and sound, preferably surrounded by friends and family. The risk of death goes up mostly because of tragic accidents, such as getting hit by motor vehicles, death from hypothermia, and other physical or mental illnesses.
Deaths of the homeless also happen because of substance abuse, such as alcohol and unfortunately even methamphetamine abuse. Physical health conditions such as heart problems and cancer are also much more likely to lead to an unwanted, early death for any a homeless person. And don’t forget that by being homeless, you could even end up being one of those 700 homeless each year to die from hypothermia. Physical and/or mental illness can also lead to an early death for anyone who has to suffer through those ailments.