The HHPTF recently received a friendly note from Jack Lee, creator of the videoblog Homeless in Texas. The site features video clips and profiles of homeless individuals in the Austin area.
One of Lee’s earliest posts, with accompanying photo, reads as follows:
This is Jeff. He’s the first homeless person I’ve approached in Austin, and I asked him what his story was. On March 22 2003, Jeff was involved in a terrible motorcycle wreck. His wife was killed in the crash, and Jeff lost his leg. He told me that “the government is pissing him about with his money.” He told me he has two children to support, that are staying with relatives … He says he figures it’s better to beg than to go out stealing or robbing from people. “At least I’m asking for it,” he tells me. “It’s a shame that there’s all the heartless people in the world. If more people would reach out and help, there’d be a lot less killing, a lot less theft, a lot less starvation.” Jeff is a veteran, and is 49 years old.
In explaining his interest in reaching out to homeless people, Lee says,
Having suffered from post traumatic stress myself, I understand something of the awful fears that can beset a person just in everyday functioning and simple decision making. In the United States, many of these men we see on the streets have been traumatised by war, overwhelming personal, physical or emotional difficulties, or have simply been victims of being in the wrong place at the wrong time. So many are mentally ill: not in some dramatic, bizarre way, but in a spirit wrecking, sad and depressed way …
I really do believe we should personalise the homeless. I want to document the stories behind the faces that we so often choose to not look into. I hope that’ll be one of the main functions of this blog: to help people see that there were once regular lives going on for the homeless, and that it’s really a case of “there but for the grace of God go I,” when we think more deeply about them.
More information about Jack Lee, including contact information, is available here.
* * *