Shoeshine, a 54-year-old homeless man in Fresno, California, graduated from college with a degree in recreation. He worked for the L.A. City Recs and Parks but soon found himself in prison with a twenty-one and a half year sentence. After he finished his term, his criminal background made it difficult to find a job, and Shoeshine turned to cocaine. 15 days later, “I caught myself and said I didn’t want to go back down this road.” He entered a Salvation Army rehabilitation center, where he worked hard to pay his room and board and therapy costs. However, when he pulled a hernia, the center discharged him, leaving Shoeshine on the street. Realizing he was not a good panhandler – “I’m kind of sensitive to what people think or what they say” – he decided to pick up his old trade, which was shining shoes and cleaning tennis shoes. He now has 45 clients and is contemplating working on a shoe-stand. He calls Fresno “the jungle” and lives in a tent on the outskirts of a homeless shelter. And while he says “I’m crazy as fuck…come on man – how would you feel living down here in the tent?” he keeps going “full steam ahead.” “I’ve gotta keep moving forward.”
Share your story of hope and hard times with us, how you survived, if someone helped you and what the experience has meant to you. We will publish some of our favorites.Contribute
Resources"But when economists look at actual labor markets, most find little evidence that immigration harms the economic interests of native-born Americans, and much evidence that it stimulates the economy."
- The Great Divergence, by Timothy NoahInvestigate