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Today’s post is from u/Lodgik who answers the question: “What is it like to work in a homeless shelter?”
I work in a homeless shelter.
What people think I do: I interact with an incredibly grateful homeless community. I hand out plates of food to smiling people. I help people get off the streets. I go home every day feeling fulfilled and knowing I made a difference.
What I actually do: Every day I have to deal with being insulted and threatened. My car has been vandalized numerous times because of people getting pissed off at me. The last time it was vandalized, I found a shopping cart on top of it. That was done by a guy who was angry at me for not allowing him to kick another client’s ass.
My heart has been encrusted by a protective layer of jade. I have broken the rules to try to help people, letting people sleep where they know they are not supposed to, and then when asked to leave in the morning before the next shift arrives (when they’ve been warned this would happen and they agreed to leave at that time before hand), I’m all of a sudden an asshole who cares about nothing besides the supposedly vast fortune I am making here. When I have to ask someone to leave because they’ve screwed up their 8th chance and they’ve broken a rule that I’ve specifically warned them about, I’m just a giant fucking asshole.
I have been assaulted. I have been threatened with knives. I have had co-workers assaulted. I’ve had a coworker hospitalized through being assaulted.
I have stopped someone’s suicide, wrestling them out of a sixth floor window and holding them there until the police arrived, and then had them scream in my face for ruining when they come back six hours later because they police only took them to the drunk tank instead of the hospital.
I’ve had times where I have made a difference in someone’s life. I’ve had times where this job has been fulfilling. Those times are dwarfed by the amount of bullshit I have to deal with on a daily basis. I have had my sense of empathy wrecked by this job. A few years ago, I found this job was actually turning me into an asshole and had to make a conscience effort to change for the better.
This stuff isn’t even uncommon among people who work with the homeless.
Can’t wait until I get out of here.
Edit: wow, this is bringing out some hatred of homeless people in the comments.
Homeless people are exactly that: people. Most of them have mental health issues, substance abuse issues, or any of a number of things. But they are still people who are deserving of respect. They don’t deserve your hatred and certainly are not deserving of being “cleansed” ya sick fucks.
Some of them have been through shit that makes what I described above look like a vacation in Disneyland.
This post came out of a place of frustration, and certainly should not be viewed as a condemnation of all homeless people.