“I‘ve been here for three years from Anchorage, Alaska. My wife of 9½ years passed away four years ago in Fairbanks. She wrecked our small airplane going to visit her mother.
[We] traveled with Greenpeace and the Peace Corps, to Africa and the Philippines, some of the harder hit countries with HIV and AIDS.
We met over the Internet. We were both already positive.
Since she’s passed, I’ve been traveling all over Canada [and] the United States. I can’t stop running from the loneliness of not being with her no more.
Now I’m getting sicker and sicker.
It’s lonely and scary being homeless. At night when you lay down, you don’t—I’ve already lost two nice backpacks—that people have taken for a crack hit—for whatever.
The last stolen backpack had my HIV medicine and AIDS medicine in it. [The government allows] only one emergency refill a year—$1,800 a prescription. I’ve gone a whole ‘nother month without my pills.
I’ve had pneumonia three times in the last four years, not being inside. I spend my SSI check on food and getting clean and taking care of myself as much as possible. I still get infections on my hands from not being properly clean all the time.
My sleeping bag keeps me warm, [but] when I get up in the morning, [I’m] wet underneath. My body heat draws the cold and moisture from the ground. [Some] people carry around cardboard, but I already get enough bad looks because I am homeless.
I got a little two-burner Coleman stove in here. A Propane bottle—they’re like $5.00 a piece. The frying pan alone cost $18. I could fire up this grill right now. I’ve got potatoes, onions, and pasta.
Them soup kitchens [have] nothing but a bunch of craziness going on.
[Some] of the homeless I know just want to get high, do drugs and don’t care. There’s another big part of them that need help to get off the street.
They either can’t get it or end up saying, ‘The heck with it. I’m not going to get it, so I just might as well keep living the way I’m living.’
I want to get off the street.
I can’t drive, [but] me and another guy were going to buy a big old ’76 Cadillac for $1,700 this month, [to] have something to sleep in. But that would leave us completely broke. [With] his check and my check, we wouldn’t have a dime [for] insurance or gas to move it for the street cleaners.
I’ve been clean and sober, off drugs or alcohol,—except medications—for eight years. People [see] a homeless person—”What a drug addict!” That makes it bad for people [like me], one of the ones that’s not a piece of crap!
I’ve always got God in my heart! I wear this [cross and a] jade oriental symbol trying to make up for my uncles [who] did bad things in Viet Nam.
Every year, Gavin Newsom [allows] HIV and AIDS patients one month, maybe two, of emergency housing. You get settled indoors, just enough time to get the pneumonia out of your chest. Then bam! you’re back on the street.
My CD4 count’s in the 20s. The next time I catch pneumonia, I’m going to be laying under the dirt we’re sitting on.”