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Guest Column: Homeless Grandfather Grapples with Self-Image

John P., a 52-year-old resident of the Cochran House homeless shelter in Hastings, raised his daughter with love and respect before becoming homeless.

How I feel about being homeless!

I know l don’t look homeless. I’m not pushing a shopping cart with all my possessions in it. Dirty and unkept. But when I walk down the street I feel like people look at me like that.

I know it's because of the way I feel about myself. It's not a very good feeling! Shameful, lazy. But I'm not. I'm a single parent that raised my daughter with love and respect. We always had a clean, comfortable home. Margaret did so good in school that in August of this year she’s going to graduate from nursing school. [She] has been happily married for five years and I'm the proud grandpa of a 4-year-old granddaughter, “Teagan”.

This is the first time I’ve ever been homeless! I don’t know the proper channels to get help. I don’t even ask for help. It doesn’t feel right! I’ve always had a job and take care of myself!

John P.

Editor's Note: Homelessness rates in Dakota County and other suburban communities in Minnesota have risen substantially in the last five years. This letter to the editor is part of a Patch series exploring that trend. Click on the links below to read other articles on the topic.

  • Aug. 13
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