Hector Castro

Portraits of Homelessness

Photos and stories of men who are homeless

I wanted to help at 2100. So this summer I oversaw the shelter’s vegetable and flower garden at 23rd and St. Clair.

At 6 to 8 years old in El Salvador, I tried to work. I didn’t even have clothes, shoes, just a little ripped shirt. But I was able to help my mom in the garden.

She had no husband. She was father and mother to us kids. She washed clothes by hand to make money for food. Friends would give her a little rice and she’d give that to us with water. Sometimes there was no food, and I’d get up at night to have water.

There was no school in our town, but a teacher traveled to teach us and brought us books. I felt happy. She taught the older kids at night and said, “Hector, if you want, I give you class in night time too.” She saw how much I wanted to learn.

Here in the USA, I have no certificate, no GED. But I’m ready to learn. Maybe I could help teach someone to speak Spanish. I want to help.
Last night as I was dreaming I heard a voice. I recognized the voice of my son. “Daddy, Daddy,” he was calling me. At the window I heard a knock and again my son’s voice, “Daddy, it’s me.” I woke up very said and prayed, God, don’t let me dream that way again.

Every day I think about my babies, but there are restrictions from my seeing them. There’s nothing I can do, no one to help.
I ask myself why my life always hurts–ever since I was little, always hurting.

But sometimes now I can smile. Before, I was angry. I was wrongly jailed, but I still had to cooperate with the system.

The community of men here at 2100, I believe everybody feels the same–a little sad, a little nervous. We have to understand we have the same problems and try to work together, not put others down