Raymel Johnson

Portraits of Homelessness

Photos and stories of men who are homeless

I became homeless after a few wrong choices back on New Year’s Eve, 1999. I put all my belongings in two large garbage bags and took them to a friend’s house for safekeeping. That night I met someone who gave me her last $8.00–she’s been my friend ever since. Because of the holiday, buses were free, and I rode them for two days. In the morning I found a full bag lunch someone had left at the bus station.

I met a guy on Public Square who told me where the nearest shelter was–Site A at 18th and Superior. I went there until Salvation Army opened in February, 2000-the facility that became LMM’s 2100 Lakeside.

I worked for Minute Man. To get my own place, my boss gave me $300. I blew it in a week. So I can’t get mad at nobody but me.

Then with a little more money I got a single room–slept 4 to a room. There was no control over who was there–a homicidal guy was sharing the room. I couldn’t sleep at night worrying about this maniac. I left, and went back to the
shelter.

I consider myself a veteran of the shelters. I know how to live there. My attitude is: I put myself in this situation, I got out before, I can do it again.