While Thanksgiving buzzes past us in a blur of laughter, turkey, and good blessings, we often reflect on the people we appreciate most, and the basic commodities that make our lives better. Living in the silicon-valley area, there is so much to be thankful for; we are surrounded by one of the best educational systems in the United States and a very culturally diverse group of people. High schoolers in this area often give thanks to the opportunities and available resources.
Often, especially during the holiday season, when we are frantically preparing for Christmas and final exams, we overlook those who live just across the street or around the corner from us. When caught up with our busy schedules, we cease to recognize those who do not have a warm bed, loving family, food on their plate every night, or even a safe place to call home.
Roy Jones has been a Mountain View resident for eight years, and 2014 will be his third year spent in the cycle of homelessness. Jones, an older local in his late 50’s, spends the majority of his day at Cuesta Park, sitting on a bench by the tennis courts, situated in front of the back entrance.
“I wake up here in the morning and then go to St. Thomas, a shelter that serves lunch in Sunnyvale. I only eat lunch there, but it lasts me about all day. I go there Monday, Wednesday, and Friday, ” Jones said. “After my meal, I come back here and sit and talk,” he said.
Jones, having had his car repossessed last year after not being able to repay his loans, has had to rely on his bicycle and the city buses as his only source of transportation. He collects money from pedestrians and locals, often spending it on fast food and drugstore items.
“The hardest part about being homeless is maintaining a positive outlook. When you’re homeless, there’s a point when you have to accept and adapt.” Jones believes that the mental barriers involved with homelessness are just as important as the physical barriers, (the lack of shelter, transportation, food, and water) and that coming to the reality of your situation and learning to adjust to a burdensome lifestyle is the first step in the right direction.