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I am an African-American male who comes from a working class family. I graduated from high school, attended some college, and then trained as a chef. I worked my way across the country but then decided to go home because my mother and father were getting older.

After moving home, I opened a catering service. My business was starting to do well, but one night after serving at a party, I was in a car accident. I had insurance, but the person who caused the accident did not. My insurance started to pay out, but they had a limit on the amount they could send because the other person didn’t have insurance. I went bankrupt and lost my family, my home, and my business. I found myself living on the streets.

After four and a half years of sleeping under a bridge, two organizations helped me stop using drugs and gave me a place to live. Then I began to volunteer to help others.

I now work as a community health worker. I help other people get back on their feet, and I sit on a number of boards which work to help the homeless community.

– Submitted by Joseph Benson

Help signFurther Links:

* Find out ways you can help

* Learn about organizations that are helping fight poverty and homelessness

* Advice for people starting over

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