Over the past three years, I have had many sleeping arrangements as a homeless man. While there have been moments of joy in sleeping at a hotel room when I travel for work, the reality is really what I sleep on the most in my storage unit.
Below are pictures showing the progression, while the bed coverings have remained the same for the most part, the quality of the bedding continues to improve.
For the first week of being homeless, I slept on this park bench that was alongside a run/walk trail at Lady Bird Lake here in Austin. Luckily, money came in quick enough that allowed me to get my first storage unit, a 5’x 10’ unit, where I curled up against my boxes in an extremely small space for sleep. Since I was unable to lock the door while I was inside, I had to be careful not to kick the unit door open by accident as I tried to get comfortable, and stay comfortable during the course of a night’s sleep.
After three months of that small space, I was able to upgrade to a 10’ x 10’ unit, which allowed me space to stretch out, while also giving me a little more peace of mind about accidentally kicking the door open, as this new space had a roll up door.
I had quickly purchased foam bedding that people use as an extra cushion on a mattress and slept on that for over a year. I was then able to buying a folding cot. This simple luxury lasted only a few months, as cots are not really designed for daily use. The springs soon started to give out to my 200 lb weight and by the end of six months, I lost half the springs, which meant the material sagged heavily, not giving me much to sleep on.
Instead of buying a replacement cot, I used the metal frame and bought a piece of ply wood to go on top of the cot. The 1” thick bedding material from the cot, and the foam egg shell bedding didn't make the hard ply wood easy to sleep on at times. But, I was off the floor, not having to fight with roaches, spiders or other bugs that crawled on the floor at night. So, no matter how uncomfortable the ply wood was, I was still happy to be off the floor.
I have been building my credit back up since the bankruptcy and the loss of my business, and because of that, I have been able to buy my latest bedding on credit; a roll away mattress. The mattress that came with it, in addition to the egg shells bedding and cot mattress gives me a much more comfortable sleep at night. It only took three years for this progression, and though it’s still not a formal bed in a home, it is still an improvement and one I am grateful for.
In time I know I will be in a home of sorts, and I will be able to buy a formal bed. Until then, I keep working towards a bright future as I work at my day job and work my non-profit helping people achieve their goals.
Life goes on…I go on