I was homeless for 6 years and lived out of my truck although I was working the entire time. I was never on drugs and I don't drink, since alcohol gives me debilitating migraines. To give you an idea of why I was homeless, it was as simple as making a little more than the minimum wage of $5.50/hr, my rent was going up to over $500 a month and I couldn't pull together the first, last and security needed to get me in a different living situation.
One of the things you learn really fast is to NEVER tell anyone you are homeless, especially prospective employers. When I went to a job fair given by the city college (did I mention I was a student as well?) I didn't have a phone and was told I needed to have one because "these people don't want to hire anyone who is homeless". I worked as a cashier where other homeless people would come in to buy coffee and then sit for a while outside. The rude remarks of the customers almost brought me to tears. While helping these customers, many of them told me the homeless should be rounded up and shot so "I" wouldn't have to deal with them. My family knew I was homeless and refused to acknowledge it. I was too proud to ask them for help, especially as I had my vehicle and a safe place to park at night, something many homeless people never have.
The people that treated me the best in terms of giving me support and encouragement were other homeless people and surprisingly, the police were far more likely to be sympathetic towards my situation than my friends. Cops and firefighters know at a glance if someone is homeless and the local ones bent over backwards to make sure I was safe and unmolested at night in my truck - I can't ever thank them enough and I will be forever grateful to them.
Eventually I got a room to rent, then a trailer and although I had to sell it several years ago, I was eventually able to buy a house. I guess the point I'm trying to make is you may never know who is or has been homeless and that we can all run into a patch of bad luck. That doesn't mean homeless people are inferior and that they can be treated like garbage. You don't have to like every person you meet, on the job or on the street, but trust me, a little courtesy goes a long, long way.
Did not get permission to use this comment posted on article mentioned in Articulate Homeless Man post, by person using name Rodentraiser. It was easier to share it, then summarize, with no direct link back to the comment, is why I am bending rules here.