Kevin "Hold Your Head Up"

Photography by    Randy Bacon

Photography by Randy Bacon

I’m from Northern California - years of travel brought me out to Missouri. I have worked a whole lot of labor jobs like construction, roofing, you know, particular stuff like that. I have to say that I found the hardest part of being homeless was the mental - the intolerance, stress and depression. Also, taking care of somebody else besides yourself and the weather - hard to stay dry, warm. But it’s pretty easy to find shelter if you know what you’re doing.

Being homeless, I’ve learned some lessons over the years about living life to the fullest. Like learning that you're not the only one out there - learning that you can help someone else in the same situation, or maybe somebody who’s trying not to be homeless. I was homeless for nine years before I was able to get into my apartment.

You know, you need to keep yourself up. Hold your head up. Because people can humiliate you. You have to learn how to deal with humiliation, which is not an easy thing to do. But you have to sometimes - like I used to have to think twice, if somebody humiliated me, I’d have to think twice, or I’d hit somebody. Going to prison and stuff like that, you learn to sit back and take a self inventory of your actions, you learn how to figure a way around what they’re thinking. You don’t want drama, but then again, you can invite it also. By certain ways that you act. So you got to act accordingly. Which is basically life skills, for anybody. Sometimes being homeless, you forget. “I’m homeless so what - what are they going to do? Lock me up? That’s a joke.” It’s not a joke. Being locked up, you’ll never be nobody. You have to try and use your money wisely and then you try and figure out a way to not be homeless and be successful in life, which sometimes is not that easy.

* In 2015, Kevin tragically lost his fiancee, Petra, as the two of them were heading back to their tent on a cold winter’s night. She was hit by a speeding truck as they attempted to cross a busy street in Springfield, Missouri. Petra passed away four days later. The community reached out with an outpouring of love and support for Kevin during this difficult time, including helping him secure and furnish his own apartment. To this day, Kevin remains off the streets yet still talks with us about missing Petra and the special love they had. However, even as Kevin advises others, he too is holding his head up with a hope for a bright future.