MCOM 63 Portfolio Mia Montemayor

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Greying Homeless in Santa Clara County: Walt Hansen

The greying homeless in Santa Clara County is a growing population. “What am I going to eat? Where am I going to sleep? Will I find work?” are some basic questions many homeless ask themselves everyday. In the quest to shed light on this problem, I met Walt, a homeless veteran, who face these very concerns head on.

After serving his time, he worked in the electronic industry until he was laid off in the 90s. On top of losing his job and home, Walt battled cancer. Chemotherapy saved his life, but unfortunately it affected his mobility to where he cannot walk well. Due to his condition, he depends on his bike to get from place to place, however he cannot ride more than 5 miles a day. Though homeless and having limited mobility, he refuses to sign up for welfare knowing he is still able. So he hustles his living as a street musician.

There is a stigma when it comes to homelessness. When most people think of homeless people, they think of a beggar or a crazy person on the street. And often times, homeless people are treated less than human. Walt does not feel sorry for himself, nor does he want others to feel sorry for him. With his pleasant personality and zest for life upon meeting him you would not think he is homeless. Though facing many obstacles, this does not stop Walt from living his life.

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Mia Montemayor
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