Homeless: Can you build a life from $25?

From the Christian Science Monitor:

Alone on a dark gritty street, Adam Shepard searched for a homeless shelter. He had a gym bag, $25, and little else. A former college athlete with a bachelor’s degree, Mr. Shepard had left a comfortable life with supportive parents in Raleigh, N.C. Now he was an outsider on the wrong side of the tracks in Charles­ton, S.C.

But Shepard’s descent into poverty in the summer of 2006 was no accident. Shortly after graduating from Merrimack College in North Andover, Mass., he intentionally left his parents’ home to test the vivacity of the American Dream. His goal: to have a furnished apartment, a car, and $2,500 in savings within a year.

To make his quest even more challenging, he decided not to use any of his previous contacts or mention his education.

During his first 70 days in Charleston, Shepard lived in a shelter and received food stamps. He also made new friends, finding work as a day laborer, which led to a steady job with a moving company.

Ten months into the experiment, he decided to quit after learning of an illness in his family. But by then he had moved into an apartment, bought a pickup truck, and had saved close to $5,000.

Interesting that he quit the “experiment” as soon as something bad happened. Everyone else who is living in poverty aren’t able to quit being poor just because someone in their family falls ill.

Daily Dose of Ingersoll


So these schools, and these theories, and these religions die
hard. What else can they do? Like the paintings of the old masters,
they are kept alive because so much money has been invested in
them. Think of the amount of money that has been invested in
superstition! Think of the schools that have been founded for the
more general diffusion of useless knowledge! Think of the colleges
wherein men are taught that it is dangerous to think, and that they
must never use their brains except in the act of faith! Think of
the millions and billions of dollars that have been expended in
churches, in temples, and in cathedrals! Think of the thousands and
thousands of men who depend for their living upon the ignorance of
mankind! Think of those who grow rich on credulity and who fatten
on faith! Do you suppose they are going to die without a struggle?
What are they to do? From the bottom of my heart I sympathize with
the poor clergyman that has had all his common sense educated out
of him, and is now to be thrown upon the cold and unbelieving
world. His prayers are not answered; he gets no help from on high,
and the pews are beginning to criticize the pulpit. What is the man
to do? If he suddenly changes he is gone. If he preaches what he
really believes he will get notice to quit. And yet, if he and the
congregation would come together and be perfectly honest, they
would all admit that they believe little and know nothing.

Robert Green Ingersoll – “Orthodoxy”(1884)