OUR STORIES | Behind the sign: Josh’s story


“For me being homeless is nothing but a long vacation,” explains Josh, swaying in place for warmth. “It’s actually a thing that brings me back to myself.”  

Since 2001 Josh has endured bouts of homelessness. He acknowledges having condition that makes him “different” that makes staying in the shelters difficult. For Josh a night’s sleep may be found in a bus or train.

Commuters frequenting Dunwoody Boulevard and Lyndale Ave routinely encounter people displaying flimsy cardboard signs. The demographics of these corner occupants varies though the overwhelming majority is male. Josh stands out among the crowd.  He appears slightly better dressed.  His sign is more neatly composed, the handwriting more legible and stylish, if not less clear in its message: “I freed’em and freedom, aren’t they two things different? Homeless Need Help, God Bless.” He alludes to a condition that makes him “different.”  If allowed to speak for very long, his thoughts become increasingly abstract.  

For Josh, a good day on the corner is getting $30 and taking a shuttle to the casino.  It provides an atmosphere to remain inconspicuous and stay warm until they close at 11 p.m.  And the coffee is free.  That’s on a good day.  Otherwise Josh has devised his own means of enduring the elements.  “It’s cold, man.  I’ve got to play hacky sack in order to stay warm.  Activity is the number one thing to beat cold.  So stay active, man.”


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