I Got Assigned to the “Nice” Homeless Shelter Dorm

But the people were not so nice

Paul Ryburn, M.Sc.
7 min readMay 1, 2024


Homeless Journal header — shanty town with Downtown in the background
Photo by Chris John: https://www.pexels.com/photo/houses-near-concrete-road-2783232/ Edited by author using Canva.

This is the first in a series chronicling my day-to-day life without a home.

I glanced at the time on my phone as I walked up to the shelter’s front door. “6:32,” I thought. “Perfect.”

Two hours earlier, I’d been in our city’s entertainment district, attending a street festival. I was already long past the shelter’s 2:00 deadline to get in free for the night. Now the question was, I had to get there by 7:00 p.m. to get in before admission closed altogether. How close did I want to cut it?

If I departed right then and walked fast, I could make it there to get in line for 5:00 p.m. dinner. On the other hand, if I decided to skip dinner, I might as well skip 6:00 p.m. chapel as well.

I paused to let out a couple of coughs.

No, I wasn’t sick. Saturday my friends had treated me to lunch at the Wildcat Saloon, a bar not far from the Downtown entertainment district. It’s got great food, but it’s one of the few establishments in the city that still allows smoking. If your place is 21 and up at all times, you can do that in my state.



Paul Ryburn, M.Sc.

I write about writing, ideas, creativity, homelessness, intuition, spirituality, life lessons. Ex-college teacher Twitter: @paulryburn