Clesson Hill, Help The Homeless

The hardest blogs for me to write are the ones that hit close to the heart. I met Clesson E. Hill today at under the park pavilion in West Jordan. Clesson is a forty-seven year old homeless man and in desperate need of help. Please help me to help Clesson.

I traveled to Salt Lake this weekend to work at the Utah Olympic Oval where the Long Track Speed skating World cup is being held. After getting off work in the mid-afternoon, I decided to go to High Point Coffee to finish some homework which I’m currently procrastinating, however I think this takes priority. Before going to the coffee shop, I made a last minute decision to stop at the park for some walking meditation.

I was mindfully walking down the path when I saw Clesson slumped under the pavilion. He was sleeping next to an electricity outlet where he was charging an oxygen machine. He had a half eaten sandwich on his lap, a couple of pill bottles on his side and a some small suitcases where he probably had his personal belongings.

I couldn’t walk past without inquiring. So I sat in front of him on a bench and said, “Hello sir” a couple of times before he lifted his head and noticed me. First I told him that I wanted to let him know that he left his medications on the ground where I was afraid of somebody stealing them. He told me that those medications were there because he needed to take them. He hadn’t taken them because he didn’t have any water to wash them down. I grabbed him a water bottle from my car and before even becoming acquainted, he began to cry and tell me that missed his heart surgery on Wednesday because he wasn’t emotionally calm enough. He continued to tell me about his mental and physical health complication with tears welling up in his eyes. I sat and talked with his for almost a half hour as he told me how he ended up in the position he was in.

Clesson told me this… “In December, I was diagnosed with mild neurocognitive disorder, which is just short of dementia. But the reason why is because of three teens who attacked me in 2016. They nearly killed me. That first one hit me on the head with his skateboard, shattered my right eye socket, broke my skull, cause my brain hemorrhage. And than, two other joined the first one and all three beat on me for eight minutes while I was unconscious. And they left me lying in a pool of blood.”

I was asking Clesson if he had everything he needed to survive for the time being. It was clearly hard for him to speak with tears welling up in his eyes and his voice beginning to crack.

Then Clesson tells me, “One thing is that makes it hard for me to even have any confidence anymore. Even though I’m homeless… Just because I’m homeless, people look at me like I’m a criminal. Like, they look at me like I’m gonna hurt them.” He barely got these words out.

“Where do you sleep at Clesson?” I asked. “All over. Because of my severe PTSD, if there is anyone even near me, than I move and go sleep somewhere else. It’s the reason why I can’t sleep at any of the homeless shelter.” he said. 

I said, “Sir I know we’re complete strangers but um, the reason why I stopped to talk to you is because I feel a sense of compassion when I see people in poor condition. I’m so sorry.”

Clesson said, “That’s the way my mom and grandma raised me. They raised me to help other people and not to ask for help. And so I don’t. But, there was some times…that when I need help, and I want to ask for help, it’s too hard. And that’s probably the reason why I go, err like, I went four or five days without anything to eat cause I didn’t want to ask anybody for anything.”

I asked Clesson, “You uh, belong to any faith?”

“LDS”, he said.

“That’s a good community. I hope they take care of you.”

“They don’t. I don’t know why but… like uh Utah members don’t practice what the church preaches. They practice it in church, but they don’t practice it out of church.”

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Before leaving, I told Clesson to keep his head up. I hope this brings some compassion to your heart. And I hope your compassion will spark a wanting for change in our country. There are 750,000 homeless American sleeping on the streets tonight. Consider that the top 20% of Americans own 85% of the country’s wealth and the bottom 80% of the population own 15%. Keep these things in mind. There is something fundamentally broken in the Unites States when you examine our priorities. Trumps proposed border wall will cost 5.7 billion dollars. It would cost 15 billion dollars to completely end homeless in the United States. Homeless Americans are our people! They are us as well!

I haven’t done this before but I’m going to share my notes at the bottom of this blog Please help me to help Clesson by sharing my blog.

Clesson Notes

 

 

5 thoughts on “Clesson Hill, Help The Homeless

  1. I am Clesson Hill and I forgot about this chance meeting with Erik. What he quoted me as saying in this story was all true. I had totally forgot about this until I entered my name in the google search box because I was looking for my uncle who also happens to be named Clesson Hill. I was named after my Great grandfather and my uncle. I appreciate Erik for writing this blog and the only thing I ask is that the general public be more considerate when encountering a homeless person. Yes, I know that there are a lot of homeless people that are criminals BUT, more times than not, the person is a truely disabled homeless person that actually has mental or physical disabilities. The compassion that a truly disabled homeless person receives helps us to be able to lift our head in pride and to be able to gain the strength that we need to fight against the negativity of our situation and through the hurdles of our situation to ultimately become a self respected human being that doesn’t have to rely on the general public for help. So, PLEASE have show compassion and not disdain for a homeless persons situation. In September of 2019, the federal 9th circuit court of appeals ruled in case “martin v. boise” that cities anti camping laws are “UNCONSTITUTIONAL!” Cities that have this type of law ARE committing INTENTIONAL MENTAL AND PHYSICAL TORTURE against the homeless!!! Anybody that supports the cities with this type of law is a willing participant in the torture! Please prove me wrong!!! I welcome it!!! Thanks again to erik and god bless you!

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  2. I am the Clesson Hill mentioned in this story. I forgot about this conversation with Erik until a occupational therapist from the nursing home rehab center that i’m in found the blog. I thank you Erik for your compassion on that day and every day that you and everyone else shows compassion to anybody that is disabled, homeless, or in need of help for one reason or another. It’s people like Erik showing the caring and compassion to me that day which helped me to keep my head up and persevere despite my homelessness and medical problems. Keep up the good work Erik.
    Sincerely Clesson E Hill Sr.

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    1. Clesson, I was wondering about you. I hope your doing well! This story is yours! I’m only the mouthpiece. I’m impressed that you’ve found my blog. Reach out to me if there’s anything I can do for you. Never be afraid to ask me!

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      1. I’m currently in a nursing home and rehab center short term. I’d like to see if your school paper can do a story on how multiple cities in Utah and across the nation are violating the homeless peoples civil rights. Specifically the “8th amendment.” In my first reply to this blog I had mentioned the case of “Martin Versus Boise.” The U.S. Federal 9th Circuit Court of Appeals among other courts in the past has ruled that a cities camping ordinance prohibiting someone from laying down bedding on public property is a violation of the 8th amendment. All cities that have this ordinance have done it to try to criminalize being homeless. Yes, there are a lot of homeless people that already do have extensive criminal records BUT, a lot of homeless people are disabled and homeless not by choice. The camping ordinances give the police the permission to commit intentional mental and physical torture on any homeless person. The torture that I am talking about is the physical and mental problems that a disabled person has are aggravated by the police when the police make someone move their bedding off public property and when they give the homeless person a criminal citation which is the same thing as an actual arrest. I mentioned the “Martin V. Boise case to the Provo police and how the camping ordinance of provo and other cities are a civil rights violation and unconstitutional. The provo police response was “I don’t care what the court decision was, the ordinance is still on the books.” This goes to show that the Police don’t care about a citizens constitutional rights. All they care about is arresting people and putting people in jail and making money for the city from fines that are ordered by a court whether or not the charges are constitutional. Please call me at the spanish fork nursing and rehab center when you get this if you have any questions for me. Thanks again for doing this blog.

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      2. Hi. I’m now in The Peaks Care and Rehab Center because I was improperly discharged from the last nursing home I was in. I was admitted here about a week after my pacemaker surgery on the 9th. I need a pair of new balance walking shoes size 10 1/2 wide. I don’t have any shoes and the rehab center I’m in apparently can’t buy me shoes. I need the ones I mentioned because of my diabetic neuropathy, left leg being 1/2″ shorter than my right leg and 4 toes missing on my left foot makes it hard and painful on my feet when I wear used shoes that someone has given to me. I can pay it back to whoever can get me the shoes. I’m currently trying to get my disability check to be deposited elsewhere.

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