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As a young homeless man who is concerned about the plight of “our people,” I was eager to read “Home Free” (12/17/99). My enthusiasm quickly fell to grief as I read the portrayal of being “homeless” for 48 hours.

Programs like this are purposeful to the kids in the programs, I guess. But to say all homeless people are liars is way out of line. Also, we are not pampered, as the article suggests. It’s one thing for a young, fresh-faced girl to make it on the streets for 48 hours, but quite another for us nameless, lonely folks who have bitter hearts and wounded souls from years of being on the streets, subjects of ridicule and lack of sympathy. Sure, I appreciate the rare $5 bill kickdown, but I really long for social interaction, dating, movies, and so on.

As you go through the holiday season, if you really want to be compassionate, find one of us, say, “Good morning,” shake our hand, look us in the eye, and smile. Please don’t stare or glare; it only festers in an already wounded soul.

That’s what you can do for us.

Washington, D.C.