Nobody Knows But Me: My story about being homeless on the streets of Oxnard- Part 1

By Lang MartinezLang Martinez

 

What caused me personally to become homeless living on the streets in Oxnard? Methamphetamine use. Being homeless definitely taught me a whole new learning experience of self-perseverance and survival. Bottom line, trust no one but yourself!

My number one priority in life while on the streets was to get my poison, my meth. You need money to buy that poison so how did I get the money? Speaking for myself, I’d commit what’s known as a “booster”, in other words petty theft.  If caught, petty theft in the eyes of the law is an arrest and a small stint in the county jail. With my past incarcerations, committing a felony could have sent me back to prison for a long time. For me, a man of 55, that would be a possible life sentence. I’d steal different kinds of merchandise, from supermarkets, department stores, etc. The items I stole would range from hygiene products, clothes, electronics, food, basically anything I could sell for money to feed my addiction. Being active on the streets in Oxnard, I learned how some business establishments would even buy your stolen items. Some stores would go as far to personally tell you what items to steal for them and then pay you 20 to 30% of the actual value. Then they would turn around and sell the items and their store for full retail. This was my profession on the streets to supply my addiction.

My second priority on the streets was food, which I never went without. I learned by trial and error that stores like the Dollar Tree or the 99 Cent Store do not have security or surveillance cameras. There is always plenty of food at these stores to steal, so for me being hungry was never an issue. These stores also have socks and underwear. By stealing these items I didn’t have to worry about not having clean underwear or socks to wear on a daily basis.

My third priority was to find a hidden spot where no one could find or see you including the police. Being hidden, you can do whatever you want and as most addicts do- get high! Being hidden is also a safety net from other homeless people on the streets in Oxnard. A homeless person will ultimately find any opportunity they can to steal everything you have, somehow, or someway. Remember what I said from the beginning, “trust no one but yourself”. Even though we are our own enemy, you still don’t trust anyone but yourself!

My personal thoughts on the whole agenda of the recent conference “Humanizing the Homelessness in Oxnard“. First of all, I don’t believe that the city of Oxnard cared enough to really bring this over-arching, overdue problem to the public. Not that the people of Oxnard can’t see it for themselves, but really face it. People of Faith say, “there is hope for everyone”. My question and response to that: “what about them”? This all took place when college students picked an agenda to do their paper on. You don’t have to be educated or have a degree to allow yourself to have true feelings to care and make a difference. It was the students from CSUCI that cared enough to bring attention to this problem. The importance of people, good people, dying on the streets in Oxnard. My point, it took college students on Thursday May 9th 2019 at 3 p.m. to make awareness of this and not the city of Oxnard.

 

Editor’s note: The author told us he’s spent a total of about 6 years on the streets (non-contiguously) in LA and Oxnard and been in multiple recovery programs. He says he is clean now and taking one day at a time, trying to help local homeless people.

Publisher’s notes:
Even though Oxnard’s efforts are falling short, they are trying, putting a higher priority on the homeless situation, increasing manpower and spending, hired a homelessness guy, developed a strategy, looking for grants, etc.
We were intrigued by Mr. Martinez’s story and inquired about his recovery status and activities, which will be in future articles in Citizens Journal.  He sent us the statement below and asked us to rewrite it for him, but it’s just too good to edit much!  I was in tears as I read of his passion, sincerity and pain. I also know that he is backing it up with action, so at least one more person is now added to his list ….
George I don’t know quite know how to write it, but I want to say it. That I’ve been sober 3x in 5 years and also worked in RECOVERY, But this time is different because I didn’t want to die like this knowing that Nobody would say anything good about me and all I wanted if I did die was just one person to say something good about me. Everyone in my condition doesn’t want to die like this or live like this anymore and we do make promises to God if he would take us out of this misery. What is different about my promise to God this time? I said God, please don’t let me die like this! Please save me one more time and this time I will keep my promise. I will give it all back to you. George, you know what I’m saying, so you write it the way you want? Also I don’t want to be referred as a homeless person- I’m NOT anymore. Also I want you to come up with something better. I trust you. I used to be homeless and all I’m doing is keeping my promise, George. You have to understand, George that I don’t ever want to go back to that life again and the only way I won’t is being on the STREETS telling them what my Lord and Savior did for me he can also do for you. I’m proof of God’s miracles. 
Amen- ed.
Mr. Martinez also pointed out this useful article on survival tips, but hopes and prays it won’t be necessary for people to utilize.

Get Citizensjournal.us Headlines free  SUBSCRIPTION. Keep us publishing – DONATE

13 Responses to Nobody Knows But Me: My story about being homeless on the streets of Oxnard- Part 1

  1. Rafael June 13, 2019 at 8:23 pm

    You can’t make promises to God, you can only recognise God living in your heart and get your idea of yourself out of God’s way. Of what use is a promise to God? God is omnipotent, omniscient, and omnipresent. That means God is everywhere, in all places, at all times and is the only one with the power to make anything happen or not happen. To make a promise to God is to assume you have the power to fulfill that promise. When only God has that power, you would only be borrowing a tiny morsel of God’s power to fulfill the promise you made. Instead, let the all powerful God keep His promise to save you from darkness and ignorance. Your only role in that is to bow down in complete surrender and humility and recognize, acknowledge, and receive God’s grace.

    Reply
  2. Celia Chavez June 7, 2019 at 9:43 pm

    Lang is an example of the Homeless needs. Not only in Oxnard but in Ventura County. I live in Santa Paula. The homeless numbers have increased. There has to be a way out for those who want one. Please listen and learn how to help the homeless.

    Reply
  3. Michael Allen June 5, 2019 at 10:13 am

    Lang’s heart is the the right place but he is going to have an uphill battle with this city; Oxnard. Oxnard seems to think that the answers to the homeless problem are addition housing, higher minimum wages and lower rents.
    Those answers make sense if you are trying to help the guy who works 40 hours a week at a minimum wage job but lives in his car because he can’t afford to rent in Oxnard. But what about the guy that sits in front of local businesses in a puddle of his own urine and feces begging for money so he can buy drugs and alcohol?
    The latter are the people Lang is trying to focus on and the city is not acknowledging.
    Housing and better paying jobs are not the answer for those that need mental health and addiction treatment.
    I don’t claim to have an answer, but I know the problem will never be solved if the focus of the resources cannot be agreed upon. I happen to agree with Lang. The focus in Oxnard should be on mental health and addiction services. Oxnard has beautiful parks and has a great downtown area that families with small children wont dare go because of the homeless people that occupy those areas.
    I hope the city takes Lang’s help seriously. He has a unique prospective coming from the streets himself. He can interact with the homeless people in need of mental and addiction help that the elected officials in Oxnard cannot or wont.

    Reply
  4. Daniel C. June 4, 2019 at 8:41 am

    I know lang from L.A. I’m proud to call him a friend. I’ve seen him overcome some hard harsh conditions. I prayed for him. Where we were was nothing nice. Today i see him shining in God’s light and keeping his promise. Blessings.

    Reply
  5. Joel Alvarado May 29, 2019 at 8:57 pm

    I’ve known LANG for quite some time now we go back maybe about 4 to 5 years, i’m proud of saying that he’s done a great job on being the voice for the homeless people of Oxnard, and in helping others and doing it from the heart. Keep up the good work Lang.

    Reply
  6. R.D May 29, 2019 at 4:47 pm

    I think it’s time to talk about Lang ive known him for over 5years before his last relapse and this time the man he is now isn’t even the man I knew when he was sober. This time not just me but other people hear his voice and it’s a voice of experience and authority, Lang has never feared no one not even on the streets on the streets of Oxnard, people need to know he comes from LA were the rules are different out there they play for keeps and what we hear and see is a man who fears no one especially when he is talking about saving lives be careful because it’s not Langs voice we’re hearing

    Reply
  7. James May 29, 2019 at 2:10 am

    My name is James, I’ve personally known Lang since 1991. My father had a janitorial company and hired Lang. His job was to go out on leads for major cleaning contracts and Lang would close more deals than anyone in that business could. Its been years since ive seen him at his best and he is just getting warmed up and the City of Oxnard hasn’t seen anything yet? Through God Lang will close God’s deal to save lives. You don’t know Lang

    Reply
  8. ELIZABETH May 26, 2019 at 1:40 pm

    From what I understand is that lang at the meeting told us about his story. The book is Nobody Knows But Me is about all the homeless people secrets and this about are local business partaking in the destruction of people’s lives. I think the City of Oxnard should have that put on the front page of the Ventura Star. Tell us more lang

    Reply
  9. Dotty Pringle May 25, 2019 at 8:41 am

    Our scholars are our future and thank you for stepping up and shining more light on a very difficult perpetual situation.

    Oxnard needs to lift her head up so she can see. Help and not Enable!

    Reply
  10. William Hicks May 25, 2019 at 7:06 am

    SO, considering that much of the meth is coming to us from across our southern border, maybe we can improve that situation by putting up THE WALL and tightening up the regular acceptable crossing of acceptable commerce between us and mexico.

    Reply
  11. Michael David May 25, 2019 at 1:35 am

    This man has put his demons at bay. He is a valuable asset to the city, and new hope for those who still suffer. I’m proud to know him, and call him friend.

    Reply
    • William Hicks May 25, 2019 at 12:55 pm

      This is great. Far better than an elected official that only knows how to throw money at problems.

      Reply
  12. Diann yakle May 24, 2019 at 3:39 pm

    I am glad this is being noticed it is a real big problem here.

    Reply

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *