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HPU student sees life differently after living on the street

    By Kaia Takaki. November 20, 2017 - 11:23 am

Hawai’i Pacific University student, Yeonghun Jung at the Waimanalo Farms. Photograph provided by Kaia Takaki.

A summer challenge of being homeless became a significant event for a Hawai’i Pacific University student. 27-year-old Yeonghun Jung made a decision that housing wasn’t going to be an option over the summer of 2016.

He explained that his roommate moved back to the Big Island and decided on another option, as he said, “I had to give up on the house. Summer was coming up so I didn’t bother to find a new place.”

When Jung moved to the islands in 2015 he noticed there is a lot of homeless people. He admitted that he became curious about what it would be like to be homeless. He added, “But weirdly, I was kind of feeling like it wouldn’t be too bad to be homeless in Hawai’i.”

He explained how strangers treated him differently, some good and some not so good, as he said, “Just because they smell or don’t look clean, it doesn’t mean that they’re bad people.”

The process didn’t come without problems. At times Jung had to find secret spots to sleep so he wouldn’t get ticketed. He explained, “Police would come over and give me a ticket or wake me up early in the morning if I fell asleep.”

The college student admits that there were many times that he wanted to quit, but is glad that he did not. “I learned a lot. I’m not going to lie and say it was easy. But, it was worth it,” he added.

The one thing that Jung learned was that it doesn’t cost anything to be a decent person, as he shared, “There are still really nice people out there and being nice isn’t anything expensive.”