How I Helped my Family Out of Homelessness

by Diana Robinson

Being the oldest sibling, I am proud to have been able to help my family when they needed me.  I appreciate them coming to me, instead of living on the streets.  I never turned them down.  Mostly, we helped each other. 

The people that I helped began with my husband. When we met, he had no place to stay.  I let him stay with me and we became a couple and had five children.  He stayed with me for twenty-one years, until I forced him out because I was tired of his behavior.

 I helped my sister, Angela, who stayed with me until she joined the Air Force.  She left her daughter with me and came to get her after she finished training. 

 I helped my sister, Gwen, and her son before she married her husband.  The people she stayed with moved and did not want her and her son to move with them.  They moved and left her in an empty house.  She called me, so I went to get her and her son and brought them home with me.  She stayed with me for a while and her potential husband came occasionally to visit until they got their place. Later, I leased her an apartment in the same building I live in.  I paid her first month’s rent and she stayed there until she got on her feet.  She became pregnant and got married.  They needed more room, so they moved to another apartment.  She is doing well.

 I have helped my other sister, Bobbette, periodically.  She left her husband, who was in the Air Force, and came to Cleveland.  She stayed with my mother for a while and then moved in with me.  I still help her out now and then.  The last two family members I assisted were my niece and nephew, my sister’s children.  My niece stayed with me until she became pregnant, then moved in with her boyfriend.  My nephew stayed with me until he moved into a rooming house.  He is working two jobs and doing well. 

 I’ve always had plenty of food and was always able to make room for my family.  Being the eldest sibling, I have always felt that it was my responsibility and I was proud to be there for them.  Now they are doing well and making something of themselves.  I know that if I needed them they would be there for me too.

 Copyright Cleveland Street Chronicle #24.1