As Strange as it Sounds, Homelessness has Made Me a Stronger Person

Commentary by Simona Lynch

Although I never planned to experience homelessness I’ve always had the passion to help end homelessness. In fact, for the last eight years I have been a homeless advocate in a couple large cities, Pittsburgh, PA I volunteered for Bethlehem Haven Center for Women and The Task Force for the Homeless in Atlanta, GA. I enjoyed the experience serving the homeless, it also helps to know how to access resources and take advantage of organizations that service the poor. Every major city in the USA has a United Way First Call for Help /dial 211 and a Department of Children and Family Services these organizations have all local help agencies for any crisis.

My homeless experience has been beneficial to my life for a few reasons: I learned to never think I could not find myself in a serious crisis because of my education, employment status or the area I reside . It encouraged me to write a book on homelessness to educate the community, students, and community leaders about how serious this social issue is in the city of Cleveland. For the last two years I’ve spoken out about my homeless experience and how I plan to help end homelessness in this city. Speaking out and writing a book inspire me to prevent myself to become homeless again and how to help prevent many causes of homelessness to other people.

My advice to anyone looking to avoid homelessness is to first and for most save money!  Additionally, when finding housing make sure that you will be able to afford the rent, and when you are struggling with money do not leave a job unless you have another job lined up, no matter how much you hate it.  If you are married to an addict, take control of the finances, do not let your significant other have any access to the money.  Additionally, force your significant other into treatment through ultimatums and enact a two strikes and you are out policy.

One day I plan to own and run a resource center for homeless young women and young women who have been released from prison. If I never experienced this tragic event with my child I don’t believe I would be so eager to help young women to transition from this type of event in her life.

It is very important for me to share my story with the community to help prevent homeless situations especially with women who have children. I have experienced homelessness four times in a three years. Now that I have gained self –sufficiency, it has motivated me to be an active advocate for the homeless population. My plan is to educate, empower and inspire women who find themselves in this crisis.

For the book I am writing about former homeless people, I have interviewed five individuals who have different stories about their experience, how they gained self-sufficiency, their views before homelessness and after gaining stable housing (big difference). These individuals all have awesome success stories. I believe my book will inspire more people in the Greater Cleveland area to participate in helping service the homeless in our city.

In this book I provided information about a few Hollywood stars, Cleveland Natives who have experience this unsettled crisis. It amazed me how many local celebrities were homeless, got out of homelessness and became very successful and are successful men and women today. I say this to say, this is an issue that is not harmful or permanently although it can be if one does not take advantage of the resources available.

Currently I don't involve myself with drug addicts, I make sure I save money each payday and my rent is manageable to pay on my income. In the last few year since I gained self-sufficiency and stable housing.

The homeless population that does not have a mental health illness or chemical dependency can speak out for the disabled and participate in preventing this serious social issue that many Clevelander are facing.

 Copyright Cleveland Street Chronicle September 2015 in Cleveland Ohio All Rights Reserved