Commentary by Monie
An individual can work a full –time job have a nice apartment in a suburban area, have a car , travel, attend all entertainment events, motivated, volunteer at local homeless organization homeless, attend church and Bible study every Sunday and Wednesday and not have an addiction to drugs and /or alcohol but still find themselves homeless. I guess I’m trying to say a person that faces social and economic issues can still become homeless. Perhaps one is married to someone who has a drug addiction that just takes controls both of their lives and can lead to homelessness.
I experienced being married to a man who has a physical and physiological addiction to a chemical they call crack cocaine. It was more important to hold full-time employment and hold up his obligation and duty as a husband, which forced me to be finically responsible for all our expenses.
One Tuesday hot evening in Atlanta GA, after working a 12 hour shift, I came home from work to an empty apartment. I called my husband to inquire what had happen to all the furniture. He explained to me that he needed to get as high as he could so he sold the furniture for $350.00 and he lent the car out to “the dope man”, My husband did not know this guy and he said to me, “Oh and, “I have the food stamp card and your debit card”. I could not believe he sold my food stamps and wiped out my checking account in one day. I can only blame myself for allowing this to happen to me again. This time, I wound up homeless.
The dope man came to my house stating my husband owes’ him money and he could have all the TV’s, computer, electronics, and game systems back if we just gave him the money my husband owed. At this time I was scared for the safety of my daughter and I called all the local shelters in the Atlanta area. They were all full to the max and I had no cash on hand to stay in a hotel or motel. I was forced to call the police because I had no friends and family member in Atlanta. The Police call local shelters in the surrounding area the closest shelter was outside of the city of Atlanta, and I had no money for public tr transportation. Once I figured out a way to get to the shelter and signed, I met with a case manager, I was told, no residents cannot leave the shelter for 30 days after being enrolled into the program, so the new resident won’t sneak in drugs. Mind you I had no money, clothes, shoes or personal items and I was stuck. All I had was God, my sanity, my daughter and a full-time job that I had to give up because I could not leave the shelter. I became stress not knowing what to do; I did not want to stay in a shelter with my daughter. My next pay day was that Friday. I could have found a hotel or motel room but I was not going to pay for a room, and I would have been worried about how my daughter was going to get to and from school in the shelter or from the hotel room.
I made up my mind to relocate home to Cleveland, Ohio where I have family and friends. Well, I’m back home with no luck finding employment and living in my cousins’ basement. But we still are homeless my daughter and I don’t have a place we can call our own; my daughter is part of the Project Act a homeless program from Cleveland Public School District working with homeless children and youth.
I refuse to turn to drugs or alcohol, however I understand that urge. With low self-image, I fear that I may be viewed as a failure to my daughter. I feel disappointed and embarrassment for my current situation. I am 35 years old I have my own place since I been 18 years old. During all of this madness I will keep the faith, trust in My God, diligently seeking employment, working on my inner self, stay encouraged , motivated , and take advantage of all services that are provided to become self-sufficient.
This is a learning lesson and it has taught me not take life for granted. Anyone can become homeless at any time. I have learned, if your love ones have you in a situation where you feel trapped you can become homeless. Pay attention to your family bringing you down, and no matter what, always remember you need to secure your residence and keep your housing for yourself and your children in order to prevent becoming homeless. I also learned how important it is to save money the shelter for self and/or children to prevent being homeless. I also learned how important it to save money. You might want to think about letting your love ones know your PIN to your debit or credit card. Never love anyone more than yourself, and if you have a loved one with an addiction they need to find help. It is oftern the case that you cannot help them by yourself. If your spouse steals from you and spends the money for rent and utilities on drugs or entertainment, it is surely an indicator that you are in grave danger of becoming homeless at any moment
To all homeless individuals and families, stay focus, motivated, take advantage of the assistance that is available to the homeless to get back into housing. You need to obtain resources and strategize to prevent you from being homeless again.
Copyright NEOCH and Street Chronicle May 2013, Cleveland, Ohio