From My Experience, This is How Some People Become Homeless

By Bobbette Robinson

I know a number of people in my family who became homeless.  Some people lost their jobs, or lost their SSI checks and income then they lost their houses.  Others lost custody of their kids, while some have had to hit rock bottom and had to start over from scratch.  They have nowhere to go and are sleeping in doorways with their children, they live in empty houses and abandoned buildings.  They are sleeping in cars, trucks and in local shelters which offer them help.  Everywhere you look there are homeless people.  They don’t have a place to shower or cook and eat food received at a pantry. They can’t wash their clothes, they don’t have a bed or pillow to lay their head on. They have nowhere to store their personal belongings. 

Some of them are bad and resort to hopping in and out of cars jacking money from people because they have nowhere to live.  People see them and try to help.  They pull up and offer them food, money and shelter.  Some of the people accept the help and some don’t because they are alcoholics and drug addicts.  They abuse the help because they need a fix.

Some of them get help from church outreach people who drive around and offer them food and clothing, and some don’t want the help.  Some of them have income while others can’t get income because they do not qualify for help.  Some get disability income while others can’t get it and they are not willing to go to work to earn a living.  Some of the ones that are getting disability are still homeless because on top of the check they need counseling too.  Some need a security deposit and first month’s rent to be able to get an apartment and it’s more than they bring home for one month, so the security deposit is sometimes impossible to come up with.

Some people become homeless because they get kicked out of their family’s house.  Some do not keep up the property and they get put out of their homes.  I met some in the Women’s Shelter who had turned 18 and were put out of their foster homes when the money ran out for the foster parents.  Some people become homeless when they are living with a parent who dies and now they don’t have anyone to take care of them and they have a hard time keeping a house.

My mom got sick with cancer, I was living with her with my children and she got sick and died.   I had nowhere to go and I became homeless.  I ended up living with my sister or my boyfriend back and forth.  My children were staying with my sister.  My daughter got her own place when I was staying with my boyfriend while I was looking for housing for my son and me.

Homelessness can happen to anyone.  Most people are just a paycheck away from homelessness.  There are many reasons why people become homeless.

 I want to thank the shelters, thank the government for my check, and I want to thank the different churches and organizations who go around on the streets helping homeless people.  I want to also thank the Westside Market for being such a big help to me and my kids by allowing me to sell the papers there and I want to thank all the people who buy the papers and donate food, shoes and clothes to those in need. 

Copyright Cleveland Street Chronicle December 2015. All rights reserved