I came to Cleveland on Christmas Day. My boyfriend and I decided to move here to start over. We both felt we needed a new life. My boyfriend got arrested and I’m out on the street while he’s in jail. I work nights, don’t make enough money to have a place to stay so for a few weeks, I slept in the car. I went over to (Bishop) Cosgrove and I got a street card. I thought that was great. The card has the names of places to eat and shelters you can stay at.
The first shelter I stayed at was the Salvation Army on Carnegie. That was real nice. I had my own room, clean sheets and a bed. I really screwed up. I went out drinking one night and I got kicked out of the place. The staff there treated you real nice. They treated you like an equal. The only thing they asked was that you don’t use drugs or alcohol and that you do some chores around the house. Everyone has chores to do.
I didn’t realize how great that place was until I stayed at the church on East 30th and Euclid. I’ve been sober for eight weeks now. I really don’t know what happened to cause that change. I guess I got sick of seeing my brothers happy and successful and seeing myself where I’m at. I guess I just want to have a better life like my brothers. I’m happy I’m sober and I won’t go back to drinking again. I made it this long, (eight weeks) I’m not going to let anything get me to the point of drinking again.
I think one of the best things about the Salvation Army was that they let you stay there during the day. You had to leave between 9:30am to 11:59am but they let you in at noon. I was working nights at the time and that really worked out for me. Most of the shelters only allow you in from 6:00pm to 6:00am. If you work nights you’re really screwed.
Copyright for the Homeless Grapevine Cleveland Ohio Issue 27 May 1998