On my first night of homelessness I slept on my suitcase.
I was a productive member of society, had a good job, attended school, raised a family, and was leading the good life when all of a sudden it came to an end—through no fault of my own.
It could happen to you. You become penniless, not knowing when you will have an income again or be able to purchase items you could in the past. You don’t know where you will sleep for the night nor when you will find permanent shelter. Where will your next meal come from?
On my first night of homelessness I slept on my suitcase. At the time I was in Rhode Island, it gets quite cold there. I was then led to a day shelter called Traveler’s Aid. In the evenings we were bused from there to the Welcome Arnold overnight shelter in nearby Cranston, which was a renovated jail. Beds and hot meals were provided.
Homelessness is demeaning.
What I remember most was how it all ended. I finally began receiving disability payments and had an income. Then my daughter purchased a home in Rhode Island, which could house two families. She allowed me to stay there. I finally had a home again in secluded, serene, wooded surroundings. That was when I felt safe again. After a time of stability, I was able to relocate to another city.
One bridge that I struggled to cross even after getting off the streets was finding a job. Then I found Speak Up.
Speak Up has provided me with an opportunity to get on the comeback trail after having been removed from the working world for thirteen years.
As a Speak Up vendor, I can set my own schedule. I wear Speak Up gear, have a badge, cards, and have a great product to sell. I have a sense of purpose now.
Homelessness can happen to anyone. I have found that a variety of places provide help to the homeless. Churches such as the Salvation Army provide homeless shelters, hot meals, or sometimes cover the cost of a motel room. Food kitchens allow people to cook a meal. Community gardens can provide food fresh vegetables.
I think a good solution to homelessness would be to provide work-for-housing projects. That way, people could conceivably exchange work for emergency housing. Newfound skills and emergency employment could possibly open up doors for the homeless.
Anything helps when you are homeless.