I first became homeless when I got suckered into moving down to Tennessee to be with this internet predator I met online when I was 14 years old. I was 19 years old and the place this “man” had ready for me wasn’t what I thought it would be. So, I chose to stay with him instead. I knew he wanted me as a sex slave. And my upbringing had groomed me for it. I just thought that, if it came to it, I’d rather die by his hand than a stranger’s so they can bring him to justice.
Pretty grim thoughts for a 19 year old, but I’ve always thought like that.
Anyway, I couldn’t find a place that would accept me. They all gave me the same story: “you don’t have enough rental history on your credit report”
Seriously? Exceeding your income requirements wasn’t enough? How am I supposed to get my first place? Not everyone has someone to co-sign their lease. Not everyone has a parent that’s willing or even able to do that for them (mine weren’t willing or able).
Between that and having my identity stolen in 2007 and then the horribly abusive relationship I ended up in with Mr. J where he ended up sabotaging us into homelessness by smoking up all of our money, I have been homeless most of my adult life. And I am determined to end the cycle of abuse and homelessness once and for all. My children depend on it. And they are my world.
Being homeless is tough and navigating the systems in place to help us is, frankly, a pain in the ass. And there’s the matter of keeping your motivation when you’re surrounded by a negative attitude. This may be true for all environments but I have found that there’s more negativity in the homeless community than any other environment I’ve found myself in. And it’s no surprise considering just how depressing it is living in a shelter or outside or not being able to wash your butt when you want or being surrounded by people who never want to (yuck!).
But I’m here to help! There are more people in this community that have positive energy than you might think. And this is a place we can come together and find that there are more of us than you might think. Hell, you don’t even have to be homeless. You could be a person that has a place to live but looks at us homeless folk like people. We need to see more of that. I tell everyone that I’m homeless, so that the people who are ashamed of saying so, can feel comfortable knowing that they don’t have to because I and people like me will have changed the minds of as many people as possible as to what homelessness looks like. That means less fear of ill treatment due to a newfound respect these people have gained for the people in our community.