Yesterday I noticed someone who looked familiar to me with homeless please help sign written on a beat up piece of cardboard. I almost never carry cash. I am debit card girl. So, I just kept walking to my destination. I had to use the bathroom and needed to walk past her again. I noticed she was reading Atlas Shrugged. Which of course I found amusing and ironic. I looked again, and yes indeed I did recognize her. She recently started showing up at some tea party and election events that I have been to in the past few months. I went over to ask what she needed.Now, tell me how bad things are for you. Please. Explain to everyone how horrible your life is.
When she saw someone coming with children with them she moved her sign. I went and asked her why she did that and she told me that she realized that children don't always understand the very real reasons why adults are hesitant to give money to strangers. These people didn't know her story and many assume she is addict or something. I asked if drugs were the reason she was here. She explained it was simply a recession issue for her. She lost her job three years ago and could only find a job in retail sales that paid her commission. She did ok for the first two years and but then she ran out of her savings. Her job then cut her commission level in half and then cut her hours in half as well. She even said Target turned her down for a job. She simply got an email saying that they were not interested at this time and reapply in six months. Something that left her very depressed and feeling desperate.
I asked her what her most immediate need was (besides a job that pays a livable wage) and she told me she needed to do laundry. She was almost completely out of clean clothes. I didn't notice anything with her and she explained she has a car and keeps her things in her car...
She explained to me that she knew this coming for a while and held it off as long as she could, but just couldn't make the rent anymore. She thought she had prepared herself but has found out that it is an incremental experience. Your life becomes about surviving today. Having enough food for today. Finding a safe place to sleep tonight. Looking at tomorrow is hard and looking at next week is next to impossible. She went through a period of depression for the first month or so but has been able to shake that off. She realized that this is her life and only she can get herself out of it. She keeps herself clean and has started filling out job applications again. She has a job interview later this week. She told me that she has been able to keep her phone turned on so can find a job. She says that is one of her biggest fears is that she will lose her phone service or her computer will get stolen. She knows she will never find a job if those things happen. She has found places that she feels safe to sleep. The hard part now is filling all the hours without getting very depressed.
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