“Suddenly degrees aren’t worth anything. Isn’t that true? When I was a student, if you had a degree, you had a job. If you didn’t have a job it’s because you didn’t want one. And I didn’t want one, frankly.”
– Ken Robinson
This is a true story about being homeless.
It all began in 2008, when I got laid off from the job that I had since 1997. I was getting a lot overtime, sometimes starting as early as 4:00 in the morning, and sometimes working till almost 9:00 pm.
So I was making good money, then in the mid 2000s, the OT started to slowly dwindle. Then there were the weeks if I was lucky to get in full weeks worth of work. In January of 2008, I was let go. That was a big shock to the system.
Up next was collecting unemployment. That’s when things started getting iffy. I was slowly getting behind on the bills, then the notifying my landlord, that I was out of work, and he was understanding about it. He let me work off some of the rent, by doing some cleaning up of the property, and doing some painting.
Now comes August of the following year. My unemployment dried up, plus I got fed up looking for work, as few if any was hiring. So now, I’m caught in a Catch 22 situation. With no money, donated some of my furniture, and other stuff to a church, which was located across the street. Next it was to a motel, for a few days, that my sons paid for, then I realized that something had to be done.
I was referred to a homeless shelter, which was recommended by Elder Services. So I went to the shelter, with reservations, as I have always heard some bad shit about them. The shelter isn’t the greatest, but you do what you have to do. Your out into the street all day, and if the weather sucks, then your just plain miserable. I would spend a lot of time in the local library, and then head back to the shelter just before 5:00 pm. I did this for seven weeks, when finally one of the workers at the shelter, gave me the good news, that was giving me my own room, and away from the maddening crowd.
While I was upstairs, there were other people, I believe 14-15 of them. Some male and few females. I won’t get into what the goings were. Anyways, while I was there, I started looking for work again, and I went back to the unemployment office, and found out that they owed me over $3,000 in back unemployment payments. Now things were starting to look better. I opened a new bank account, and banked most of it. Hit the lottery a couple of times, which was around $300.00 or close to that. In January of 2010, finally got a part-time job. Then at the end of February I finally got an apartment, that I can call my own, and come and go as I please.
Today, I have since moved into a one-bedroom apartment, which I share with a partner that I met, when both became homeless at the same time. She is a wonderful person, and we get along great. It will be two years, this March 19 that we have been living together. We have gotten a new couch, cocktail table, two end tables comfortable recliner for her, and a wide screen TV.
Now that I am retired, my life has being very good, and now I can enjoy life.
The reason I wrote this, it has been something that I’ve been wanting to get off my chest, but couldn’t seem to get my head around it. What pushed me to write this now, was in a response to a comment on a post that I wrote: Liberal. The comment was about homeless people are either drug users, or have mental problems. Reading that, kind of pissed me off. Homelessness can happen to anyone. It doesn’t matter what race you are, have lost a job, lost a home due to a fire, or for numerous other reasons.
So if you want to know what its like to be homeless, take a walk in my shoes, or anyone else who is homeless, and then get back to me and tell me what the feeling is like. It is not a good one at all.
A Pondering Mind 2014
An “acceptable” level of unemployment means that the government economist to whom it is acceptable still has a job.
– Author Unknown