Author’s Note This is a work of nonfiction. I have told the events faithfully and truthfully as I recalled them. Some names and descriptions of individuals have been changed in order to respect their privacy. I have tried to tell my story honestly with out sharing too much of others.
During my first year of college, the professor asked the class could a homeless person become a millionaire. One of my white male classmates from a rural background said, “yes”. As I listen to the discussion, I thought I am glad, I am in college. I will be able to find a good job and not have to deal with being homeless. I felt I knew more about being homeless because I had seen homeless people in St. Louis. At the time, I did think of homeless people as skid row bums and of course, they were “those people”. I spoke up in class and said, “the homeless person would probably not become a millionaire because they would be concerned with other things like eating, sleeping, and shelter”. The professor agreed with me. Ten years later in the midst of being homeless, I thought about that day in class. I thought about how right I was about the obstacles a homeless person would face. I realize that homeless people were not “those people” any more, they were my people. I realized they were people just like me one paycheck away from being homeless. I was out raged at the treatment homeless people received and I wanted to expose how homeless people were treated. I thought if I expose the second-class citizen treatment, the public would be compelled to make some changes. The media has carried stories about homeless but they do not really deal with who the homeless are. They present the stories with out human interest. The media does not make it a point to share that % of homeless are families. The media neglects to emphasize that 20% of the homeless are working. That 11% of the homeless are veterans. When I started writing about my homeless experience. I did not want to tell my whole life story. I realized later that it was necessary to tell my whole story, because you don’t just wake up homeless one day, something has to cause it. For me it was a downward progression. In addition, I felt I would not have been homeless if the big block had not gone on top. Had I stopped to try to repair my faulty foundations then being homeless may not have been an issue for me. I decided to reveal my whole story so reader could relate. I wanted people to know that homeless women are somebody’s daughter, mother, girlfriend, friend, co-worker, classmate. During the time I was homeless I thought about reading displaced person by Flannery O’ Connor. The story was about the holocaust survivors who were relocated to the South. In her story the definition of displaced person is,” they ain’t were they were born at there’s nowhere for them to go…” In Atlanta, it seemed to, me, homeless people were displaced since the majority of them were from somewhere else like me and didn’t feel like there was anywhere to go. My lack of sound judgment caused all my homeless experience. During my initial experience being homeless one of girls stated, she had been at the shelter before I thought I could not believe it. Before my first homeless experience, I read some Bible commentary about Jesus being a homeless man. I would describe my first homeless experience as inconvenient. My desire for a man had become my god and affect my judgment. During this time I got remarried thinking a man would be my salvation. My Lack of sound judgment, understanding, and ignoring wise counsel caused me to have bad credit and bad previous rental history which led to my second homeless experience. During my Third homeless experience, I began to feel the stigma of being homeless. I would be an eyewitness to all the obstacles a homeless person has to overcome to achieve the American dream. How does one become Homeless three times? Before it, happen to me I did not understand how it could happen more than once. I did not realize that, the concept of soild foundation is important. I was just like the two little pigs who built their house out of straw and sticks. I should have learned that from my experience with blocks when I was a little girl. I loved to play with building blocks. I would build elaborate structures with the smallest block on the bottom. My structures would topple because they did not have a foundation. My Dad would tell me to build it differently. Scripture says, “ Wisdom hath builded her house, she hath hewn out her seven pillars (proverbs9: 1) the seven pillars are prudence, knowledge, discretion, counsel, sound judgment, understanding and power. These must be set on a strong foundation. Foundations are poured with Concrete, which is mixture of fine and course aggregates, which fill the voids. Instead of relying on the one true God,” Thou shall have no other gods before me. I used all wrong things as gods to fill the voids alcohol, men and food. I was spiritually and emotionally bankrupt. The voids in my life grew a larger because my god’s were ineffective and my structures collapsed. The big block was on top. My homelessness was just an outward sign of my inward instability. The Big Blocks of Philly, and Agape that should have been the foundations in my life were not present. Eros was unbalanced in life trying to fill the voids. My lack of boundaries affected my personal sense of power, my interpretation of the seventh pillar. Divorce, depression, and subsequent alcoholism were the mildew and water damage that caused my foundation to crack and eventually become unstable. Depression also affected my judgment and alcoholism affected all seven pillars. I continued to try build on a faulty foundation. My lack of prudence caused me to ignore the cracks in my foundation.