One day I had to call the police because someone threatened to hit me; he even knew I was pregnant. The police did nothing at all. Then my landlord raised our rent by $300 more. My fiance and I couldn’t afford this. I thought I was going to break down. My daughter needed a roof over her head and I needed some peace! I made decision based on all of our well being. A homeless shelter. I told my fiance, Logan, “This is only temporary. We will make it.” We moved into the shelter later that day; I couldn’t sleep that night.
I cried hard the first few days. My whole world had flipped. We were in a shelter and my cats were left behind; It hurt. It took a week before I got used to the schedule and rules. I was very thankful though. Every day I woke up grateful for having a place and having things provided. As long as they had it and you needed it… they gave it to you. I didn’t need to buy baby wipes or diapers. They gave me food, water, shampoo, blankets, a hot shower, a place to sleep and, well, anything. They wanted people to save their money to get a place so providing these things saved money.
Everyone around the shelter stared and judged. Homes would call and complain about loudness or staring even though no one ever bothered them. Businesses around the shelter made rules that residents had to follow because “They make their business look bad.” People driving by would stare. The judgement was terrible.
All these people who think shelter residents steal or do drugs is just sad. In reality, it’s mostly people who fell on a hard time. The shelter does drug tests and watches people through cameras… people caught with drugs or alcohol in their systems were kicked out. I can’t help but wonder, “Will people ever see the truth or just continue to lie about homeless people?”
I knew homeless shelters were important but until moving into one I didn’t know just how important they really were. My eyes have been opened. It’s amazing the things you learn through experiences!
I made a friend named Sarah who has a 10 month old. Her parents just dropped her off with no where to go. Another family went half and half on an apartment and was told to get out because “They didn’t pay their half”….. with no proof that the did pay, they had to go. This one guy lost his daughter to cancer. There were three people who served in the army. A traveling family. A couple who walked from South Carolina to Virginia. Another women’s house got caught on fire…. and you see only judgement from others who refuse to see anything else but lies.
Logan and I left the shelter yesterday (7/24). We have a place to stay then we are getting into our new apartment. We got lucky getting out. Some of those people literally lost everything…
I was originally going to write about my stay at the shelter but instead I want people to understand shelters aren’t that bad. I want people to know it’s not okay to judge something they have no clue about. Yes, living there was hard and stressful but it was in no way what majority of people think. I am completely open to questions, comments, or anything about my stay.
(Pic is the nursery room at the shelter)