Bobby’s Story

        “Being homeless was easily one of the worst experiences of my life. I can still remember the bitter winter cold and wondering how I would make through the night, as if the day was going to be any less forgiving. Had it not been for a handful of friends who reached out, giving me food and a couch to lay on I probably wouldn’t have seen my twenty first birthday. The sad part about it is less the fact that I was homeless, but how much I had to ask for help to gain traction enough to not remain homeless. People either didn’t think the situation was really an issue or outright turned me away, as if not seeing the problem made it not exist. Being homeless in a middle-class community also presented other problems nobody really grasped, the concept of getting to the nearest shelter (eight miles away in downtown Cleveland) being possibly the most notable. Had there been at that time an outreach program such as this, designed to reach the community most of that eight months of day-to-day terror could have been avoided. This organization is absolutely necessary.”

Sara’s Story

            “My name is Sara. I am 35 years old and single. I spent almost a year homeless. It was the most humiliating year of my life. I lost my parents a few years earlier and didn’t have any family close by. I worked two jobs to support my very basic lifestyle. I didn’t do drugs or have any expensive habits. As both of my jobs were part time, I didn’t have any healthcare. Because of some medical complications I amassed a significant amount of medical debt. I sold off most of my belongings and worked as hard as I could to pay it down, but ultimately I could no longer afford rent or utilities. I was forced to live out of my car. I would move from place to place. Sleep in motel parking lots or all night stores, sometimes I preferred the safety of the lights while others I wanted to just hide on the streets of a neighborhood. I would wash up in public restrooms. Winters were the worst as I couldn’t afford to keep the car running all night and it got incredibly cold many nights. I don’t think any of my coworkers would have ever guessed I was homeless. I certainly wasn’t going to tell anyone as I was ashamed. I felt like a failure. When I wasn’t getting mail from one of my jobs, the HR department called me in. I had to tell them the truth and explain my story. Fortunately my boss found out and helped get me into supportive housing. There I was helped with a debt consolidation plan, among other things. Eventually I was able to move out and get an apartment with a roommate. That was 5 years ago. Things are going well for me now. I have good medical coverage so I am hopefully something like this won’t happen again, but if it does I know where to turn for help. I volunteer there whenever I get a chance as a way to say thanks for saving my life.”