I’m a 55-year-old single woman who has worked since the age of 16. At the outset of the recession in 2008, my job as an executive assistant for a wireless internet service provider was eliminated. The company decided to outsource all of its engineering and R&D to India. The executive team was replaced. The slate was wiped clean. I was unemployed. I’ve been unemployed for over 3 years. Even during my most desperate attempts to survive on $53/week in unemployment insurance, did I think I would end up homeless. But I did. I still am. I’m in the process of regaining my independence.
I’ve decided to document my experiences as a homeless person for the past eight months. I feel a need to share my experiences with the general public, because I think the plight of the homeless in this country is deplorable. I thought it was quite interesting to hear Obama exclaim that his primary focus — right now — would be to “elminate homelessness,” but I haven’t heard what his plans are to do so. I also want others to try to understand what I’ve had to endure. The fear, the despair and the humiliation; as well as the meanness, jealousy and selfishness among the other residents. I’m not sure of the overall tone I’ll use in this blog. I think sometimes it will be snarky, because the behavior of some of the residents felt surreal to me at times. At other times it will be filled with deeply depressive episodes and feelings of hopelessness. What I want to come to grips with through writing about my experiences is how being homeless has affected me; since I feel that it’s affected me profoundly. I also want to come to an understanding of why there seems to be favoritism toward certain residents in shelters. There are many exceptions to shelter rules that make no sense to me, because shelters should exist, in my way of thinking, to help the homeless lift themselves out of their circumstances and regain their independence, with assistance from the shelter staff. This was not what I saw.