Wednesday, June 8, 2011


Have you ever been homeless, well it's not a very nice place to find yourself in. Let me tell you about my experience, I was about 11 years old at the time. My mother was a hard working woman and I had three other siblings living at home with me and Mommy. Two sisters and one brother, we all basically had to watch out for each other when Mommy was at work. It wasn't so bad because we were mostly very responsible children, whatever chores Mommy told us to do we'd do it. Well for the most part, anyway my brother was very smart and always found ways to make a dollar. He was a shoeshine boy, bagger at the local supermarket, you name it he probably tried it. His only problem was that he was also mischievious, once him and some other boys were caught in the base sniffing glue.

Well that was just the beginning, but it goes on and on. We grew up in the projects and they had rules; we had a mean Project Manager and he came by to visit my mother one day. He told her that if my brother got caught doing one more thing, we were going to be evicted. Oh my goodness, that was a terrible thing. I can tell you some horror stories about evictions; first there was one family that got evicted for non-payment of rent. The management office, had all of their furniture set on the street, not only that it was disgusting because they had old pissy mattresses, the furniture was busted and now they were embarrassed cause everybody new their business. Growing up around these types of experience had me implant in my mind that I would never let this happen to me. Well guess what, yes my brother was accused of robbing the laundry mat. I don't know if he did it up until today, but I do know that Mr. Heard, the manager kept his word. Now things were rough already, Mommy was the only one really making any money we were all still in school. My oldest sister was 19 and had just had a baby girl, so money was really tight. I want you to know that my mother although discouraged didn't give up. She started looking for an apartment right away, but the best part about the whole disasterous situation is that our neighbor God bless her took all of us in.

She had one daughter of her own, but that didn't matter she told my mother we could all stay with her until Mommy found a place to stay. Well we must have been there with her for i'll say about three months, Mommy was able to continue working and when she found time look for an apartment. Eventually, she found a nice two bedroom apartment in the Bronx across town from where we were. I was so happy and thankful how things worked out. My mother never forgot the kindness that our neighbor showed us, we kept in contact with her. My mother was her daughter's Godmother, after we had moved we still kept in close contact. Our neighbor, Ms. Jacobs came to visit with us and she would let her daughter spend time with my mother. We somehow lost contact with them, but Ms. Jacobs and her daughter, Jennifer we will never forget. It was because of her, my family didn't have to truely experience being homeless. Homelessness is no joke, my girlfriend Denita messed around and got evicted from her apartment and wound up having to live in a shelter, with her two daughters. It was awful for her, because the shelter system is herrendous. You have hundreds of people clutter in one big room, sleeping on cots. She told me that they steal from each other, because all you are provided with is a locker and thieves can break into anything. Not only that, there are all types of germs floating around. Also you don't know if you are living with a rapist, drug dealer, homosexual or what. Some of them have diseases like tuberculosis; aids, herpes and who knows what else. She shared that it was a difficult time in her life and she regret making the mistakes that caused her to have to live like this. She worked with me so I saw her everyday and there was continuous horror stories about living in the shelter.

After about a year and a half, she was fortunate enough to be placed in what they call a tier two apartment. I am happy to say that for the past 10 years, she has been able to maintain her own apartment and her children are grown and on their own. Let us all think about this, our lives are so important we have to make wise decisions to protect ourselves from these types of disasters. Sometimes circumstances arise that we really have no control over, but for what we do have control over let us be wise and stay focused so we don't have to experience homelessness. Life is too precious to have to go through such struggles, remember you only have one life to live, let us make the best of it.