A Homeless Survivor Essay

1482 words - 6 pages

An article in The Oregonian called “Sell Bonds to Help the Homeless: Guest opinion” written by Jane M. O’Brien, she while working with the homeless in Portland, Oregon notices a growing problem. Talking about her education and background I find her to be enlightening and agree with many of her statistical facts about the reasons for homelessness but I disagree on her plan to sell bonds to alleviate the problem. I think that the programs offered currently are effective as long as we change the mindset for these services. The programs need to be seen and treated as a stepping stone for the future and not a hand out for the day.
In today’s economics it is hard to balance work, family and the bills to maintain a mundane lifestyle. There is a lot of pressure in people’s lives. When it gets to be too much people drink or do drugs or even have a breakdown that can trigger mental illness. Those occurrences can cause homelessness.
The majority of homelessness is almost always caused by one or more of three things; escape from a spouse or significant other, drugs or alcohol, or mental illness. Having one or more of these problems does not equal immediate homelessness; it comes from a series of bad or wrong choices that eventually lead these people there. In my case of being homeless, it was escaping from an abusive spouse. Instead of planning of leaving, saving money and going elsewhere it escalated to the point where I just grabbed a backpack with some things and walked out the door to a life of nothing.
During the time I was homeless I became aware or services available to me. There were shelters for sleeping, showers and even laundry. There were places that gave me clothes right down to new underwear, socks and bras if I needed them. I was also given toothpaste, a toothbrush and deodorant. I did notice that with all of the services if someone comes in drunk, high, or disorderly they were turned away for services for just that day. I found that my caseworker at a DHS office was a fountain of useful knowledge. She listened to me and helped me get food stamps and health insurance. She also gave me papers on where to go for any need that I had which included a state funded phone number which she described as like a concierge for the homeless. I could call it with any need food, laundry, or a place to sleep and the person on the end of the line would tell me where to go and when the services were being offered.
Once I was able to establish a routine and most of my basic needs were met I began to look for work. I quickly found a job and after my first week of training I was able to work 35 plus hours a week making eleven dollars an hour. I reported my job to my caseworker and told her how I was saving to rent a place she told me of a domestic violence grant the state of Oregon provided to help get women and children into a safe place. The grant would pay for the needed amount for deposits and the first month’s rent, up to $1200, providing that I showed...

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