My Homelessness Actually Was Helpful

Okay, i know what your thinking. How can being homeless help? Okay well ive been homeless twice. With my ex husband, I was homeless for three months with two boys and another one on the way. We had no income, but our children still attended school, still were fed and had clean clothes. The only thing I missed while being homeless was being able to nap in the afternoon. We finally got back into housing after a few months. Of course neither one of my boys learned anything from the experience and were just as picky about food as before. Lol. I learned to appreciate the simplest things. For me it was mac and tuna for supper.

The second time was when i was abandoned by my abuser. He moved in with a new girlfriend and left me and my four children owing two thousand dollars in check loans as well as utilities and rent. One of the children was his daughter. I left the women's shelter in that town because the staff stated that with just the birth certificate, my ex could take my daughter from me. Since i was already on the housing waiting list in ks and only had 10 months, i came home. We arrived in Lawrence, KS at 11pm on Jan 8, 2009. God was it cold. We arrived at the salvation army shelter and were shown into the chapel. They gave us mats and blankets and said that we had to be out by 8am the next morning. It was the first time my children and myself were able to sleep without being woke up by violence. Luckily when i was homeless this time i had an income to live off of. About 1300 dollars. I met a gentleman that was homeless the same time i was. He helped me get a stroller and then let me borrow his poncho to cover my daughter. The first couple of weeks it snowed like crazy. I remember people looking at me like, how dare you have a child out in this weather. Homeless or not, my children were on a schedule.

7AM Wake up and put away bedding.
7:30AM My three boys went to school
8AM My daughter and I would leave the shelter and go to a coffee shop. It had a play area for my daughter to use. I would drink coffee and she would eat breakfast.
10AM We would walk to the library and remain until 1:00pm unless we had playgroup.
1pm-2pm Lunch
2pm-5pm My daughter would nap while I worked online looking for rentals
6pm I would pick my boys up from boys and girls club and we would eat dinner.
8pm We would return to the shelter to get ready for bed.
That was mon-fri.
The weekends were tough. If not for a friend from church who would pick us up sat and sun morning and let us stay with her until the shelter opened. I would buy groceries to keep at her house and for the weekend, my children and i could enjoy three meals a day.
This went on four seven months. During this time, I used each payday to pay off bills, pay deposits, buy personal items. When I finally got into my own place in Aug 2009, I was out of debt and was able to furnish my home.
And yes, my children are still picky about what they eat. lol
I saw homelessness as a way to be forced to spend time together and get to know each other better. There were no videogames, or tv shows to distract us.

So to those who see a mom with children who are homeless, offer a helping hand. Not comments. I was one of the moms who had never done drugs or alcohol. An ex put me on the streets. There are mom's out there that  are drug addicts and choose to be homeless because they care more about their habit than their children.
while homeless I knew a mom who was into drugs and alcohol. Instead of giving her money, i would take her out for breakfast or lunch. Even being homeless myself I wouldn't support another mom's habit.

kalamatai kalamatai
31-35, F
5 Responses May 8, 2012

Wow, being homeless alone is one thing, but being a single mother and homeless, I honestly don't see how it could be done. I honestly believe no one should be homeless. If you are civilized enough, there is not reason why even family would not help you.

My family unfortunately is not civilized. I have a large family and yet they see me as a failure because unlike them, I refuse to use drugs, drink, and molest children. So im the "white sheep" of my family. My mother more recently helped my ex get custody of my 7 year old daughter knowing that she had been raped by three male family members. So yeah, I tend to steer clear of "family" at this point.

I could say I'm proud of you for your will to survive and see things the way you do. I am a single man, and I don't think I would survive homelessness. I've been in really bad situations, but I always say that if I have to face homelessness, I'm going to kill myself.

Being homeless can be liberating. It was for me only because I was on disability and therefore had an income. It was liberating because for 7 months I could pay off my debt. I was debt free by the time the 7 months was over. Of course moving my mom in with me to get her away from drugs undid all that. Im now more in debt, but Im working diligently to get out of it again. You know which people really care about you when your homeless too. I had a friend from church who to this day is still helping me. It also depends on where your homeless. Lawrence, KS is homeless friendly. Once you learn your way around its nothing. Only thing I never got to do was take a nap each day like I could when I was housed.

I understand what you mean when you say being homeless (I would use a more positive term if I could think of one) can greatly reduce -if not kill- your month to month expenses, and it can allow you time to think and refresh your mind, and yes, you can appreciate the simple things and know who's your friend. I agree with all of these. In my case however, I have a hard time dealing with status. I would feel worthless and degraded in myself, it's a personal issue that I would have a hard time with, maybe because of my anxiety and self-conscious behavior. But then again, being in a situation so low as in rock bottom would allow me to face my fears. It's a situation that would either make me better, or it would break me and at this point, I can't tell which way it would go in a person such as myself. It could go either direction. Either way, you're a strong woman.

1 More Response

What a wonderful story. Thank you for sharing how you were as a mother. People out there just do not know how it really is. Much respect for you and what you did.

Thank you for taking the time to read it. When most people think of homelessness, they assume a person wants or deserves to be. I would love to change the publics view. Fact is most of the homeless are families.

You are courageous and inspiring. I appreciate your story.

what a cool experience and a nice story for me to learn something :) I think you're a beautiful mom.... Nothing can bring you down like others.. Your children are so lucky .. To me, I feel so lucky too because I have a mom who isn't so special but loves me so much ...<br />
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God bless your family, best wishes!