You never know why someone’s on the street

Dear Editor:

It was the summer of 2000 and I was on top of the world. I had a job that was paying me $42,000 a year, which might not be much to some, but to me it had hit the big time. My son moved back in with me, which just made things that much better. I had my own place for the first time in my life. There was nothing I could want for. Then 2001 came along and unbeknownst to many Americans and me, it would seem the economy was on a downfall. By April 27, 2001, my co-workers and myself were informed that the office was closing (that day) and we were no longer needed. Now I did not worry all too much; I knew with my skills, I could get another job. Might not pay as much but it would be close enough, and I would be fine, we would be fine. Things were looking good. Through a contact from a former boss I was set up to start a job in September, and it was going to be even more money. I was beside myself. Then at the last minute the project got put on hold and then September 11, 2001 happened. I have not been able to find a full time permanent job since.

Come this October I will be out on the street. My son fortunately can go back to his father in California. I have searched for a job most every day, and I have had one call back, no interviews. I have had three temp jobs but even those are hard to get it would seem. I have also learned a single white woman with one kid and no drug habit who tells that truth does not qualify for any social services at all. I went to welfare and was told that because I would not sue the man that raised my son for the first 14 years of his life without asking me for a dime and gave me liberal visitation, for child support that they could not help me. I called Norwest Cap and was told that because I don’t make enough money they cannot help me. I have applied to rental assistance twice and am doing it a third time but I have never heard anything from them either. But, if I were a crack whore with 12 kids and lied to meet the criteria, well then social services would be beating down my door to throw money at me.

Since I am too old to start popping out kids like pez candy and I have no desire whatsoever to start a drug habit and changing my race is out of the question, I will be on the street this winter, well in my tent anyway, that is if I can find some place to pitch it for the winter. The funny thing in all of this is just the other day I heard a news report that things were getting better. Yeah right, for whom? Certainly not me or the millions like me. So those of you safe in your homes this winter at least say a prayer for us. It’s all we have. And try to remember that there are many of us on the streets that don’t want to be there, have tried endlessly to get work to make some kind of life for ourselves and our children. So try to be a little more compassionate when you see us on the street. It could be you some day.

Diona Beam


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