This will be a quick post..promise. I just had to share a brief moment from my day that just happened a moment ago here at the JOIN office. I had to fill out a quick intake form with a new household we’re housing. The woman, “Sonia,” whom I met for the first time today is in her upper sixties and has really been struggling with sleeping on the sidewalks around St. Francis. She has a family member who’s been her camping partner and protector while they’ve been outside, and the two have endured a lot together. Sonia broke down while talking about the thoughts that she’s been having about her self-worth as a woman experiencing homelessness. She said that she spent nights afraid, and wondering if it was worth living. She carries a knife in her purse, but hates the thought of having to use it, even to defend herself against an attacker. Sonia doesn’t have many possessions- just blankets mainly, but it’s too heavy to carry and she said that more than once she’s broken down in tears, unable to carry the load from one camping spot to another.
Sonia said all of this conversationally, in a straightforward tone. She abhors pity and wasn’t trying to play a sympathy card to get housing help. Her reality has become a daily exercise in survival, and at her age, it kills me to hear about someone like her experiencing the difficulties of homelessness.
Fortunately this story has a happy ending. As soon as I post this blog, I’m heading out to the management company to drop off checks to cover their move-in costs, and Sonia will be moving into a quiet apartment tomorrow morning. When she left the office just now, Sonia gave me a hug and I asked if she’d be able to hang on for one more night outside. “Oh yeah, I can hack that. I’m going indoors tomorrow!”