Everyone has a story to tell.
They may often be invisible to passersby, but homeless individuals have life stories similar to everyone else. Although the reasons for their housing crisis vary, they are all compelling in their own way. Many like them are just a few paychecks away from being in the same situation.
“The difference between you and maybe that person who is already on the street is that you probably have a safety net of friends and family that could help and you wouldn’t be on the street tomorrow,” said Tiana Brown, of The Salvation Army.
In this segment, those who were homeless as well as those who are still facing homelessness speak out.
Trish, now a volunteer at Women’s City Club, was a homeless teen in Ohio. She talked about going to school, “I would sit in the lunchroom and watch everybody else eat and not have any food, and [my teachers] did nothing.”
Steven Carl, 24, is from Delaware County and has been living on the streets since August 2014. It has been difficult for him to find a job after he lost all forms of personal identification in a fire.
Jon Hornbeck, 53, was staying with a friend for awhile until he became homeless again in mid-March 2015. He explains how he had housing for a few months by using his food stamps to buy food for himself and another man. “The barter system is still very effective in helping someone feel vital, wanted and needed and helping them to achieve and get something in return, such as, shelter.”
Veronica Cooney has been living at the Women’s City Club for the past few years. “What actually landed me into homelessness is I became ill . . . it really became a matter of whether or not I was going to be able to pay the rent or I was going to be able to get the treatment.”
Ted Williams gained national fame as a homeless person with a powerful voice. He shares the story of winding up on the street in Columbus. “Being homeless is not who you are, but what you are.”
Elizabeth McVay has two children and another on the way; she was staying at Family Promise in early 2015. She tried to get into Marion’s Shelter but, “I couldn’t because they are full for the family shelter so I had to move back to Delaware.”
Jessica Dickson has 2 children and is also staying at Family Promise. Jessica talked about housing issues in Delaware and said that there are few cheap apartments or houses available, “and if there is, you’re going to have bugs… I learned that.” Dickson found Family Promise through HelpLine.