We have begun to accept submissions. If you have any we’d love to see them, please email at firstname.lastname@example.org - Chris H.
(*Person has requested to not use his face online)
November 2013, Park Street, Boston, MA
!. What is your name?
My name is Paul.
2. Where are you originally from?
I was born and raised in Dorchester, MA.
3. How old are you?
I am 43 years old.
4. What was growing up like?
I grew up in Dorchester, in a middle class household. My father owned a business and my mother was a stay-at-home wife. I have one brother and two sisters, and I am the oldest. It was not that bad. Back then, it was easier to hold a steady job, and you didn’t need both parents working. But not now! You just don’t see that anymore. My father provided for all of us, and we never had a want. Since I was the oldest, I was always looking after my siblings, making sure that they were in line.
5. Why are you homeless?
I was a van driver for 20 years! I lost my job with a private transportation company after working for them for years. The lay off was a plot. They had laid off co workers over a matter of months and I had noticed it. Then they came for me. I overslept one morning and the company fired me on the spot. This was my first written offense. No warning, no conversation about it. Just a “See Ya Later!”. This was four years ago. I am disabled and suffer PTSD from my military service, so it was really hard to find another job. I had a steady and seemingly dependable thing going, and the lay off blind sighted me. It wasn’t long after that I lost my residency, and pretty much everything else. My kids stay with their mother now. Which is tough because I love them so much.
6. How long have you been homeless for?
Three years. I usually stay around the Park St. area in Boston.
7. How do you get through the cold winters?
I usually deal with the cold weather by going to the Pilgrim Church shelter. They’re pretty good. Either that, or I try to stay inside the train station where buses are pulling in and out. It is dangerous, but it is better than freezing to death.
8. What is your biggest struggle being homeless?
I am tired of people looking down on me. The reality is that most people are really only a paycheck away from being homeless. I want people to show more kindness to others. When I get negativity from people, I just let it go. You haven’t been through what I’ve been through, so please don’t judge me!
9. Do you have any interest in working again? Job skills?
I have worked in restaurants, so I do food services pretty well. I obviously have driving skills. I would be very interested in driving again. However, I would need help renewing my driver’s license.