N = Neighbours
In writing for this challenge and my chosen topic, to say it’s been difficult at times is an understatement, it has opened up old wounds and frankly I haven’t really opened up about this area of my life, not dealt with it.
For me coming to terms with many aspects about homelessness in general, it’s not just about the figures, but more about how the situation can make a person feel as part of the community, there have been many kindnesses as I’ve said before and there have been many lows.
I’m in recovery from depression the last bout coincided with my homeless stated and I have clawed out of one pit, only to still find myself in another, and not being strong enough mentally to deal with it at the time, I have been inch by inch trying to improve my situation, and being able to have a home again, this blogging challenge for me is to show there is a different face of homelessness, and not just what you see/ignore on the streets and dispel a few myths about what it means to be homeless, and it’s much more than being without a roof over your head.
The hidden homeless like me as were called function on many levels, however we sofa hop or house sit, we find many ways to have accommodation, without using public resources, so whatever the numbers, there are thousands who live as I do out of a suitcase/bags, as I said it doesn’t change our status, and we have no voice, and being single the system pretty much ignores you and no matter how many doors you knock on and I have knocked on many, it becomes a lesson in frustration, as you cannot get the help you need I have one half of the equation all I now need is a home or a room to call my own.
I’ve digressed quite a bit, but I wanted to tell you about some of the kindness I’ve received over the last couple of years, which gives me much hope for humanity.
1. My old neighbours of some almost 20 years, on the actual day, they gathered begged and pleaded with the mortgage company representative and also the bailiffs to let me stay, even offering to have a whip round to at least pay some of the arrears to give me breathing space.
A few even threatened to barricade the door, all to no avail but they tried and I’ll never forget that, they even wrote letters after the event which were never answered, the whole day was incredibly emotional, there was lots of crying and hugging, it was just heartbreaking, they even took in my cats, let me store stuff, gave me money, let me use the phone to try to find somewhere.
The lady who drove me around that night looking for a B&B was a friend of a neighbour, she paid for my hotel stay, I’ll be honest I didn’t think that kind of neighbourly spirit still existed.
2. The person who took me in, even though I lied about my reasons for not being in my home, I was so ashamed, but they gave me a sofa to sleep on, a roof basically, and didn’t even want money and when I fell into the pit of depression allowed me to stay, even though they really couldn’t do anything to help my situation.
3. I’ve done quite a bit of sofa surfing some long-term other times just a few weeks, you have to be very careful not to out stay you’re welcome.
4. Those who gave me gifts of money and food, yes food sometimes was a gift, even clothes, one or two knowing I wasn’t in a fit state to go out or see anyone, who would literally coax me into a car shaking and crying to see the doctor, when things turned very dark for me mentally.
5. The new friends, my support group if you will who listened, my best friend who didn’t even know all the details who just accepted me for who I was and never judged
6. When I came out the other side of depression the students(though they didn’t know it) who gave me back my confidence, and made me feel useful again.
Even at the worst of times, there are people out there who care and don’t question the “why” they just help in so many ways it’s hard for me to even articulate, but I’m grateful that they thought I was worth fighting for and showed compassion above and beyond, when I could barely function.
If you have good neighbours and friends your very rich indeed.