Being Homeless

I am a woman experiencing homelessness in a women’s shelter in Waltham called Bristol Lodge. Being homeless and living with many women is not what I would wish on my worst enemy. I dislike living with a group of women because stealing and fighting are always present. Many of the women do not know how to take showers or clean up after themselves. These are the people who have been homeless for many years.

I have a friend that had lived in the shelter in Somerville. Now, I am so proud of her because she has had her own apartment for the last five years. There are a few people in the shelter in Somerville that have lived there for 20 years or more. I have been homeless since March of 2009 and I can’t image living in the shelter that long.

To leave the shelter, however, is to take a huge risk. Sometimes when you leave one shelter you never know if you can find another into which you can be admitted. There are very few shelters that are only for women in the Boston area. Since I’ve been homeless, I’ve had a hard time simply trying to get a bed for myself.

I was homeless when I first met my husband. My husband and I got married in September and just celebrated our two-month anniversary. My husband wanted me to live with him and his family, but his father kicked him out. So, by the beginning of this year, both my husband and I were homeless. His father kicked him out because he didn’t approve of my presence in the apartment. My husband is from Haiti, though he has lived in the U.S. for four years, and has found it difficult navigating the ins and outs of being homeless. I’m planning to find a room for us all to live in, by the beginning of January

My husband is the best thing that ever happened to me, besides having my son from a previous union. Now that we are homeless together, we stick together, and I try to teach my husband everything that he needs to know. He has learned a lot about how to live day by day. He is learning how to deal with living with other men and to manage to cope without me for a night or two. Navigating the shelter system, understanding soup kitchens, knowing who to talk to (and who to avoid)—these are the sorts of things I must teach my husband. I am hoping that we will get housing so that we are able to raise our children in a joyful and loving home, one that they truly can call home. I want my children to be happy where they live. One day, my husband and I can both tell our kids that their parents once lived a life that we never want them to live.

—Angela Douyon

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