Spare Change News is proud to present a new monthly feature, “In Their Own Words,” which highlights the work of writers who meet at Rosie’s Place.
In late 2014, Rosie’s Place, a community center for Boston’s poor and homeless women, started a memoir workshop. The intention was to have the guests, as they call the women they serve, write about their lives as a means of understanding and possibly working through difficult experiences. It was one of many creative outlets offered at Rosie’s Place that may also have therapeutic benefit.
Today’s author, Joanne, is homeless but, as she says, not “hopeless.” She works part-time at the Women’s Craft Cooperative at Rosie’s Place, where guests create jewelry and gift items. She has slept at the Rosie’s Place overnight shelter and others in Boston and continues to focus on finding housing and staying positive.
I am currently homeless because I recently divorced my husband. Due to the high costs of market rent in Massachusetts, I was unable to pay rent by myself. Initially I lived with various family members and friends but eventually I ended up at Rosie’s Place shelter.
Anyone can become homeless- even YOU can become homeless! You could get divorced and not be able to afford market rent by yourself. You could get sick and incur massive medical bills/expenses. You could suffer a serious injury and become addicted to the pain medication. Or you could substitute other drugs or alcohol to ease the pain.
Unfortunately, you may become a drug addict or alcoholic. Your company could downsize and you could be laid off from your job that you had for over twenty years. It can be difficult to find employment that compares in salary to your former job. Ultimately you are evicted from your home because you fall behind in your bills and rent/mortgage. Any of these scenarios can happen to you.
Have you ever stopped on the streets and said hello to a homeless person? The next time you see a homeless person on the streets, I hope you are compassionate towards this individual. Maybe you could stop and smile. Say hello. Ask their name. Inquire about their day. Maybe this human being will feel comfortable enough to reveal to you how they became homeless.
You may discover that this person’s life has a lot of similarities to your life. Many homeless people are college graduates and had great careers. Beautiful homes. Loving families and children. Money. Cars. Excellent health. Goals. They probably never dreamed that they would be broke and homeless. I can guarantee that this was definitely not on their bucket list.
It’s easy to get frustrated looking for affordable housing opportunities. Being a guest at Rosie’s Place has been a tremendous blessing in my life. The staff and volunteers at Rosie’s Place have provided me with a wonderful place to stay, housing resources, educational/social classes, meals, and the opportunity to meet so many other strong, beautiful women. Rosie’s has helped me stay focused and positive during my homeless journey.
I know this is a temporary situation. This too shall pass! I am homeless… not hopeless!