Keith has been one of the regular clientele of the shelter for years. Today was the first time I saw him with a sleeping bag and a mat, made from milk bags, tucked under his arm. He told me there’s a chance he would be sleeping on the street tonight. He wanted to be prepared.
Keith’s shoes were from the shelter.
What is your biggest struggle with poverty on a daily basis?
“Both food and shelter. I’m on disability so having enough money for food is always a problem. But, I can usually find somewhere to eat. I either eat here at the shelter or at the mission. When I lived on my own, I went to food banks. But, I don’t right now.”
“Today, shelter’s a very big concern for me. I’ve been living with my daughter and her boy-friend, and my grand-daughter and her boyfriend, plus their three kids. We’re all crowded into a two-bedroom apartment. We’re looking for a house but we haven’t found one we can afford yet.”
“I can’t take it there anymore. So much arguing. Usually about babysitting the little ones. It seems like I’m always dragged into the fighting. I have to get away. It’s not healthy for me. It’s mostly verbal but sometimes more…”
“I’m going to see if I can crash at my other grand-daughter’s place. At least until things cool off. I’m tired of babysitting all the time. I need to get out and do stuff too, you know?”
What would you like people to know about living in poverty?
“Have faith. Pray that things will turn out well. Have a positive attitude during these hard times. Visit other people when things get too rough.”
“For me, with all the fighting going on in the apartment, I try not to get mad. I walk away and close the door behind me. Do this so you can have control over your own self instead of getting angry.”
“If you’re struggling, use food banks to make ends meet. Try to budget, somehow. Things can turn around.”