Elias received his shoes from a friend. His friend found the pair of shoes in a garbage bag left by the roadside.
“There’s a hole in the side of them—right here—but that’s fine.”
What is your biggest struggle with poverty on a daily basis?
“Shelter! I’m staying at a friend’s house. I sleep on the couch there. I was on the street for about a year. I’d stay at the Mission overnight if it was cold or raining but I try to avoid that place. I prefer to sleep on the street because they steal at the Mission.”
“Well, I would like to live by myself because of all the stealing but actually, I have no problem with living with somebody. I’ve worked a couple jobs…waxing and stripping floors. The last company became broke and I didn’t get paid. They owe me over $1000. I needed that money to try and get a room of my own. This happened to me several times. I work hard and don’t get paid at all. It makes me wonder why I’m even trying to work some days!”
What would you like people to know about living in poverty?
“If you live with somebody, be respectful of them so they let you stay there. I clean the dishes and have a nice conversation with them. And, I don’t steal from them.”
“I say, ‘Yes, sir! What do you need?’ to the people who let me live in their house. Everyday the man tells me, ‘ Find a job!’ I’ve worked for many people and I keep looking for work all the time.”
“I used to keep everything all bottled up inside of me and then, sometimes I would cry. My aunt told me if I didn’t have anyone to cheer me up, to talk to myself—as long as no one was watching or they’d think you were crazy—and that would help me. I do that now and don’t cry as much. And, I pray to God. I talk to Him.”