Article on homelessness struck a deep chord
The article in the Oct. 7 edition of the Maryland Independent on the homeless (“Charles County gathers resources to help the homeless, less fortunate”) struck a deep chord for me. Many years ago after a painful divorce, my three teenaged children and I became homeless under the title of “couch surfing,” as stated in your article. That literally jumped off the page. Why? Because my kids and I did not live on the street, but we were without a “home” for over a year.
I was very fortunate to have wonderful friends who invited us to stay in their basements, sleep on mattresses on the floor, and be as comfortable as we could. As I babysat and cleaned houses for a living, that is how I repaid their kindness. My child support went toward food and clothing, which we got at thrift stores. When applying for food stamps, I was turned down because my child support was a “little too much.” In all actuality it was just enough to pay for necessities outside of rent.
At one time I found an abandoned house, looked into who owned it, contacted the owner, a lawyer. He was amazed I inquired about it. My kids and I needed a home of our own, so he let me rent it. We moved in, cleaned it up and made it livable. The electricity was inadequate and in the winter we needed to borrow heaters as it was a big house and we didn’t have enough heat. The conditions were not healthy for my kids. We needed something better. A friend told me about subsidized housing in Charles County. We were in Prince George’s County, which did not have low-income housing at the time. I applied and within three months my kids and I moved into a nice, clean, newly-painted apartment subsidized by the government.
Homelessness comes from many unfortunate circumstances. Addictions, job loss, divorce, abusive conditions and more. I have always believed in a good, loving God who has led me through a lot of life struggles. Through the years my faith has grown, sometimes faltering, but never forgetting that I could not have gone through it without God’s help. Thank God my homeless days are far behind me.
When a homeless person on the street approaches me for money, I give them what I can, thinking, “There but for the grace of God go I.” Without exception, everyone I give to looks me in my eyes and says, “Thank you, have a blessed day” or “God bless you.” Cassie Sandrovich, Brandywine