Ar­ti­cle on home­less­ness struck a deep chord

Maryland Independent - - Community Forum -

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

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