Kim and Daryl
Names have been changed in order to protect the identity of those interviewed.
Kim and Daryl have been living in the Richmond area all of their lives. They have been together for about 7 years and have two children together. Both Kim and Daryl are unemployed due to mental disabilities. Kim is receiving SSI and Daryl is currently going through the application process for his. This is the first time that they have been homeless..
What caused you to become homeless?
D: I try to work, but it is difficult for me because of my disabilities. I have been working with my dad on and off, but the work is manual labor and I have seizures. I am worried that the seizures will happen while I am at the top of a ladder. One second I will be there and the next I won’t, but I still try to do what I can.
K: Well, last fall his work became slower and as a result, we fell behind on the rent payments until we ultimately lost our home in October. Since then we have been staying with friends trying to find something else. However, last week, a clinic that I go to gave me the number for homeless assistance. The agency was able to put us in a hotel for a few days until they were able to get us moved into the shelter. We have been here for about a week now.
What is it like being homeless?
K: It sucks.
D: It is hard being homeless with the kids. We try to find somewhere to go every day so that they have something to do other than just sitting in the stroller and being pushed around. We spend a lot of time at the Library hanging out and giving the kids something to do.
What is the hardest thing about being homeless?
K: It is hard too because I constantly worry about whether my kids are okay, where they are going to sleep and what they are going to eat.
What helps you to get through the hardest days?
What kind of response have you had from the community? Service providers, the general public, and family/friends?
K: Service providers have been very helpful and supportive since we have been able to get in touch with them. However, I do wish that we had been more aware of the services in October so that we could have come here then rather than staying with friends and trying to make it work with them.
D: We don’t have much family and we try to keep our situation to ourselves for the most part.
K: As for the general community, I have not really had any interaction with them in regards to our situation. However, I know that other homeless individuals that are on the street have a different experience.
Where do you see yourself a year from now?
K: In my own place. Seeing my daughter in school and a stable place.
D: Stability is my biggest goal.
What about 5 years from now?
D: Married. Running my kids back and forth to baseball practice and football practice, like normal families do.