My name is Paige. I live in Maryland and I am homeless. For over the past three months, I have been sleeping on a couch. Before this living situation, I was in rehab for alcoholism. I moved into a transitional house, but was pushed out because I could not find work.
Even though I have been sleeping on a couch for the past three months, I have been homeless since January 2015. During my time dealing with homelessness, I’ve lived in a shelter with only five cents to my name. I was provided an out-patient representative, but they did nothing to help me.
I almost had hypothermia because I could not get access to a shelter. I decided to partake in a study for a clinical trial to make money. I was drugged with something horrible, which caused some bad side effects, so I left.
I finally made it into a shelter, but that didn’t last long because all but two closed. They closed because they felt it wasn’t cold enough, so no more shelters for the winter season. I was broke, starving, freezing, and had no place to sleep. I had very little money left from the study, and I used it to rent space on a couch here and there, buying a five dollar pizza at 7-11, and bananas and juice.
I became a regular at the local soup kitchens. The people there became like family and we looked out for each other. We were 30 women to a room, using mats on the floor as our mattress, and one blanket each to keep us warm.
This has been my life: wake up at 6AM, eat breakfast, and then out in the cold I went. (People aren’t allowed to stay in the shelter during daytime hours, so if you didn’t work, you just figured out a way to make time fly by.) I’ve slept on the bus, and on a bus bench many nights by myself in the dark cold night. I’ve almost eaten out the trash cans due to hunger. I’ve slept on the wet ground. I am a survivor. I have very little; however, I am grateful for what I do have at this time of my life.
I have been interviewing at several places, and just recently I accepted a job at the Dollar Store. I will continue to wait to be accepted into a shelter (it’s been two months since I applied for a spot). I’ll be laying on a friend’s couch with no room or closet space to call my own.
After losing 90% of my things that were in a storage unit, which I could no longer pay for, I have one towel, one pair of sneakers, some free clothes, and one pair of flats; all worn and frayed. Despite all that I have gone through, I still have hope, people have given me hope.
Today Carry Me Productions CEO and co-founder, Carrie, sent me a package that lit up my soul.
I’ve never met Carrie, but she took me under her wing without reservation and sent me this huge box of toiletries and necessities including, socks, food, toothpaste, deodorant, shampoo, laundry detergent, soap, you name it — it was in this box!!
I pray I keep this job. I pray for a roof over my head. I pray I never end up on the street with nowhere to sleep. I have two months to move out from the couch I am currently calling my home. Unsure of what will happen next in my life and so scared I won’t have a roof, Carrie is helping me find work, reviewing and helping me strengthen my resume, and talking to me daily like I am her friend. She, they, have given me hope and something tells me that I will be okay.