She didn't want anyone to know she was homeless
Many people are hidden homeless. Compassion and understanding goes a long way.
My friend has had a terrible, traumatic year. She lost her youngest child after covid related complications caused havoc on his small 12 year old body and after many weeks of being in intensive care, he sadly passed away. Having had so much time off of work to be in the hospital, she lost her job and then soon after, her apartment. She stayed with her ex husband for a while, but ultimately she ended up sleeping in her car. She didn't want anyone to know the situation she was in, so kept it all to herself for as long as she could.
She wants to be in a job so she can support her family. She wants to be able to do the online courses that she needs to enter a better career. It's nigh on impossible to build when there's nowhere of your own to settle and you're living out of your car or other people's houses.
Homelessness is closer than you think and there's so much shame attached, especially when you feel like you should be strong and independent and have it all together. Truth is, we need each other. Truth is, we have fragmented community so much, that it can be hard to reach out, hard to notice when someone is in trouble and hard to accept help when we need it most. When we do get so desperate that we let people in, by this time, it's a full on crisis. What if we were able to get help sooner? What if we noticed something sooner and could offer support and help before it reached the point of a crisis?
We are all responsible for shaping and creating community. What would it look like if community supported each other? What if giving and receiving help became normal again? What if we showed love and vulnerability and turned up for each other?
Let's let people in to our imperfect, messy lives and give permission for them to do the same. It might just be what we all need.
If you would like to explore how you can house the homeless in your community, click here for more information on partnership.