A Tenant’s Perspective on What Living at SHOW Means to Them
Life circumstances are not always kind, one never knows when disaster will strike or when everything we know is about to change. Sometimes choices are not our own and we end up living a life we never thought possible.
I was one of the lucky ones. I had a wonderful childhood, a loving family and I grew up with all the confidence and self-worth necessary to lead a happy and successful life.
All that changed as I passed my first ½ century on this planet. In quick succession I lost my first-born son, I lost my wife, and then my home.
My life was in tatters. I ended up in a shelter, grieving, broke and completely alone.
To become homeless is to lose everything. Losing your possessions is the easiest part of all that. What’s hard is the loss of self, your confidence, your dignity, everything you spent your life building disappears. Homelessness can reduce you to the point where you start to fear for your soul. You suddenly become a second class citizen, someone who no longer has a voice. It feels as though one can go from being a person to an animal.
For me, homelessness was an utter shock to the system. I lost all privacy, didn’t know where my next meal was going to come from, didn’t know if I’d be harassed or physically attacked. The experience of homelessness can be utterly dehumanizing, and for someone with no experience of street life and culture, can be profoundly traumatic.
When I was accepted at SHOW all of that changed. I had my own space again. I had my own life again and was finally able to start grieving my losses. To this day I am still trying to refocus my life to the point where I can contribute again. SHOW has let me do all that and more. There is always someone to talk to if I need to talk. We have our own little community, and we try to support each other as much as we can.
My hope is that those who support us will read these words and come to understand that although we’re all responsible for our own lives, our society has cracks. And, God forbid you fall into one of these cracks, you would be very lucky to end up in a place like SHOW.