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Valley Women's Voices: Homeless in a small town

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letter to editor

Homeless in a small town.

I am homeless but have done nothing wrong.

Bills were paid on time and our yard was vibrant with freshly planted flowers.

The smell from our BBQ and the sounds of children filled our home.

I am homeless because the owner sold our home.

We packed all our furnishings,

and watched our children choose smaller toys to keep out of storage.

You see me at the grocery store and we make small talk in the checking line.

I walk away feeling relief that for one more day no one knew I was homeless.

We have mastered washing up in gas stations

taking more time than you,

to make sure we have gone the extra mile to not look homeless.

I drive down the same roads as you when we both pick up our kids from school.

My wife pores over the paper praying to find a new place to rent.

This routine leads to daily tears.

I sadly watch them roll down her beautiful face.

When the sun starts to set we drive around to find a safe place to park.

I place light blankets in our windows as my wife locks all the doors.

With thick blankets wrapped tightly around us,

I silently pray we can sleep through the night.

For 6 hours a day my children are the same as yours.

They play on the playground releasing all the stresses that plague them at home.

No one knows we are homeless.

We have had the same jobs for years and our children always manage to smile.

We hope to find a motel room for a night or two.

The thought of feeling a soft to bed stretch out on,

a bathroom just a couple of steps away,

and the calming warmth of a shower seems so far out of reach.

We call around to each local motel.

Praying that we will get to experience this luxury for just a night or two.

The words seem to flow so freely from their mouths,

“We have no vacancies for the next few weeks.”

It will be another night of finding a safe place to park.

We look for a semi-lighted space where we can feel safe.

Out of the sight of others,

to avoid the midnight knock saying we have to leave again.

I am still homeless in a small town.

— Stefani Jackson, Hamilton

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