Homelessness is a huge problem in bigger cities all around the United States, could something like this really be happening in Jackson county?
Of course, the economy is effecting everyone. It’s not as obvious in smaller towns like Brownstown, they try to hide it. Yet the problem is growing.
Awareness of the problem is the first steps to improving it. Homelessness can affect anyone for numerous circumstances: lay-offs, hours cut, theft, car problems, household repairs, new clothes for a kid that hit a growth spurt. One income can no longer make it. So single parent households struggle to make ends meet, and daycare costs more than working nowadays. Once you start getting behind, it continues getting worse and catching up feels impossible. Choices become harder feed your kids or pay for heat. Late fees double your bills and charge you for them to turn it off and on.
No matter the reason, it could happen to someone you know or even yourself. The biggest thing you can do is show kindness. They’ve been through more than you know. They are still human beings like everyone else show respect for their efforts. Judging, turning your back, and completely shunning makes the problem worse. What if it was you because a sudden series of unfortunate events?
I personally have been homeless in Brownstown. I’d like to point out that I didn’t stand with a sign begging for handouts. We did our best to stay to ourselves and not draw attention. Cops were called numerous times on us for simply parking somewhere to save gas while we got a plan together for that night. We mostly just wanted somewhere to sleep in the truck so we didn’t bother anyone with our problems even if it was winter and freezing out. We got ran off everywhere we went and eventually out of town. We struggled just to be somewhere, anywhere. And we got treated like criminals simply because we were homeless.
Harassment by the cops continued. We were accused of stealing our own stuff that was in the bed of our truck because we had no where to put it. I was watched like a hawk and ask to leave everywhere I went. It became impossible to even be in town at all due to the negativity from everyone.
Child services were involved already numerous calls were made. I made sure even being homeless I made sure my kids had everything and were warm and fed. My financial situation did not affect my parenting skills. Eventually my kids had to go to my parents to stay. Child services was still getting calls on me even weeks to a month afterwards. I was still homeless, and I was fighting to change that.
The economy is not the best. We can pretend it’s fine but it’s not. But since when does that make homelessness illegal?
It’s not even if everyone acts like it is. It’s a huge struggle in itself and harder than people realize to get back from. You shouldn’t kick someone while they’re down. Help each other. Boost each other up. That’s how we change the world. You’re words of kindness might be the only one someone hears.
Ashley Lehr is a resident of Brownstown. Send comments to [email protected].