Wednesday, August 27, 2014
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I could never be homeless, right?

Although we at One Step Away write sometimes about poems and stuff like our ambitions, I believe it’s more important to paint a picture in our writing about who we were before we became homeless and show the human aspect involved. We have an opportunity here to save people before they lose it all in the manner some of us have.

I could never be homeless, right?

Matt from One Step Away.
Matt from One Step Away.

Although we at One Step Away write sometimes about poems and stuff like our ambitions, I believe it’s more important to paint a picture in our writing about who we were before we became homeless and show the human aspect involved. We have an opportunity here to save people before they lose it all in the manner some of us have.

We can turn One Step Away into a monthly warning manual about how easy it is to lose it all in a blink. Not just the stories of our lives and life experiences, but also the ones of those people we’ve met who can’t write and or don’t have a voice to have their story told, some who worked steady jobs for years and have stacked money and paid off their properties and think that being homeless is a problem they will never face, but unfortunately did. People are not born homeless. They somehow, some time in their lives, had some bad luck.

That is why I like One Step Away, because a lot of us have hit rock bottom, which is no secret. The real secret is how many homeless people at one time may have been very well off. We used to ride around on our high horses with our noses up in the air not even glancing down to realize the whole foundation of our finances, lives and everything we lived for was slowly being eaten by figurative termites. We once had everything, which can create a fog ... and by the time it cleared we were sleeping in abandoned houses, begging for money, sleeping in parks, and, for many of us, we were left light years after it was too late to save ourselves, wondering what happened.

When I became homeless it was with my fianceé. We did not know there was such a thing as a couples shelter. We had not slept apart from each other in separate beds, let alone houses, for 10 years and we were not about to start now. Thus we began our nightmarish ordeal of sleeping in abandoned homes and on sidewalks. I do not wish that on my worst enemy.

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One instant I had a great job and I was in college and doing good. I had no interest in drugs; I swore I would never have to deal with this kind of problem. At 26 I became injured in a bad accident. A doctor I trusted gave me Oxycontin. It was basically government heroin, I later found out, which was actually more pure then the stuff they had on the streets. I gave my girlfriend some to help with cramps; the next thing I knew my soul was gone. My life was being controlled by somebody else. Two years later we lost everything and did stuff that I can never forgive myself for, just to stay high.

The love between us got us into rehab and clean. Now we are slowly gaining family trust back and we finally, thanks to One Step Away, have our own housing. Thank you, Philadelphia. Your donations have made me a new, improved human who will never forget your kindness. 

About this blog
One Step Away is Philadelphia's street newspaper, produced and distributed by people experiencing homelessness. To donate, go to http://osaphilly.org Reach One at kevinr@RHD.ORG.

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