"I go to Bass Pro Shop to see the fish, and see all these people walking in there with families and I go, you know, they have homes to go to and I don't. When they leave here they have got somewhere to go. You don't know what it's like to be penniless , and most don't even know how people get on the streets, they pre-judge. They think all homeless people are lowlifes, but they are not. I used to work at Marine Corp Financing...I mean you can, it can , I mean you can, it can turn on you in a New York second. I never thought it would happen to me in a million years., but it did. That's how fast life can change."
I’m from Freeman MO. A so-called friend brought me to Springfield MO - she was supposed to help me get back on my feet. And the night before she was just fine, and the next day she said “Get out of my house”. So someone brought me down to the Missouri Hotel. All of my luggage and everything. I’ve been in Springfield since May 2012. I was on the streets for 14 months.
Things are going pretty good right now. I have an advocate that is really helping me. Her name is Judy. She has went out of her way to help my boyfriend and I get an apartment. She’s been a lot of help. She literally picked me out of the crowd at the Veteran’s Affairs - that’s how Judy found out about me. I felt there’s no hope, you know? And she said, “come on Jamie, please, there is hope”. So I began to believe it.
Right now I work at the Clarion Hotel. I’m a housekeeper. But I’m not 30 years old anymore - I need to find another job. So I’m trying to find another one, but meantime keep this job. It got me off the streets - that’s how I have to look at it.
I would have to say the hardest part of being homeless was having to keep track of all your stuff. You can only have so much. You carry it all on your back. Or I had a duffle bag on wheels… you have to pull all of your stuff with you all of the time. Sitting out there in the cold - I mean, I had Safe to Sleep, I had a place to go. It’s still not like you can come home, and have all this stuff, and go to the bedroom and throw it in there - I’ll take care of that later. You can’t do that as a homeless person. You have to keep all of your belongings around you. It’s not easy being out there.
In reality, I never thought it would happen to me in a million years. And being homeless can happen just like that.