No one plans to become homeless.
It’s not something that usually happens slowly after years of “bad decisions.”
BRETT LAUREN employs women from local homeless shelters to give them an opportunity to earn money, but also learn marketable skills in the manufacturing industry.
The time we spend together is more than “work time.”
It’s also a time for connection, to share stories, and to support each other.
The strength of these women inspires me every single day.
So here are a few things they want people to know about what it’s really like being homeless.
- We’re not all addicts.
Yes, some people are homeless because they have a drug addiction, or they’re alcoholics. For a lot of us, that’s not the case. We are domestic abuse survivors. We are widows. We got the shaft in a messy divorce and all we ended up with was a car. Please don’t assume we’re prioritizing drugs over our own wellbeing. So many of us want to get back on the right path.
2. We’re still human beings.
Once you’re homeless, that’s all anyone sees you as. People treat it like a disease like if they look us in the eye they’re catch something. It’s hard to be treated like you’re invisible. Please know, the last thing we want to do is ask you for money. Each one of us has a story, and we deserve to be acknowledged even if we’re on the street.
3. It’s really hard to find a job.
When you don’t have a permanent address, it’s nearly impossible to get a job. Even with connections, people start asking a lot of questions if they find out you’re homeless. If you do get a job, the position is probably going to be part-time and very few hours. Not enough to make rent.
4. It’s really hard to keep a job.
The emotional and mental challenge of being homeless takes its toll. Sometimes when we’re working. Most employers don’t have a lot of grace or understanding of what we’re going through. That’s why we need more places that specifically employ homeless people so we don’t lose the one thing we have going for us when things get overwhelming.
5. Sickness is a real threat to our life.
When you get the flu or a cold, you can cozy up on a bed or couch. We don’t always have that luxury. We can’t take time to heal because we’re fighting for our lives every day. That also impacts whether or not we can hold down a job. Because if you’re showing up to work sick, they send you home and your hours get cut down.
6. We didn’t do this to ourselves.
Most of us are homeless because we left somewhere that was unsafe, we became homeless to save our own life. Or suddenly a boyfriend, husband, sibling, or parent who was supporting us financially passes away. Or we get sick and can’t work and we’re left with bills we can’t pay. There’s so much more going on that people don’t think about when they see us asking for money.
7. Only the strong survive.
So often, those with the emotional strength to do what’s necessary to survive are the ones who do. Physical strength is one thing, but it takes emotional stamina to do whatever you have to do to keep yourself alive. It becomes a serious emotional battle based on psychology.
These stories are often overlooked or ignored because we don’t want to believe this is the reality some people face. But it is.
Because of our partnership with local shelters, I get to see the growth and transformation these women go through while they’re working for Brett Lauren. They keep me motivated to share their story and inspire support from other people.
When you buy a piece of BRETT LAUREN jewelry, you’re validating the stories of these women. You’re supporting their education and assimilation back into society.