Eighteen year old B sat down one evening in the privacy of her own bedroom to write a note. With her pen posed above a notebook of ruled paper, she thought back over the last two years. During that time much had happened.
B’s mom had moved her, her younger sister and her grandmother from their home in New York to Georgia. Mom thought she had found her dream job, but it quickly became obvious that things weren’t going as well as she had been hoped. Mom lost that job and couldn’t find another one.
That was when more bad things began to happen. First the car was repossessed, and then the family of four was told they had to leave their apartment. They moved from one extended stay hotel to another until mom was finally able to find work and save enough money for the deposit required to rent another apartment, only to lose that job too, though through no fault of her own.
The cycle of being jobless and homeless repeated itself over and over again, and with each move the family found themselves in poorer living conditions, with fewer and fewer personal possessions, and further behind in every bill they owed.
B became increasingly embarrassed to tell anyone where she lived. It had become too difficult to remember an address that was sure to change soon anyway. When she filled out forms she simply skipped over the space for an address and left it blank. She never invited friends from school to visit her, and she made no friends while living at the hotels.
To make matters worse, B’s grandmother suddenly died, and the already weighty burden on her mom’s shoulders only grew heavier. At her wits end, mom turned to Gwinnett County’s social services for help, which soon resulted in a referral to the Salvation Army’s program for the homeless, Home Sweet Home.
B looked about her bedroom, smiled, and began to write.
“It feels so good to be a normal teenager, to be able to talk on the phone, have my privacy, and sleep alone on my own bed. Now I can put a real address on my school paperwork. Thank you, Salvation Army, for helping my mom and keeping my sister and me from being homeless.”
With her letter finished, B turned out the light and climbed into bed, knowing just where she would wake up tomorrow – in the place she now called home.