What It’s Like to Be in That Position

“It’s not a healthy way to live. It’s very, very stressful.”

This story is from the Invisible Project, a collaboration between the Welcome Project and Porter County Coalition for Affordable Housing, Housing Opportunities, Gabriel’s Horn, Dayspring Women’s Center, and Porter County Museum.

Hold a Conversation

Can you imagine leading a conversation about this story? Where? With whom? What kinds of questions would you pose? (See How to use the questions for reflection for one approach.) Please email your questions to us or post them in the comment box for our consideration. If you use them in an actual discussion, let us know how the conversation went.

Transcript for What It’s Like to Be in That Position

My son and I just have a one bedroom apartment. But we don’t need much, I mean, he has the bedroom, I sleep in the living room, it’s not a big deal. For four-hundred and seventy three dollars a month we have a home. It’s nice, it’s clean. It’s near things. There’s air conditioning in the summer, there’s heat in the winter. All the basic needs we need. Housing Opportunities helped to make things more affordable for people in my type of position where I’m just receiving social security, disability, which is only twelve hundred dollars a month. It’s hard to live on that.

For me it’s difficult. For me to ask for help, it’s very difficult. Maybe it’s because I was told no, because when I wanted the food stamps and they said, no, I make too much money, and then I think, “Well, maybe I am doing something wrong.” Because twelve-eighty a month is what I get, and I’m not eligible for food stamps, with two people in the house. So what is the poverty level? At the end of the month we are—we have nothing. And we’re waiting for the month to end so we can get paid again for the following month from social security, and it’s not a healthy way to live. It’s stressful, very, very stressful sometimes because there’s mornings that you wake up and think, “I don’t know what I’m going to do for dinner tonight.” And you’re rummaging through your cabinets and you’re pulling things together and making a mishmash of what you have. But sometimes it’s that bad. Sometimes it’s really bad. And thank God for the food pantry, because that’s what I usually do, I usually save it until the end of the month, when things are bad, and then I go and I get something from the shelter that they have there, for food for a week.

I’d be lying if I said no. There were times where I did see that there were too many people that were on food stamps or too many people that were taking things that they shouldn’t rightfully take. I have changed 360 on that. Because I know—I’ve been victimized by it. So I know now that those people that do get the food stamps or do get government housing or section eight, or whatever it may be, get it because they deserve it. Or they’ve earned it, or they’re in a situation where there is no answer. But not sometimes until you go through it do you understand what it’s like to be in that position where there is no other answer. That’s what opened my eyes.