Seeking Some Level of Normalcy

“Just because you’re homeless doesn’t mean you have to surrender humanity.”

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.

Transcript for Seeking Some Level of Normalcy

Speaker 1: It’s about, I think, a lot about pride. Nobody wants to be seen as someone who can’t make it on their own. We’re all human beings, and we all have the same strengths and weaknesses within ourselves, so you just have to be willing to look at yourself and acknowledge that, and say, ‘I can’t do this alone.’

Speaker 2: We would sometimes sit in a parking lot in our vehicle at night and just talk all night long like, you know, ‘Where are we going to go? What are we going to do?’ And it’s like, well, we didn’t know that there was anybody out there that was willing to help us.

S1: I think we were always seeking some, some level of normalcy, you know? Finding opportunities to be—to look like everybody else, you know? You don’t want people to see what’s going on.

S2: During the day, we would spend a lot of time at the parks here in Valparaiso and Lake Station—they have a nice Riverview Park—but most of the parks at ten p.m. close up. Yeah, you’re constantly moving from place to place. Lot of times on hot days, we would spend our days at the library—

S1: Air conditioning.

S2: —you know, where they had air conditioning and a bathroom facility there.

S1: And we both loved to read.

S2: Yeah, we both loved to read. Yeah, nighttime was the worst. And, of course, you know, you don’t really have that many belongings, but, you know, what you do have, I mean, you know, you’ve got everything crammed in your vehicle, and, you know, even sleeping a lot of times — we would park out away from kind of the store, because, you know, we didn’t want to, you know, interfere—

S1: Be in the way.

S2:—we didn’t want to be in the way. You know, and then sometimes it’s hard to sleep because you know, you’re just not sure of your surroundings, and you don’t really feel that safe. And during that time, I think that’s most of our resources were making sure, you know, we have gas in the vehicle so we can move if we have to, we have food to eat, which was difficult with no cooking facilities. Everything had to be pre-prepared, and, of course, you know, that’s more costly, too. Hygiene. For me, that was the worst part. Restroom facilities, and hygiene. Of course, it was summertime when we were homeless, which, I think, we were fortunate because we could go up to the park, and we could go swimming, and we kept lots of empty gallon jugs—

S1: We would help each other.

S2: —and we would fill them, fill them with water. And like I said, it was summertime, so it wasn’t so bad, you know, having to wash your hair with cold water, but—

S1: I’d get to dump a bucket of water over her head.

S2: Right, you know? And, yeah, we would kind of go to the park in a secluded area, and we would, you know, like bathe each other, and watch and make sure nobody was coming, you know, so we could, you know, help each other do that. And, uh…

S1: Just because you’re homeless doesn’t mean you have to surrender humanity.

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