Jessie’s Story: What It’s Like Being Homeless

– April 2019 –

Jessie has experienced a lot of instability in her life.

She was in foster care for a year as a child, moved several times with her mom, and stayed in a shelter at age 17. But she always had a home. Until the shelter exited her into homelessness at age 18.

“I’ve been homeless for four years now.”

Jessie currently lives in Port Orchard. She and her boyfriend Stephen are working hard to provide a home for their young daughter, Violet. But the weight of being homeless is constant. “People turn us away all the time. They think we’re no good.” Jessie and Stephen have been working with a Coffee Oasis case manager to find housing. She articulates well the challenges they face on a daily basis.

“People don’t understand how hard it is to get a job, especially when you’re homeless.

Even if you could get a job, it’s hard when you don’t know where you’re sleeping that night. Sometimes we have to stay up all night to make sure no one messes with us, and that makes it hard to go to work. Even studio apartments now are $1,000 a month. And you don’t just get a really nice paying job right away.” Jessie and Stephen have income, but working their way up to affording current market rent is daunting. Living on the streets is also incredibly draining and distracts from working on long-term goals. The last four years have given Jessie new appreciation for the small things in life.

“Being homeless you learn not to take things for granted.

I used to waste food, and now I’m not proud of that at all. I don’t take it for granted now. When you are homeless, you don’t have a car, or a chance at shelter every night. You don’t have blankets every night. You have to rough it on the concrete in the cold. You don’t always have friends you can go to. That’s the hardest.” Jessie has found friends at the Coffee Oasis. She now has people to go to for help. We invite you to be part of that group of friends and provide support and hope for homeless youth!

YOU can help youth like Jessie get off the streets.

$50 provides one night in the Oasis Youth Shelter.