Hi my name is Jeff
Hi my name is Jeff
I am representing our homeless individuals being their voice hoping you can understand our current homelessness struggles. My homeless story begins back in 2003 I used to work my whole life as a general laborer taking care of myself and my wife and child. My wife later decided to end our marriage for another guy. She left me and our child which had overwhelmed me bringing high levels of stress and depression into my life and somehow the depression manifested into a physical illness affecting my arms in seconds when raised up(like swimmer arm condition)/ hands and feet severe cramping weakness, tingling, burning in my feet making it hard to stand long periods, when I squeeze, push objects with my hands, any repetition movement would cause cramping up instantly having to stop whatever I was doing affecting my job performance and day to day functions making me eventually lose my job. I was a homeowner at the time and I went to the doctors and they believed me to have Multi focal mono Neuropathy with conduction blocks.
They encouraged me to apply for disability so I did but their SSI doctors said different and I was denied benefits. I ended up losing my home to foreclosure in Anderson SC not able to work, and appealed the disability. As a single father I had to go where the help was in Columbia SC the first temp shelter we stayed was alright but they could have had more respect toward us clients, do this, do that or get out mentality. Shortly later was accepted into another temp transitional program around the corner and that was a cold experience them knowing my situation waiting on the appeal decision so 6 months passed(Standard time period for people with kids) I was steady receiving treatment, and focusing on taking care of my child so the day I get my denial letter and informed this organization they told me that my child and I had to leave their program as if I was faking it. (BUT it is really a funding thing) replacing one to the next success or failure you have to go!
So I contacted my child mother and told her she had to take our child to live with her so I experienced homeless being a client with my kid, and being a client without a kid here in Columbia SC. These are 2 different worlds, and being an adult without kids is very rough. I had to sleep in a packed room of men that mostly didn't bathe, loud, and fights constantly were breaking out. I was scared to be honest it was like you see on tv prison shows someone always trying to test you, and get stuff from you. I couldn't handle it so I decided to sleep in my car instead at Walmart parking lot and did that for awhile until my tags expired non payment of insurance it was towed parking in the wrong place having no gas, so I lost my car. I tried to prevent staying away from those temp shelters being bullied but I had to eat and it would get cold so I had no choice.
I started pan handling over time giving up on disability, stealing out of stores and gotten caught getting a criminal record so over time my physical illness drasticly went away to a scale from 10 to 1 same as it appeared out of the blue so I started to apply at the various employers dishwasher, janitor, general laborer and has been gunned down every time trapped in this current cycle. I never used drugs or gotten high so when I applied at the newest temp shelter for adults without kids downtown Columbia for permanent housing program they denied me and countless others help so I been in and out of the other local temp shelters, sleeping under bridges, Finley park, behind businesses at times this has become my life over the last 13 years trying to survive trying to get back up on my feet and haven't seen my child ever since, last I heard NC was where my child was at; all grown up now.
I recently heard about this New 501(c)3 Organization called New Millennium Love Inc they are suppose to be different then all the current homeless services here in Columbia. They truly want to stop our homelessness journey by addressing the issues that are keeping people like me back from living a normal life again. They understand these Employers do not want to hire us homeless in this City of Columbia SC, it's been 13 years for me keeping me stuck in this current cycle and this is what is keeping us from prospering able to take care of ourselves having a higher quality of living. New Millennium Love want to create jobs just for us, focusing on just us, no other so that has restored hope for me again being a homeless individual. They also want to build gated tiny home communities(income based) strictly for us no other giving us the opportunity to have a place to call home again. I almost want to cry, because we are not animals, but are human beings who has fallen down due to life unexpected challenges who we all deserve second/third chances to rise back up.
Some people really don't understand that a lot of us homeless made foolish mistakes but we all do, and especially being young and are older now and wiser and is TIRED, really TIRED of living like this day to day wanting to go back to a normal life and are willing to do whatever necessary to self improve our lives seeking treatment services drugs, drinking, mental health whatever! And will truly embrace this help taking advantage on a positive level being that the current help is more so to feed, and temp sleep over night. not too much more
We would love to get jobs and permanent housing opportunity again getting our lives back in order and able to reconnect with our families being productive citizens. THANK'S FOR LISTENING. JEFF (voice of the adult homeless without kids)