We met Belinda just in front of City Hall in Philadelphia, she approached us asking if we had any spare change. I told her that we didn’t have any change but that she could have everything that was in the bag that we had with us. I then explained what my blog Naming the Homeless is and what our mission is, after I finished briefing her we asked if she would be willing to partake in an interview that would result in the sharing of her story. She agreed and we launched into our questions.
Belinda became homeless because she was on drugs and drinking alcohol. Her bad habits got so bad that eventually she couldn’t pay the bills. She said, “They evicted me. Changed the locks on the doors.”
Addiction is something that Belinda stills struggles with but she is on her way to recovery. She still indulges in drugs and alcohol “every now and then” but has been reaching out for help and is hopeful for a full recovery.
Belinda regularly attends A.A. meetings and and drug rehabilitation centers where she does detoxes. She believes that these resources are helping her and will continue to utilize them.
Belinda has been Homeless for two years now and has been in and out of shelters. When asked if she liked staying in shelters she replied, “I really want my own home.”
Although she had attempted to join many shelters she was not a fan of the way they run their businesses. She claimed that their are, “too many rules.”
“At the shelters you have to do what they say to do, come in when they say to come in, when you leave you have to be back by a certain time…” She prefers the streets over all of the rules that come along with staying at the shelters, this way her free will is not restricted.
She also emphasized that the wait to get into shelters is ridiculously time consuming, saying, “You have to wait a long time.” She explained to us that they open at seven a.m. and close around four p.m. She usually isn’t assigned a case worker until around two or three p.m. so she has to wait there all day.
When asked what the hardest part of homelessness is Belinda replied, “When you have to do to sleep at night. And when you need to find something to eat.” She does not receive a lot of help from passersby on the streets of Philadelphia but from time to time someone will stop and offer her their assistance.
Unfortunately, that was all the time that Belinda had to offer us. She was trying to find someone who had a bus token or would spare the money that it would cost for her to travel to her sisters house, where she planned on staying for the night. Even though she had to cut our interview short she agreed to stay to take a photo and thanked us twice before we parted ways.
We sincerely hope that Belinda made it safely to her sisters that night and that she remains as hopeful and positive as she is now during the rest of her recovery.