This Too Shall Pass

author/source: Joanne Paul-Joassainte

Joanne Paul-JoassanteI am currently homeless because I recently divorced my husband. Due to the high costs of market rent in Massachusetts, I was unable to pay rent by myself. Initially, I lived with various family members and friends but eventually, I ended up at Rosie’s Place shelter.

Anyone can become homeless- even YOU can become homeless! You could get divorced and not be able to afford market rent by yourself. You could get sick and incur massive medical bills/expenses. You could suffer a serious injury and become addicted to pain medication. Or you could substitute other drugs or alcohol to ease the pain. Unfortunately, you may become a drug addict or alcoholic. Your company could downsize and you could be laid off from the job that you had for over twenty years. It can be difficult to find employment that compares in salary to your former job. Ultimately you are evicted from your home because you fall behind in your bills and rent/mortgage. Any of these scenarios can happen to you.

Have you ever stopped on the streets and said hello to a homeless person? The next time you see a homeless person on the streets, I hope you are compassionate towards this individual. Maybe you could stop and smile. Say hello. Ask their name. Inquire about their day. Maybe this human being will feel comfortable enough to reveal to you how they became homeless. You may discover that this person’s life has a lot of similarities to your life. Many homeless people are college graduates and had great careers. Beautiful homes. Loving families and children. Money. Cars. Excellent health. Goals. They probably never dreamed that they would be broke and homeless. I can guarantee that this was definitely not on their bucket list.

It’s easy to get frustrated looking for affordable housing opportunities. Being a guest at Rosie’s Place has been a tremendous blessing in my life. The staff and volunteers at Rosie’s Place have provided me with a wonderful place to stay, housing resources, educational/social classes, meals, and the opportunity to meet so many other strong, beautiful women. Rosie’s has helped me stay focused and positive during my homeless journey.

Rosies PlaceI know this is a temporary situation. This too shall pass! I am homeless… not hopeless!

Joanne is homeless but, as she says, not “hopeless.”  She worked part-time at the Women’s Craft Cooperative at Rosie’s Place, where guests create jewelry and gift items. She has slept at Rosie’s Place overnight shelter and others in Boston and continues to focus on finding housing and staying positive.