Amanda: “I am homeless. I lost my drivers license, I lost custody of my 8 year old son, and both of my parents died so I have no family. I was a home health aide but I lost that job when I got my DUI. I tried working at low-paying jobs, any kind of job really, but they don’t pay enough for rent and bills. So now I am homeless, and it is scary being a young woman who is homeless. There are a lot ofpredators out here, and I am like a sitting duck. Wherever I go there are people trying to see what I am doing and trying to follow me. They all want a piece of me.
“There are people who say they want to help me get off the street, but they tell me I have to give them something in return, and it’s not money they are after. I have had landlords refuse to rent to me if I wouldn’t have sex with them. They say, ‘How can you possibly want to stay in the situation you are in instead of sleeping with a good guy?’ I would rather freeze to death than sell my dignity to you. I won’t use my body as currency. I have been physically hurt before. A number of times. I carry a pocket knife with me to keep me safe.
“My homeless friends are my family, since I don’t have a family. I love going to the warming center, because I feel safe there. Nobody is trying to get at me there. I also go to churches around here. I go to Wellspring Church and The Church of Grace and Peace and Shore Vineyard Church. I really like Wellspring’s vibe. They have a laser show, and people are moving and singing, ‘God is good!’ and I was like, ‘This is awesome!’ I love music, and I love God.
“I just want to feel safe, and not like a target. People just grab at me and do things to me. I have had people just grabbing me doing anything they want. It’s like my body doesn’t belong to me. It’s been like that since I was a little girl, and I feel like nobody cares and nobody will stand up for me. I just want to feel worthy of love. The ironic thing is, Amanda means, ‘Worthy of Love.’ I just wish I felt like I was worthy of love.”
(Note: If anyone has any way of helping Amanda, I do have a way to contact her. Thank you. ~ Gregory)
~ Toms River