Marvell: I was hit by an RTD bus and couldn’t work for two weeks so I became homeless. After we became homeless, we were struggling for a while. We were harassed by the police, other homeless people. We had a trailer house in North Boulder, livin’ life to the fullest, but it can happen to anyone. That’s why we’re here now. I’m just happy that there’s two of us. I’m pursuing a lawsuit for compensation for my accident.
Mary: It could happen to anyone. Your mom. Anyone. It’s very difficult — especially when it gets cold. People mess with you or cops tell you you have to leave. It sucks. It makes you want to do drugs or makes you want to drink.
Marvell: On a day-to-day level, it’s kinda rough. Most of us have families. They’re strapped, too.
Mary: Even if they’re not strapped, I don’t wanna depend on my children to help me get back on my feet. I wanna do it on my own, but it’s not easy to do out here. I had a job, a damn good job, but I ended up getting let go because I couldn’t make it on time every day.
Marvell: It’s towards the end of the month that we have to steal food. When our food stamps run out, we do what we have to do to eat, unfortunately.
Mary: We had a camp but it got ransacked. Other camps have been burnt down.
Marvell: It didn’t used to be like that in Boulder. But since Meth has got here, it’s gotten real bad. Why is Boulder allowing this to happen and when are they gonna clean it up?
Mary: I’ve had to fly a sign, which is very humiliating. This experience is very humbling. I used to look at homeless people — I mean this is the first time I’ve been homeless. I raised my children on my own, I’ve had my own home, and I’ve lost it. Now I know it can happen to anybody. But to fly a sign and have somebody yell at you, “get a job” — I mean, if they would take a second to know that it’s not that easy to get a job when you’re homeless.
Homelessness in America:
But if you take anything, from this, don’t take for granted what you have. You can go in your house and take your shoes off, take a shower, or sit down and go to the bathroom. Wipe your butt. It’s horrible not to be able to do that anymore. It can happen to anybody — don’t take for granted what you have.
Marvell: Contemplating suicide. When it gets really rough. It’s kinda a reality sometimes when it’s freezing outside, you can’t call anybody, can’t go anywhere. You’re kinda stuck. You don’t wanna go to jail, but that’s an alternative. Might as well go to jail — there’s food to eat, a roof over your head. We haven’t given up yet. Won’t give up. But sometimes you really want to. Not an easy life for sure. On a daily basis, it’s not a walk in the park.
What is home:
Mary: Home is where your heart is. For so many different people, it’s a nice beautiful house. I don’t even care about that anymore. I’d live in a shed, as long as there’s a roof over my head. But as long as he’s by my side, and I can see my children when I’m able to, that is where it is. Home is where the heart is, but it’s also difficult to not have a home. Right now I want a home so bad.
Marvell: Home is right here. I protect and I love my home. This is together part of my beating heart. I will do anything to own a physical home, but if you ask me where my home is, it’s right here.
Mary: The solution is to find the people who really want to get a job, bust their ass, and get out. ‘Cause a lot of people don’t. For the ones that are really trying, give them a little more of a push. A hand. That’s all we ask for. That’s it.