By Jamie Pipes 

I want to talk about how I became homeless, what assistance helped me to improve my condition, and how I am continuing to work and improve. First, I want to say I am now responsible for providing shelter for myself. However, I know now that everything that lead to me to being homeless was the direct result of my decisions. I made decisions based on self gratification which later placed me in a position to be hurt. I wish I could say that I was a victim, but for me that was not the case. I moved from place to place using anyone who allowed me to use them for money, food, or shelter. I have both a legitimate mental illness, and a long history of addictions. Neither of these means I was forced to make the choices I made. I always had the choice to give up or to fight for better. Looking back, I can see that I expected various homeless programs and random people to save me. However, I had given up on myself. By the time I was accepted to stay at Matt’s House, I just didn’t want to sleep on the streets anymore. I really didn’t expect that staying there would help me want better for myself. I thought I was too good to stay at a shelter. The first time I was offered a bed there, I made an excuse about being afraid to be around drugs. So, I ended up moving in with a lady from August to October that ended up stealing my food stamps, possibly claiming me as a dependent on her taxes, and filing disability for me with her as the recipient of the money.

When I was finally able to leave from that horrible situation, I went to the UMC psyche ward to get stable on my medicines again and I was referred to Matt’s House. When I made it to Matt’s House, I was in a stage of substance abuse called “the phenomenon of”. This happened because I had ingested substances for an extended period of time which change my brain structure. Because I had used too many drugs it seemed as if I would die without them. While I was at Matt’s House I continued to use drugs but I always knew that it was the wrong thing to do. The people at the shelter treated me with love and helped me through this very hard struggle. They loved me so much until it motivated me to love myself. They listened and actually cared about what I had to say and what I was going through. The helped me get my confidence and self-esteem back and equipped me with all the resources I needed to move forward with my sobriety. They saw my potential and encouraged me to fight. My success is a struggle but I am working on it.