‘I feel like a piece of cardboard’: A life on the streets

How are we feeling? We are at the worst-case scenario, where unfortunately nobody left, nobody left. We have had no recreational opportunity, only work opportunities that are way out of our reach. Because of…

‘I feel like a piece of cardboard’: A life on the streets

How are we feeling? We are at the worst-case scenario, where unfortunately nobody left, nobody left. We have had no recreational opportunity, only work opportunities that are way out of our reach. Because of that, we are losing hope. Every day is a struggle. But despite that, we never complain because we know we are making a difference.

[We are] all hoping that things will get better, that we can go back to living the life we knew before. For me, a lot of time I think about a woman named Vernette, who is from Scarborough — her son was working at the appliance store. She had a great life, because of the boyfriend who she was involved with. The boyfriend died, and she fell into poverty. At that point, you are ready to give up. But Vernette did not, no way, no how. She insisted on trying to stay positive. And for that, I’m grateful.

“One person just stepped up, and they gave the house away. The man was homeless himself, and he didn’t care about whatever the council was offering. He just went to the bank and handed them the keys.” — Roberto Caparros

Money is not even part of my vocabulary anymore. It’s about survival. I need to survive. It’s been that way since the beginning of the semester. I need to find a roof over my head and eat good food. Before that, I was working at my family’s restaurant. And since the beginning of the semester, I have not been working. I’m not doing anything because I’m not made of money. This is what happened to me.

[The] boyfriend who died, I couldn’t continue working for him. I really don’t feel like I did anything. To be honest, I feel like I’m being used for me. I feel like a piece of cardboard, a part of someone’s body. I never feel loved. I feel as if I’m going from one room to another. To me, the girlfriend of a drug dealer, is like the Cinderella character. He is someone who feeds me and who brings me happiness.

The truth is, it’s just not there right now. It’s not like anything I’ve ever experienced. I have kids that live at home. I have houses that I can rent out, and I haven’t been able to do that. Things are starting to get really difficult for me, because I can’t work. I’m not making money. So I find myself in a situation where I am forced to go to people’s homes to find housing.

Sometimes, we cannot sleep at night because of all the people calling us. … A lot of people are coming up to us asking for help. We have to try and help them out. We have to try and help people out in order to pay our rent. If I could go back to my house, I would. I really wanted to get the house, but I could not afford it. So, I didn’t get it, and it’s the saddest thing I have had to deal with since then. There is no closure, no feeling of feeling like someone is helping you out. If I can make things a little better, then that’s what I want to do. I’m not angry about it. I understand that I’m going to have to go out and try to make ends meet.

I’m not saying this is the only path, but I just want to be in a situation where I can go back to being a kid. I’m not angry about it, I just want to be able to go back to being a child. I used to be a kid; I used to make friends and we would always play games. I’m not the person I used to be. So, it’s a step back, for sure. But this is my reality, so I just have to deal with it.

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