Homeless but not Broken
When I tell people that I live in a homeless shelter, they often respond with comments
such as: “I'm so sorry for you,” “It must be terrible for you.” Then when I let people know that
we sleep in tents next to a sewer plant, behind U Haul, they are shocked. However, for the first
time in my life I feel safe and secure at Camp Hope. For me to feel safe and secure, I need to
know I am protected, taken care of, watched over, and comforted. It's been a long, burdensome
journey to this place of refuge.
Long before I arrived at Camp Hope, I arrived at my first foster home. Since my mom
couldn't take care of me, the State decided that a more nurturing place for me would be a loving,
caring foster home with mature, protective adults. Those who promote the foster care system
paint the perfect picture of bonding and love. For me, the foster system was a cruel, abusive,
broken system. Not all children brought up in the foster system are abused, neglected and thrown
away. Some children thrive in foster homes. However, that was not my story. Having been
abused and thrown away like a piece of garbage, never did I feel protected, comforted or valued.
Instead, I felt betrayed, confused and angry.
I never realized how broken the foster care system was for me until I became an adult
dealing with mental illness, confusion and drug addiction. Once again, the State stepped in to
help me. This time, I was admitted into Bridges Comprehensive Mental Health Hospital where I
received a diagnosis of Borderline Personality Disorder, severe depression, anxiety, and PTSD. I
also received numerous prescriptive drugs and therapy. I still didn't feel safe and secure. Instead,
I felt restless, and for the next few years, I wandered around trying to find love in all the wrong
places. For me, once again, the State and their profound wisdom let me down.
I couldn't seem to find a place I fit in; I began to wonder if I should be around at all. My
self-esteem plummeted because there was nowhere else to go, no one to trust and nothing to hold
onto. About five months ago I arrived at Camp Hope, a homeless encampment. I was penniless,
confused, and uncertain of my future. At first, I thought Camp Hope was just another barrier, like
the foster system and Comprehensive Mental Health. Instead, it has become a place of refuge for
me, my pets, and my fiancé.
Camp Hope is more than a place to sleep, have a shower, and receive a meal. It is a
community, a family: not like the dysfunctional families I grew up in. Our people at Camp Hope
may be broken people, but they are caring and helpful. No foster system or state Mental Health
Hospital can provide the safety and security, and care that I feel at Camp Hope.
Camp Hope -
I am truly grateful for i everything you have
provided me within this last year. Thank you for bringing me out of the darkness and off of the "River” . I was lost for a while, not giving a crap about anyone, especially myself. Today
I have hope for a better, brighter future with my family. Thanks again,
love always, Rachel Anna fields.
Thank y'all for everything the staff and residents were amazing I'm glad God sent me y'all's way.
Holly aka Caroline