My name is Kimberley, and I have a daughter that is four months old. I first became homeless in early 2008 due to the numerous complications of my pregnancy and was unable to work. I had been ordered to rest by doctors, leaving me without income. Homelessness was a foreign concept to me I was and am still very ashamed. I cried and often asked myself “how did I get there, how did I go from comfortable to here?”

My daughter was born premature at 31 weeks and stayed in the hospital for two months. During this time I made several attempts to obtain help from DTA but they just gave me the run around. I made several trips to their office with my bags packed only to be turned away every time. Finally I looked to Greater Boston Legal Services only to be informed that their hands were tied until my daughter was released from the hospital. Upon receiving that news I felt belittled and ashamed……tears in my eyes and my head down avoiding all eye contact. I ended up staying with numerous different friends, one night here, two nights there until my child was released from the hospital two months later in April.

Because my daughter having been born premature encountered several medical problems, I was expected to have her in my arms and be at the DTA office the day of her release in spite of the fact that it was freezing cold and I could anticipate a full days wait for placement.

I arrived at the DTA office at 730 am and didn’t leave until 4:30 pm, when I was placed in a motel room. I stayed there for about a week before transferring to a family shelter. Being In this situation I am very embarrassed and cry so often. I felt like a loser that I was unable to provide a suitable and stable environment for my daughter with all of her medical needs.

I found it so painful as a mother that my daughters doctors had given me several documents that stated that she should not go into shelter…and here I was being forced into that situation because I had no choice. Needless to say being in a congregate shelter she continued to encounter more and more medical problems. We spent more time at the hospital than we did in the shelter “our home”.

This was such a difficult and scary experience that I was unable to enjoy motherhood for the very first time. I truly felt as a disappointment to my self and my daughter.

As for my question “how did I get here?” I began to realize that these situations happen to the best of us. We all experience hardship whether it be emotionally, mentally, financially, these things happen and no child should have to suffer as a result. No child should ever have to experience homelessness. Our children not unlike yours are the children of tomorrow and they all deserve a place to call home.

Although I greatly appreciate the benefits that you receive while in shelter such as immediate access to a child care voucher and access to day care, I wish I could have avoided this whole nightmare. If I had been able to access an MRVP or housing subsidy my child and I never would have had to go through this mental disaster you call homelessness . Because we live in shelter does mean that we are bums. We are in fact people with goals, who want what is best for our children.

With this said …..please support MRVP, and housing subsidies, along with easier less hectic system when it comes to accessing shelter. Our voice may mean a lot, however yours means more! End homelessness…thank you.