When asked about how close she came to homelessness, Sandra Portz said, “I felt really close.” She arrived in her new town of Bellingham, WA, newly divorced with $500 in the bank which would only last about a month, and no job. She was scared, because she did not think she was savvy enough to be on the streets!
In retrospect, she realizes that she is not in the same position as people living on the streets, because she had a support network of family and friends. She feels very lucky because she got a job selling pianos, and her friends and family helped out financially so things did work out for her. Interestingly enough, she moved right next to the homeless shelter, and had more experiences close to homelessness.
Her experiences helped her empathize with the embarrassment and shame of falling on hard times. When you have no address, it is very hard to get a job. She saw how much homeless people appreciate when you acknowledge them on the street. Just don’t push a conversation.
Sandra vulnerably admits that she use to think people weren’t trying. Because of her own close call, she felt “like it could be me!”
As a concerned citizen in Nevada County, she wants people to know that homeless people are not criminals.
Listen to her story on KVMR Storycatchers!