Being Homeless My Struggles and Hardships
By “Tyanna” 6th Grade

Hello, my name is “Tyanna” and one of my biggest challenges is being homeless.  Being homeless is a big challenge to me because my family and I do not have any money for us to get on the bus or to get a house.  The only things we can afford are clothes and shoes.  We have to get tokens from our school in order to get on the bus.  When my brothers and sisters and I come home late we are not able to eat dinner.  We have to eat Bowl of Noodles and other instant ramen noodles for dinner.  This makes me feel sad because every time we are late we always to eat noodles and it never fills us up.

Another reason being homeless is a big challenge is because we have been moving all over the place.  For example, my family and I have lived with other people like my aunt and her seven children, my other aunt and her four kids, and my grandmother.  Living with other people sometimes made me feel sad because when we lived with other people we had to sleep on the floor.  My mother also had to buy our own food but sometimes the people we were living with would ask my mom for some food.  Now we live in a shelter and it took us 10 years to live in a shelter because we have been living with other people.  The name of the shelter is called DC General.

DC General is one of the largest shelters in DC.  It has five floors and a lot of people.  Almost all the rooms are filled.  In DC General we have an activity room and they have lots of different activities for us.  On Mondays they have tutoring night, on Tuesdays and Thursdays they have play time and on Wednesdays they have teen night.  My family live in one room, my mother, baby sister who is almost two years old, my brother, younger sister and me.  It is frustrating living in one room because my brother and my sister are throwing trash by my bed and my mom makes me clean it up.  There is no privacy!

How do I need your support?

I need your support by helping us get our own house or by helping us raise money to get a house.  We also need your support by praying that my mom get a house and she get a job.  If my mother had a job we would be able to have a house.  If we had a house I can have my own room and my brothers and sisters would not be able to throw trash at my bed.  If we had a house, we’d be able to eat our own food, and eat what we want to eat.  That is very good because the people in DC General make nasty food (sometimes).  One time I was eating meatloaf and the meat was not even done.  When I bit into it, it tasted nasty!  The only reason we need your support is because no one is trying to help us, except my mom’s boyfriend and the shelter people.  Also my mom’s baby keep catching pink eye, and now I caught the pink eye.  We need a house before we catching something else like a very bad cold, or something even worse.

How am I going to address it?

This means a lot to me and I really need a house because people are picking on me about living in a shelter.  We are trying to go to a new school but we cannot without a car or a home.  Being homeless for me and my family has been a really big struggle.  When we are at school, people just come up to me and say, “Tyanna, you live in a shelter!” and then I have to respond, “No, and who told you that?” and I have to deal with all the rumors that float around school which is very inappropriate and hard on me and my family.  It makes me feel bad because now the whole school knows.  It is really embarrassing.  They make fun of us real bad.  So now being homeless is a big problem for me.  One thing I need is a prayer.  This is why being homeless is a really big problem for me.

“Tyanna” is a participant in the Homeless Children’s Playtime Project‘s Teen Program at DC General Family Shelter.  She wrote this essay in response to a school assignment asking students to describe a challenge in their lives.