September 26, 2012

Carli is a sin­gle mom of two boys from the Salem/Keizer area. Carli has been on her own since she was 16, main­tain­ing and hold­ing jobs. She is incred­i­bly intel­li­gent and resilient. She has sur­vived domes­tic vio­lence and has fought for her kids.

How­ever, Carli has chronic pain from per­ma­nent  back injuries and some­times finds it dif­fi­cult to wake up in the morn­ings. She used to be a home­owner and had all of the mate­r­ial things needed in life. She lost her job and her home, and ended up expe­ri­enc­ing home­less­ness with her son. Despite these hard­ships, she remains opti­mistic and pays atten­tion to how she presents herself.

When try­ing to access ser­vices, she found that because she didn’t “look”  home­less or phys­i­cally appear to need help, she expe­ri­enced a lot of judg­ment from ser­vice providers. Because Carli is well spo­ken and presents her­self pro­fes­sion­ally, she felt that ser­vice providers assumed she was try­ing to take advan­tage of the sys­tem. She found that most ser­vices were reluc­tant to help her, if at all. These expe­ri­ences have deeply affected her, lead­ing to feel­ings of frus­tra­tion, depres­sion, and negativity.

Carli is going to school to be an attor­ney, her ulti­mate life goal, but has found that start­ing from noth­ing is harder than she thought. Access­ing social ser­vices is dif­fi­cult for her because she does not fit into the cat­e­gory of “des­per­ate need” even though she does. She just wants to be treated as an indi­vid­ual with a unique story that is heard. She would like to get the help she needs with­out judgment.

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  • The training taught me to “manage what I have better and be more aware of the stress level it causes to not be able to meet ‘your’ needs.” (Poverty Awareness Training participant)