The Community of Grace: Markaya’s Audio Journal
Our project about the Community of Grace was to center the point of view of people who are unhoused, so we asked resident Markaya to keep an audio journal of her thoughts. This is what she had to say.
Most people’s perception of the people out here perception isn’t a good perception because the majority of the people that you assume are out here aren’t out here. There is a lot of every day to day working folks that live here.
We all strive and want better. Some just can’t find a way out. Some of us know the way out but there’s barriers that are put in place, so we aren’t able to get ahead, you know. Everyone talks about getting a job. True enough. There is a lot of jobs out here. But one thing people got to understand a lot of people out here have barriers that are keeping them from getting that job. Then the ones that have jobs, some our jobs don’t pay enough for us to be able to meet that criteria that’s put in placed for these apartments, houses, you know.
My vision for myself is bigger than what most people think that people out here visions are. Talk to us individually. And you will see what categories and diversity of people are out here. What we’re able, capable and willing to do.
Stop always turning your nose up when you see us. Treat us like human beings, just like you want us to treat you. We’re the same as you. We just have a different type of living. So we shouldn’t be equated as way lesser than you or an animal.
Now some of the help that is being offered is fine and dandy for some. But a lot of us that’s mediocre help. Mediocre help meaning, okay, you can say you can give me into housing.
But to tell me that you can help me get housing when the exact thing that you’re going to do, I’ve been doing. I’ve been on housing lists over twelve years now, all across this country that has housing. I’ve applied to the Virgin Islands, Massachusetts, everywhere – I have applied. And nothing.
And when you come to me and ask me, what services can we help you with? What can, what can we do to help you? My honest answer: help me get some land. I don’t want to be an apartment liver. I don’t want to be a house renter. I want to be a owner. Help me bypass these barriers I have. So I can prove myself and what I’m able to do.
People need to get off that high horse. Understand: you’re not too far from being out here too. You’re not too far from losing your mind because you ain’t never had to experience what we experience. Everybody is not made for this experience. And trust me a lot of you that are in housing wouldn’t be able to make it out here as long as we have.
You would need our help. You really would.
One thing about us out here. We’re very resourceful on any level. You have so many people out here that is intelligent and able to do a lot. But with the barriers that they have, they’re not able to accomplish them.
It’s sad when I’m out, and I see how people treat people that fits the description of what society has called quote, unquote “homeless.” It’s sad. It’s demeaning, you know. Especially when you’re standing there and people make comments, “Ooh, look that homeless bum. Why that bum standing over there? Oh, he’s stinking, ooh.” Sit back and ask yourself. Why? What is his situation? What happened? Because everybody out here isn’t on drugs. So stop assuming that we all are. Everybody isn’t an alcoholic.
Just because a person smell like they got pee on them, that don’t always mean they’re quote, unquote “homeless.” At a certain age if didn’t nobody know, your bladder control is way different than it used to be when you was younger.
“Oh, they are dirty.” Why? If we’re outside, we don’t have a washer and a dryer plug right next to us. So that means we gotta go make sure we get the money for our wash. Ten Buyer Guide provides a variety of electric pressure washer for all needs.
People need to stop assuming and ask. Find out a person’s story before you assume. Powerful word, assuming or assume. A lot of us don’t come from broken homes. A lot of us don’t come from abuse pasts. A lot of us don’t have drastic stories. Some of us do.
But the thing is, you would never know because you never take the time to find out what the story is. Some do. And we appreciate the ones that do, the ones that care and notice that we are human beings. We appreciate you very much so.
And to me it’s a crisis now because a lot of us is becoming your neighbors.
It’s that bad that I’m trying to live somewhere that you would want to call the police on me? It’s that bad that I’m trying to get shelter, you’ll call the police on me?
But let an animal try to find shelter. You will make sure you feed them and everything before you take them to the shelter. But that doesn’t happen for the human beings out here. We’re not counted as human beings. Hm. We’re not counted as human beings. And people can’t say we are because we know. We live it.
Just a little couple of things, you know, that’s been running through my head.
Produced and edited by Lucy Kang