I was in Rolla Missouri at the age of 28 when I wrote the poem “Drug of Habit” in which was the time I was battling an addiction with a needle, which absorbed so much of my life as I could not recall four years of my life honestly. I was at my lowest in my life, I felt I had nothing to live for as I had by this time lost my mother and custody of my daughter so why not give up as I was a complete failure.

Kimberlee Estrada

Kimberlee Estrada

I then began using a needle to cause myself pain to know I was even alive, I wanted to feel, but one night I was alone and I was so lost but I began to pray to God asking for his help, begging with him, I asked in my prayer that if he would grant me a home of my own I would give my needle addiction up and do what he needed of me.

Within 2 weeks of me praying I saw myself in a hotel awaiting an apartment. I upheld my promise to God and have quit using a needle (3 years clean). I just want to be able to be a voice or someone can relate to and know there is hope for them to continue to push forward, even in the darkness they too can see light.

I was judged daily because of being homeless, made to feel like I shouldn’t even be alive, nor belong, as people were so cruel at times yelling “ get a job,” or you had men proposition you for sexual activities in which I felt so belittled (I was homeless, not a prostitute).

I believe if the community would stop judgment and find a solution to help the homeless. As for women there are no shelters to turn to besides Salvation Army, as well as couples. They do not have a place for couples nor people with animals.

I believe with the funding Columbia has received they can do better to help those in need as well as to provide them the services that are going to help them get into housing, as many homeless have criminal histories in which landlords frown upon. I also found myself homeless again due to the decision of another as my landlord passed away then someone else took over to only throw me out as she raised rent from $500 to $700. I can’t believe that due to another’s decision I am homeless once again.

I’m having difficulties finding a new place of shelter due to my past criminal history and waiting for my disability approval to be able to pay for housing. Individuals should take a step back as if they were in the homeless position, so next time you may feel the urge to yell “ get a job” maybe you should think of their hygiene issues due to being homeless or even the possibility of injuries that they are unable to maintain a job. One thing I can say is homelessness does not discriminate, you could one day be right where I sit.