KIM | I want people to know that homelessness doesn’t look a certain way

“As far back as I can remember my dad would beat my mom; break her nose and black eyes and things like that.

We had a family portrait. My dad had beat my mama and made her smile for the camera. 
 
After my mom and dad got divorced my dad broke into our house with a shotgun blew a huge hole through my mom’s bedroom door but had I come out my room he probably would have blown my head off.

Kim and her dad.

I was raised by him to fight. I was always suspended for fighting. He would actually tell me, “if you don’t win, you’re gonna get a whoopin’ when you come home.”
 
I would fight my siblings all the time. I actually took a meat cleaver to one of my sister’s ankles. That’s just what I was used to. 
 
Wow, you’re a little monster. That was your sister.

When my mother passed away I went into a very deep depression. I couldn’t work; I lost my home. I was lost. I had to give up or give it to God and I chose God.

My father reached out to me to live with him. After about a year, there was one month where I couldn’t pay the full amount. That’s when things really started to get bad.

His wife would take the oven racks out of the oven. We would have a battle sometimes with the heater: I would turn it on, she would go in and turn it off. We couldn’t use the water to take baths or showers.

They said they wanted me to get out. One day I picked my daughter up from school. I came back that evening and they had just changed the locks.

I’m calling on my cell phone and banging on the door and ringing in the doorbell. I can see them sitting right in the living room watching TV. They just sat there and ignored us.

I drove to Walmart. In the parking lot I said, ‘we’re just going to have to sleep here. We’re homeless.’
 
I went down to Solano County social services where you can get a motel voucher for 16 days. It was close to the 16th day. 
 
A lady that I had went and looked at an apartment with called me and said that they were going to give me the apartment. This is with no job, no money, no down payment, no anything. 
 
God had to be in the midst of all that because who does that?

I was in the Bible study one night at The Salvation Army. The pastor asked for prayer requests and so I put mine out there.

He had this look on his face like, ‘really, you’re looking for a job? Well, what do you do? What is your background?’

And so I told him and he’s like, ‘hmmm, give me your resume.’

I ended up getting the job here. Mind you, I had moved in that apartment with nothing — no income or anything — in May and June 3rd I had a job.

Again, that was God just aligning everything up for us to be there. 
 
So now I am the Human Resources generalist here for The Salvation Army Kroc Center.
 
I began on the worship team here. I’m in a really good place. I’m happy. 
 
God, it’s your will. Whatever You have in store, it will be and that’s the way I approach things now. 
 
When I embraced my dad the anger wasn’t there anymore. I truly forgave him and turned the whole situation on him over to God.
 
While our relationship isn’t typical, I reach out to him just to check on him and let him know that I love him. 
 
I’m still a fighter, right, but I’m fighting for Christ. Fighting for the kingdom.
 
I want people to know that homelessness doesn’t look a certain way. I would come to church and I didn’t tell people that I was homeless. Once they found out, people were saying, ‘oh, I never knew. I never knew.’
 
People did say, ‘we could have helped you; we could have let you come and stay with us for a little while.’
 
If you’re going to open your heart to God, open your heart to God’s people as well. 
 
Once you really are open to God, He begins to show you who He is. That He’s there and that He’s present. So if you have nothing else to hold on to, hold on to that.”

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