Marsha Brown’s life was going great until one fateful night when she received a phone call with news that her teenage son had been hit by a drunk driver and was severely injured. CLOSE TO HOME asked Marsha why she is so passionate about sharing the story of how this unexpected event ultimately led her family to experience homelessness. Here’s what she told us:
Why did you choose to share your story about your family’s experience with homelessness?
The more I talk about it, the more empowered I feel. Talking about the challenges we faced helps me to heal and lets other people know they too can get through this. Sometimes when I share my story with others we cry together, sometimes we have a renewed sense of hope. My journey isn’t done, but talking about the path I’ve travelled helps me to see how much I have accomplished.
What would you say to encourage other people to share their stories?
My upbringing led me believe I just needed to keep plugging along and keep my mouth shut and everything would eventually work out. Now I think differently. Speaking up, naming the challenges, expressing our needs, and talking about homeless are so important. You can’t get help unless you know where to ask for help. And many people feel so alone in their struggles, but my God this can happen to any one of us.
I realize it can be difficult to share personal stories, but my experience has been that it opens doors to new opportunities, provides healing, and empowerment. I’m convinced we need to stand on the highest mountain and get our stories about homelessness out!
What would you like to see happen as a result of you, and other people, sharing more stories about homelessness?
Two things: First, a greater understanding that losing a home can happen to anyone. Until I experienced homelessness I would have never imagined that it could happen to me. We need to wake people up. And second, I would like more sharing of stories to increase opportunities for people to find shelter and rebuild their lives. We need resources with options that fit different circumstances for different people and families. There isn’t a one-sized-fits-all solution.