Content warning: The stories throughout this issue may be especially activating for some readers. Many of these pieces involve descriptions of traumatic experiences including sexual violence, domestic violence, sexual exploitation, queer/transphobic violence, in addition to the violence of states and false borders.
The rate of homelessness in San Francisco is currently alarming and it’s quite unfortunate that I have been a victim of it. My name is Jocey, a 28-year-old divorcee, and this is my story…
I came to the United States in 2016 on a tourist visa to attend a church seminar. That’s how I met my now ex-husband, and being a young Black lady I fell in love with this white man. He convinced me to stay and get married to get documentation. It wasn’t an easy decision, but somehow I got convinced and stayed behind. We got married and even had kids together. Everything was going so well and I even managed to secure a job. Being married in the U.S. meant I would get citizenship, beautiful kids and a job, I wouldn’t ask for anything more.
Things started taking a wrong turn after I lost my job. Our workplace closed down due to negative financial effects of COVID-19. I became a stay-at-home wife and mother of four. I got so depressed at one point because my husband started cheating. Raising any questions resulted in mistreatment and abuse, and I couldn’t do anything, because he was our only source of income. My marriage took a wrong turn and ended in a bad divorce. Unfortunately, my ex-husband is a prominent official and was able to bend a few laws, and I ended up with almost nothing. I moved out of the house but in a short while all the funds I had gathered before the divorce got used up paying rent and buying food for me and the kids.
I fell into depression and turned to drugs for comfort. I spent most of my time and remaining money in bars and doing drugs. The situation got so bad that I was evicted from my house due to rent arrears and even lost custody of the kids since I couldn’t take care of them anymore. Since then I have been through a lot—bad relationships with people who just wanted to use me, couch surfing at friends’ houses—but it has not been easy being hosted, especially being a drug addict. That was a deep fall, from grace to grass in a very short while. I would never wish this even to my worst enemy.
With no job, no income, and no housing, even getting food was tough and I had to depend on assistance from individuals and organizations. It got to a point where I had to enroll with a support group and it’s been really helpful. I am currently undergoing lots of counseling and slowly recovering from the addiction. I would also like to start looking for a new job just to get back on my feet again. Everyday I wish I could spend more time with my kids and be a complete family once again.
I wish the government would come up with a strategy or a good way to cater to people like us: immigrants, divorcees, homeless people, drug addicts. It’s really tough out here and it’s not getting any better. Sometimes I wish we would get one individual who would fight for us all. I am sure the government is capable of providing this assistance but there are a few individuals who only think of themselves, at least that’s how I feel. I am grateful, though, that there are few organizations and well wishers who throw in some loose change, food and even offer emotional support, when sometimes all we need is a shoulder to cry on. You never find this in the streets.
I hope this and other people’s stories that we share may reach you, readers. Please share this and maybe it will touch somebody’s heart somewhere. Thank you, good people.