Front Page of Yahoo, Oh My Gosh!

Front Page of Yahoo, Oh My Gosh!Hi, all!  Well, just found out that I’ve been on the front page of Yahoo! for about 30 minutes (my inbox started rapidly expanding with Facebook/Twitter requests).

I’m at my 9-5 job right now trying to keep up at least a veneer of ethical and diligent hardworkingness, so I’m taking my lunch break to say hello to the newcomers *waves* and I’ll spend the next few days trying to get everybody responded to, followed back on Twitter, etc.

In response to the most common questions I’m being emailed:

1)  Yes, I’m OK and things are looking up!  I’m still in a limbo stage, but obviously right now I have it better than I used to and better than a lot of homeless people do – I’m very lucky that I now have a job and that things have been slowly improving.

2)  Yes, Fezzik the mastiff is still with me and he’s doing great!

3)  To those asking if I still do homeless advocacy work, yes!  I am the co-founder of World Homeless Day, which launched last year and boasted participants and events in over 100 countries, and we’re hoping to increase participation even more this year!  I’m involved behind-the-scenes in the World Homeless Action Movement and it’s very important to me to bat around solutions for all homeless people of all backgrounds and circumstances.  I also take a huge interest in various other social issues that have touched my life and the lives of those close to me.  The amount I’m able to post on the blog has taken a beating (I’m sorry!!!) because I’m not only doing a 9-5 job that’s helping me pay the bills and promoting a book, but also doing work for WHAM that keeps me hopping.  I’m trying to improve my posting rates, though…please bear with me  *frazzled*  :-\

4)  To everybody asking “how could you be homeless and travel to Scotland”, there’s a long, convoluted backstory there.  It’s in the book, towards the end when things had started to improve for me a bit, and can’t be summed up in two sentences.  No, I was not/am not rich, no, I was not/am not “homeless by choice”, no, I did not just “decide” to pick up and go to Scotland, and no, I am not a “fake” homeless person and this is not/was never a publicity stunt (actually, I remained anonymous by choice for a very long time).  I don’t want to give away the end of the book, so I’ll refrain from saying more.  But a single article/interview doesn’t cover the entire story, not by far.  You sort of have to pack everything into a small space, so details get left out.  Sorry!  Once you know the story, however, by all means feel free to judge me accordingly  ;)

5)  I moderate everybody’s first comment (once you’re approved you don’t have to be again), mainly because I’ve managed to acquire the occasional psychostalker or two.  If I’m not approving your comments here it’s because you’ve probably said something jerky or classless or made assumptions based on stereotypes or called homeless people slurs or gone on a rant calling me a fakey fake McFakerson, and I don’t publish those comments because this is my blog.  You’ve got the entire rest of the internet to have a field day screaming “I think this is a fake story real homeless people don’t have cell phones OMGWTFBBQ!!!” but this right here is my own little two-foot-square space of internet, and while I welcome polite and respectful dissent, or am happy to answer questions if you email me or comment politely, I don’t bother with trolls and angry people.  I’m all about keeping it positive and proactive.  Hope that makes sense.

6)  The book is a great place to start if you’re curious about my backstory or sequences of events not covered on the blog or in interviews.  Most of the stuff in the book is NOT stuff you will find here on the blog (I didn’t want the book to just be a rehash of what’s already available publicly; I felt that wouldn’t be right or fair.)

Thanks!  Hope this helps and I’m happy to see so many new visitors!  I need to get back to work now before they skin me  :-P

Comments

  1. Laura Wright says:

    I just read about you on Amazon! Congrats on the book – I’m really looking forward to reading it!

  2. diesel says:

    hi, thanks for reading this short mail

    you must have a hard times, but loooks getting a bid better,i wanna wish u best luck
    i hope you can reply to see hoh can i help , maybe buying your book ,directly from you :) )

    see you later,

  3. Walt says:

    You are smoking hot! Move to Waco and marry me! lol.

  4. Pat Miller says:

    I think that so many of the comments are out of line. FOLKS all of us are making due however we can. STOP putting her down for her shortcommings. YES I do see that maybe she has different values that I do when I was homeless. AND (ps I am educated enough to know I’m not supposed to start a sentence with and too) we ALL come from different areas, perspectives and needs. I think that homeless or folks who have had a very hard time should be more understanding of differences, as a matter of fact, I believe that’s why you had/or are having your hard times….TO TEACH YOU TO NOT JUDGE! All too ofter we say “someone should see that I’m a good worker/parent/person….but are unwilling to give that same leadway.
    STOP!!! HELP!!!! I’M TIRED OF HEARING “I have it worst!” and everyone being in competition for who is the “better” person for doing this or that!!! COMPASSION IS WHAT WE NEED!!! NOT YOUR JUDGMENT!!! AND believe it or not…I am NOT homelss but I am on disability and I’m dam* MAD at our goverments choices at their idea of “help”………BUT for those of you that believe in a “higher power” “God” “Jesus” “Allah” or WHAT/WHOMEVER! ALL teachings teach us to not sit in JUDGEMENT but rather DO what one man said that I believe with all my heart. BE THE CHANGE YOU WISH TO SEE IN THE WORLD….and…IF YOU ARE NOT PART OF THE SOLUTION, YOU ARE PART OF THE PROBLEM!

  5. Pat Miller says:

    PS…..YOU GO GIRL!!!

  6. Michelle says:

    Hi Brianna,

    I read your story moments ago. I couldn’t stop reading as I was able to empathize. Last year, I moved to L.A., I had $7,000 in my savings and was staying in an Extended Stay hotel. I tried for 3 mos. to get a job. Even though I have a B.S. in T.V. Production, I couldn’t even get a job at Burger King, Target or anywhere else for that matter. After 3 mos. I got a minimum wage paying job on Hollywood Blvd. I’d sit for hours, applying for apartments. I went to over 57 apt. complexes. I joined Apt. Finders in L.A. and everywhere I went, the requirement was that your income had to be 3 times the rent or they wouldn’t even consider you as a tenant. I eventually ended up paying all of my rent to the hotel room which was $1290 a mos. In 2 mos. I was homeless, living in my truck, which LAPD issued me tickets every other wk. for ridiculous parking violations. I went to work every day and told noone that my teen daughter and I were homeless. I washed up every morning in the Kodak Theater Mall. I used the bathroom in a little medical bowl that I kept in my truck and emptied it in the mornings. I ate leftover food from the break room at work. I bounced checks to get extra cash for gas for work. I went to drive thru’s to beg for late night left overs or messed up orders. I cooked hot pockets on the dash board of my truck in the afternoon’s when it was hot. I would sit in the parking lots of hotels and pick up wireless signals to use my laptop to look for jobs and apts. and post my resume’. I would park in hotel parking lots so that ppl. would think I was boarding there so that thugs didn’t break into my truck while I was asleep. Not to mention, my belongings were all packed up in boxes in my truck. I was 39 yrs. old, separated from my husband and had no help and knew noone. I applied for food stamps and received 3 mos. at $150 a month for my daughter and I. After the 3rd month, I worked on a holiday at work and social services cut me off because they said, I was over the hourly limit for gross income by $40 and said I made too much. I was so angry w/ society. I began to feel for other homeless ppl. that I saw. I began to realize that stereotyping was so inaccurate in the past. I, too, went into survival mode. I hated society and wealthy ppl. for looking down their noses at me. I went to school, got my degree, worked long hours and raised my kids and now I’m…homeless??!!! I do I convince my daughter that it’s worth it to go to college now?!! Eventually, I found a friend thru church and she let me sleep on her floor until I saved up and got a studio apt. After that, every little bit of something free I got, or extra dollar that I made, I gave it to homeless ppl. sleeping on the bench or I’d go into Coffee Bean on Hollywood Blvd. and buy a coffee or bagel and walk out and go straight to a homeless person and set it in front of them and walk away. I would go buy the dollar menu coupon booklet and pass out a coupon when homeless would ask for money. (this way I knew if they wanted food or not) Brianna, thank you for letting me know that I’m not the only one that this has happened to. I wish you strength and wellness, dear!!! Stay strong and keep flexing that emotional muscle.
    Thanks for writing the article!

    • gpmartin says:

      Michele; your story is heartbreaking and enlightening as well. After working for 32 years and retiring I found joy in taking care of my daughter and her children, however, caring for a total of 5 people wiped out my pension and now I am statistically homeless. She and her children are living with her boyfriend and I’m living in a ‘room’ on property owned by family. While I’ve been job searching since 2010, I am becoming so keen on the insensitivity of people and their stereotypical view of the ‘homeless’. My living conditions are far better than so many as the plan was that the ‘room’ would be fixed up for me and I would live rent free while ‘helping’ the family. (a married couple who are in the beginning stages of a divorce, 3 children, all grown and either in college or going to college). I take online courses to earn a degree in Health Information Technology and spend countless hours each day job hunting. As time passes, sadly, I’m being heavily prodded to ‘find a job’. I can’t make people hire me and for what it is worth, I can’t see too many employers ready to hire a woman of 57 years! After much consideration, I did apply and receive food stamps so that at least I could contribute by buying my own food. I have access to bathroom and kitchen, but not in my room. I cook and clean for these people; trying to not only be of some help, but trying to fit into the dynamic (they are family). Unfortunately, families are what they are and I’m still an outsider and at times met with a certain amount of hostility by some members of the family.
      Sensitivity to a person’s needs and situation is key, however, I feel like I’m being ‘tough loved’ if you will and as time passes, I fear the only thing that separates me from streets is the doorknob of my room!
      I can readily empathize about hating people and the government for this ugly and inhumane treatment of people; the pervasive thought that ‘they deserve it’ just angers me to my soul. There are far too many of us that are homeless, living in a country that is considered the wealthiest in the world and that is just wrong on all levels!
      I applaud your determination, tenacity and thanks for sharing your story. May you continue to find and achieve success.
      gpmartin

      • Deivys says:

        Dear gpmartin:
        I’m touched by your story and Brianna’s story, I read a couple of stories here and they are also touching, I want to encourage you to never give up, to always be resourceful, to never loose hope, to strive in this difficult times, to grow stronger.

        Sincerely:
        Deivys P.

  7. Natasha Sostrom says:

    Just wanted to tell you, I never read many articles on yahoo. If I do, I just skim them. They never have anything REAL.
    Your interview story was very REAL. I just moved to SOCAL in search of a job (moved from Hawai`i, where there aren’t many jobs).

    Well keep your head up and keep moving forward!

  8. Brenda says:

    Hi, I read your story on yahoo, and I just wanted to say. Wow! you have been thru a lot and you are a big inspiration for others out there thru your experience. I am a owner of a petsitting business and if you need any dog food shipped to you, please let me know. I am more then willing to help. Thanks

  9. Edina Brundidge says:

    My name is Dina and I read your interview on Yahoo. I wanted you to know that I have been where you are with my husband and my children. By the grace of God we pulled out and are now living a great life. I wanted to let you know to keep doing what you are doing because I too worked and when I lost my job my mother move out of our home and left me with my now 13 year old niece and my children. But like you, I thank God for this experience because I would not be the woman I am today. People think being homeless is panhandling, but it is not. You can have a job and travel from house to house and still be homeless. I was not on drugs, gambled or anything negative, life happened. I was a college student doing what I thought was the right thing to do. I just want to let you know that I admire you for your bravery and to continue educating ignorant people about homelessness!

  10. ANITA says:

    I admire your tenacity for life, your courage, and will do my part by buying your book, I understand what you are going threw although I am not homeless now, I was at an early age, when foster care would have find it hard to place me in a stable home. Anything outside the familiar, puts anyone into a surviving mode, you have no other choice, you either try to survive or you sit somewhere and just die, you are blessed to have inherit a trailer, I pray for those that don’t have anything but a park to rely on or the beauty of a bridge so to speak. However, I was wondering the same how does one become homeless and have the chance to travel to Scotland? Even if you had the money why would you have depleted funds on Scotland? I believe your story you most likely thought It would be a better life with someone, but sort of confused as to why you would have seek after someone that was in the same situation, I guess we live and learn, I hope the best for you, and your strength shows you will do well, you learned to survive, when book smart is obsolete, Keep writing it is good for the soul, I have a friend now that write for a small publishing company, and she is homeless now, not traveling but finds strength in her writings and encouragement for her future, as you do.

  11. Tracy says:

    I just read about you on Yahoo, what an amazing story! I can’t wait to read your book!

  12. ANITA says:

    Yeah you go girl, the purpose of the blog is for people to speak and allow their voices to be herd ” In Reply ” not judging her no one has the right and/or the authority, we all with this economy is as close as she is to being in a similar situation, some worse, others not, never the less, not all will be able to publish a book and reach out as she is, so once again you go girl…. keep it going.

  13. Marie says:

    Hi,

    Just wanted to say what an inspiration you are. These last few moments have solidified our trip to Alaska. My husband and I are in the midst of downsizing and hopefully sell our home..I’ve for the most part been detaching myself from things because i do believe that we don’t need a whole lot to survive(love and support from others are key) you certainly have that from me. you go girl!..looking forward to reading your book. safe travels.

  14. Sandra says:

    You are such an authentic inspiration Brianna.
    I read the Yahoo piece on you, but swear I had seen your story before, was it on 60 Minutes?

    Very happy to read that things are going well, and that they continue in that trend.
    And Margaret Atwood reviewed your book? How completely killer is that?
    She is my idol too.

    Wishing you much success & love.

  15. Jeannine says:

    I was pretty surprised at the comments people made on Yahoo toward you. I think it is based on the fact that most people responding are idiot kids who have nothing better to do all day. You have done the best you could under the circumstances and HEY! you are ONLY 22. Some of these people need to give you a break. I was homeless at 19 with a child in San Diego back in 1982. I lived with people but it was not my place nor was it permanent. Now I have a masters and a license to practice and I am on unemployment for 5 months after moving back to Ohio from CA. In CA I was being discriminated against at a job that I loved (reverse discrimination). So I came here but found out my license is not well known and people just don’t hire you for this reason. I have bee on several interviews and today went to one in store management, what I did before my masters. This recession is forcing us to live our lives differently. You might want to look at GirlsforaChange. org and tell them about your story. It is a great girls program.

  16. Anthony DiGiantomasso says:

    Congratulations on you overcoming and continuing to overcome your struggles. I think your expierience will touch many peoples lives around the world as it already is.

    At least you can know because of your positive attitude and parlaying your expierience into a window that others can look into that the pain and sufferings you;ve endured have not only grown you but can also benefit people everywhere wyho have a similar situation at the same time as chaing the paradigm of those who don’t understand.

    Please excuse typos; I’m not illitertae just need to run!

    God bless!

    Anthony DiGiantomasso

  17. Kelly says:

    It was only by accident that I stumbled across your blog, and now I’m a firm believer that everything happens for the purpose of good. I am in the same situation. Lost my job and home, however I have a little girl. Like you, I’ve moved in with family members, however both are mentally and emotionally abusive. I lost my car, and in this area, you absolutely need one. I was able to take what last savings I had and purchase a car, but when things are like this, it’s definitely a marathon to the finish, not a sprint. Thank you for sharing. If anything, you have proved to me that I am not alone, and with determination, I don’t have to play victim, but can overcome this situation. Thank you!

  18. Ashley says:

    A very cool story. I live in my 1997 Jetta and don’t have any plans to get out of it just yet. You really do meet some awesome people.

    • Jonathon Hansen says:

      I know it’s not instant gratification but here is a transcript of blog that i was doing while living in my vehicle a couple years ago. It might be a little raw but this was my feeling at the time. You will be a stronger more prepared person for enduring this inconvenience. Hang in there. I hope it gets better for you..
      Jun 9, 2009
      (LIVING IN MY CAR) JNH
      Current mood:determined

      (LIVING IN MY CAR) DAY 25 OUT OF 34.
      Written By Jonathon N Hansen. Menominee Michigan.
      Share.
      .Today at 10:04am
      (LIVING IN MY CAR) DAY 25 OUT OF 34.

      Today starts my 25Th day of living In my car. I am still living homeless full time In Menominee Michigan.
      I can no longer sleep In my car at night up In Wallace Michigan. The price of fuel for the commute has deprived me from making the 25 mile round trip daily from Menominee Michigan to Wallace Michigan. I might also add, I think the people who own the gravel parking lot up there were getting worried about my extended stay In my little boxed up car.

      Well I am now to that degree In my life when I can honestly say this sucks! I am testing the bounds of reality.
      I now look at myself In the rear view mirror and see extreme exhaustion written on my face.
      I pull Into parks,- and parking lots and fall asleep as If there was nothing to be ashamed of. I sit alone and by myself for days without normal conversations with people.
      I even have certain public bathrooms around town that I use so much, I am beginning to think they are mine.
      Life sure has me on a roll now.

      Each day that I awake, I do really try to keep a positive attitude even though I am losing vision of all hope and sanity.
      I try to Imagine myself surviving 25 out of 34 days in a car. (But I am).
      Everyday I awake to the reality of no money and no roof over my head. (But why me)?
      I try to Imagine waking up everyday to a wonder of how will I put gas In my car when the tank is on empty? (But I do).
      I try to Imagine waking up to a reality of how do I eat,- how do I shower and keep clean?
      (Is this really me)?

      All the while I awake to a new day and hope someone will remember the good that I have done for them In the past,- and for nothing more then the simple measures of living to survive another day.
      That’s what keeps the next day In sight for me.

      Try to support the positive nature that surrounds you. Don’t overlook the simple things In life because they could be the things most important to you.

  19. Aaron Beatty says:

    I understand how you feel i’m to homeless i have to quick school because of me being homeless and not being able to keep up with school. I currently livin in a tent under a bridge by a highway which suck. the goverment needs to put more effort into gettign people like me who wants to ge toff the street help. I think with the right help and the people we can start to help people like me and u go start gettign them off the streets.

  20. Michele says:

    Congratulations on the book. I saw your article on Yahoo and have purchased your book through Amazon. Thank you for taking a difficult time in your life and making it work for you, infusing it with a positive outcome and being creative. I wish you all the best and look forward to reading your book.

  21. C says:

    I just read about you on Yahoo, and I feel for you. Not a lot of people realize what living out of your car feels like. When my mom and my brothers and I left our dad, we had no where to go. We lived out of a moldy plywood trailer for a while, and then we stayed a battered women’s shelter. We had no where to go. Finally, mom found a temp job and we got an apartment and we could get our dogs back from the shelter we had the staying at. Mom got permanently hired, but the company went out of business after only a couple more months, so we were evicted and homeless again. By the grace of God, or maybe we just got lucky, mom found a job and we found a little house out in the middle of nowhere where rent was really cheap. We even got to keep our dogs, even though one of them ran away and we never saw her again. That didn’t last too long either, though. For the last 6 years, we’ve been traveling the midwest, sometimes staying in our car and sometimes having a home, but it’s never really home. I know what you mean about going into survival mode. Living in your car is a rough life. Using clothes to cover up the windows so nobody looks in at you while you sleep, so no one sees you and thinks to break in your windows and kill you. Using truck stop showers to get clean, eating the terrible food from food shelfs where no one wants to volunteer, seeing the police and thinking, “Oh God, are they coming for me?” Even now that we have a house, we never have the funds for basics, for healthy food or soap or even toilet paper. It’s not like we aren’t trying. I had a job a while back, putting all my money straight to rent. And the job was disgusting (involves working with barnyard animals). But it was a job. Mom has had a job for a while now, but it isn’t the kind of job where you get a reliable paycheck. Some months, we’ll make just enough to pay our bills. Other months, we’ll only make a hundred or so dollars. I know what it’s like to live rough, but after hearing about you, seeing the book you’ve written and everything, it gives me a lot of hope. That you lived in a parking lot for so long, but you still had what it took to write a book, to just keep going, it gives me a lot of hope. I know that depression is the one easy thing to come by when you all you have are the clothes on your back. But you’ve really given me a lot of hope. I want to read your book, but due to lack of funds, I’ll probably read it at my library. Once I have money, though, I’ll buy it. Thanks for giving me back my hope. I know that this is supposedly affecting everybody, but you see people who have inherited money, or who pulled some strings or slept their way into financial security. This is only affecting the honest people. The people who actually run this country with their bare hands. Everyone else is ignorant of the problem, or they just don’t care enough to help, or they think it’s our fault that we find ourselves in this situation. It’s not. It makes me so angry. It just makes me feel sick with rage to think that millions go to sleep hungry and cold, while you have all these politicians and movie stars who just worry about the color of their next sports car. But we have voices, and because there are so many of us, we can make a change. It doesn’t have to stay like this forever. Thank you for reminding me that I have a voice. That it doesn’t have to be like this forever. Hang in there, and keep writing, because you are hanging the world!

    • Deivys says:

      Dear C:
      I could be sad about all the stories that I’m reading here today.
      I actually started feeling a bit sad because I can relate to most of you, but I decided not to feel that way, but who cares how I feel right, the fact of the matter is that I really care for the people behind this amazing stories of strength and courage, like yours.
      I want to encourage you also, to keep getting stronger, to find hope in the little thing in life that really matter, to strive to be the best, to never loose hope, to be resourceful.
      If you like I could send you the book or the money for you to buy it.
      Either way let me know.

      Sincerely:
      Deivys P.

      • Beth Travelstead says:

        Deivys,
        I just wanted to say that I have seen you comment a few times on this blog and I admire your compassion. It was VERY nice of you to offer to send C a copy of the book. Please continue to be the person that it seems you are. People who have you in their lives are probably very lucky people. Don’t change!

        Sincerely,
        Beth Travelstead

  22. George says:

    Hi Brianna,

    You’re inspiring!! Don’t worry about the skeptics and haters….whether it’s you or Lady Gaga or whoever, they have to find someone to try and put down. It’s a sign that you’re doing something brave and courageous. Thanks for telling your story — I’ve learned from it :-) And PS….at 23, you’ve got plenty of time to get to where you want to be, and you will!! Best of luck to you.

  23. BRIZ says:

    Just wondering if you’ve run into any homeless VETS I’m one myself. The small jobs I do get , allow me to pay for my storage and gas. Luckily I have really good friends who have also helped me. I found one organization that helps VETS out pretty good. So if there are any out there who believe that there isn’t anything for VETS turn them my way or contact United States Veterans Initiative…..

    Good luck in the future Red…

    • Brianna says:

      Hi Briz,

      Yes, I’ve heard from many homeless vets! One is a very good friend and blogs at slohomeless.wordpress.com. I also reposted, further back in the blog, a video of a homeless vet talking about (and demonstrating) how he is required to self-catheterize himself on a daily basis because he has no medical benefits.

      One of the hardest things for me is meeting homeless vets or elderly people, who should be spending their golden years in comfort, and instead are relegated to living on a bench or out of a car or shelter.

      ~Bri

      • bignut says:

        Found your story intriguing and just had a couple of questions because, you’re 23, cute(with and without your glasses) and at least appear to be intelligent. But i know living in Cali can be rough so my questions are:

        How does someone like you not find work? What’s the best personality change you’ve made from this experience?
        Are you religious at all? Y/N and
        Did you pray about your situation? Y/N

        God Bless and I hope you reply;

        bignut

        • Keri educated and working retail says:

          Bignut,

          Are your serious with your questions???? You must be one of the blessed ones who has had their job for a number of years without worry of losing it. Cuteness and intelligence could get you a job easily 5 years ago, but when you are one of hundreds applying for a meaningful job or even a seasonal position in retail, those things don’t count for much. You should read her book and more of the blogs out here and you would have the answers.
          Religion is not an issue either, prayer will not get you a job!

          Sorry Bri about this post, but I felt moved to talk to this person. Being an educated person who has had to rely on retail work to make ends meet, this burns me.
          Keri

  24. Michelle says:

    I think you’re totally awesome, I love reading your blog, I think you’re hilarious and I’m going to buy your book. You inspire me. Thank you.

  25. Another person from Yahoo :) I just wanted to stop by and say hello! I’m just coming off some super rough times and while I was fortunate enough to not be homeless, I understand that survival mode that kicks in. You think you can’t survive another day or night of X, Y, or Z and somehow you reach deep down and pull through.

    I hope things continue looking up :)

  26. Chillinpat says:

    Hey Brianna,

    I know how hard it is to find a job, I was without work for almost 2 years, I tried to go back to school but I fell short 2$ that I didn’t have to go back since I was unable to get anymore government aid, I’m still living with my parents, yeah it sucks but I stayed positive and now work at a great job and saving up for a house. I read about your hard ships and I have to admit that I really admire you and what you went through and I hope everything is going your way now. If you ever need to talk my email address is chillinpat@yahoo.com and I’d be happy to listen. Stay focused stay positive and you will go far.

  27. formerlyhomeless says:

    So glad someone white and formerly middle class can tell a credible story like this; pretty much the only way the important folks would really listen. If a homeless looking black man/woman had told this the rest of the world wouldn’t have paid any attention at all. I was homeless most of my adult life on and off since age nineteen, so I can definately relate to your story, and will consider buying your book. Please just know, there is a way to get where you want to be, you just cannot give up on your dreams. I am now a part-time business owner, home owner and landlord with a regular full-time job in spite of the economy, and I feel very blessed. All because I refused to take NO for an answer from all those straight white priveledged folks who wouldn’t hire a bull dyke like me.
    Good luck, and remember, Never,ever give up on Yourself.

    • Brianna says:

      I hear where you’re coming from; a friend joked that I am the “spoonful of sugar that makes homelessness go down”. I guess because maybe I look kind of harmless and approachable. Believe me, I don’t like that people are more apt to pay attention to one perspective of the issue than another, and I hope that sharing my story helps open up peoples’ minds to hearing from other faces/facets of homelessness…other races, ages, backgrounds, mentally ill, addicts, veterans, LGBTQ, etc. etc. I am a strong advocate for solutions for ALL homeless people.

      Thank you for the kind words! You sound very kind and I’d just like to say unequivocally that I adore my bull dyke/gay/genderqueer friends :)

    • David says:

      That was real. Love it

  28. grace says:

    i’m thinking you won’t want to post this up as a comment. i, too, was homeless. i spent two years working two jobs and 80 hours per week saving up for college only to run out of money for rent and food before i was done with spring semester of freshman year. i finished my undergraduate degree and my graduate degree by becoming an escort. i made 300 dollars an hour (which is typical for a blue collar escort agency) and i was able to pay for my tuition, rent a room in an apartment and pay for my food. plus i had time to get my school work done. clients treated me well, i was never raped, beaten or robbed like you always hear about on made for tv movies. it was a solution for a situation with seemingly no solution and the advantage that every homeless woman has over a homeless man. the media makes a big deal about human trafficking, about pimps and drug addiction in this field, but in my experience as an escort, i met other college girls, mothers and middle-class normal women just trying to make ends meet.

    • Brianna says:

      I’m pleased to hear that you’re safe and no longer homeless. Whatever my personal feelings on prostitution may be, I don’t judge escorts for doing what they feel they must to get by. Obviously that kind of work isn’t for everyone, for various reasons – be they moral or practical ones – and it wasn’t an option for me, but congratulations on getting your degree and getting out of homelessness!

      (P.S. I admit that “Secret Diary of a Call Girl” is totally one of my guilty pleasures).

  29. Jaime says:

    Hi!

    Can I just say, that I understand that JW thing to a T. I also could have sworn I’ve seen you before at one of the KH’s or the conventions in LA. I’m 27 and from Long Beach, and my family was (some still are) JWs. There’s crazy things that happen that people will never believe. My mom was disfellowshipped for marrying my Christian dad and the fighting never ever stopped between the families. It almost tore ours apart.

    Thank you for talking about this, I know it was hard, because sometimes I still get uneasy talking about it, but I’m glad it’s out there for people our age to really listen and know that they don’t have to stay in a religion like that in order for God to love us.

    Good luck with everything. Hopefully you’ll have a book signing out here in LA/OC area so I can come say hi!

    • Brianna says:

      Yes, other ex-JWs understand why there’s no family safety net like most other people don’t. Unless you’ve grown up in a cult/high-control sect, it’s hard to explain to “worldly” people.

      You probably have seen me around at conventions a few years back…we attended the C.O. in Norco and the D.O. in Long Beach (the big stadium painted by Wyland, with the whales). I haven’t been in quite a while, though.

      I work in O.C., so hopefully there will be some signings in the area soon! :) Thank you for your kind words!

      • Jaime says:

        Yeah, totes (yeah, I said totes) the D.O. in LB for sure! But yes, it’s been a long while since I’ve been to those…things…as well. Also i wanted to ask if you ever noticed anything odd about the JW Bible? When I started going to a Christian church I noticed that the JW Bible was a different translation and some stuff was…left out? So freaking weird.
        Anyway, perhaps we’ll find a club for all the ex-communicated JWs our age and have a good ol laugh about all those ridic things. Until then, I’ll keep reading, praying and singing lady gaga’s inspirational lyrics (total inner gay boy coming out) for you!

        Love and Hugs!

        -Jaime

  30. Brianna, Thanks for sharing your story! It really touched me (along with many of the replies, especially Michelle in Hollywood). I could relate to your story so much! When my wife and I met in 1994, I was homeless (although for different reasons). At the age of 13, I had ran away from home, and after turning 18, and being on drugs, it was like I had no way out. Anyway, when I met my wife, we hitch hiked across the country and ended up in Alabama (long story made short) and got a break on life there.

    In Alabama, I got my GED, then ended up getting an Associates Degree in Electronic Engineering as well. I left that life behind, and basically for the longest time, forgot where I came from. Then about 2003, I left a good job, to take what looked like a better job, only to be laid off 4 months later. Then for a year and a half, went through many jobs, and just could not seem to keep a job long. Finally, I went to truck driving school to become an over the road trucker (BIG MISTAKE)! When I lost that job, I did not know what to do, we were losing our house, and were behind on all of our bills. Well, in 2005, we rented out our house, bought an old school bus, converted that, and lived in it for the next 3 1/2 years, with our two sons. We ended up losing the house, because we could not sale it in the present market. Then when our daughter was born, my mother invited us to move in with her in SoCal, which we did, and lived with her for 2 years. Now we have our own place, but things are still rather rough, but we trust God will bring us through it all.

    Also, thanks for the inspiration. I plan on writing a book myself, well already started, just have not been too motivated for a while. After reading your story, I feel a bit more motivated again, thanks! When I get some extra money rolling in, I will pick up your book so I could read it, and pass it on to my wife and our children.

    God Bless you,
    Richard

  31. Jim says:

    I read an article today about how people prey on girls in your situation and do all they can to destroy them. I’m glad first of all that you did not get victimized by them and I’m also glad that instead of sulking in your situation you’ve turned it into something positive. Here in Seattle we have a high homeless population because we try to do as much as we can for the homeless and do much better than many parts of the country. One thing I have noticed from talking to everyone from the drunk guy spending all his money on booze to the guy going to work every day is that when hope is gone, the will to change goes with it. While I’m sure there are people who are homeless because of poor life choices they are MANY who are trapped in an endless cycle and have just given up. I think your story of strength will help them. Are you partnered with any agencies that might want to distribute your book to the homeless? I don’t know of any that do that sort of thing, but it sounds like a good idea.

    Here is that article I mentioned. It’s long and disturbing so you may not wish to read or publish it but I included it so you can decide for yourself. Like I said, I’m glad you didn’t suffer this fate and I’m glad you’re helping others see the light. Thanks for your service to out country by helping, “we the people”.
    http://www.vanityfair.com/politics/features/2011/05/sex-trafficking-201105

  32. David says:

    I just read your story on Yahoo and I felt compelled to reach out. I went through a similar situation in 1980 where, in the blink of an eye, I went from what I thought was a secure living condition to homelessness. I had to “sleep rough” as you refer to it for over 9 months, then lived in an abandoned camper shell for another 4 months.

    Thank you for being brave and sharing your story with the world, it is needed. Much of the word has no clue about who the homeless are or what their true needs are. I am looking forward to reading and sharing your book.

    Keep your chin up. You will make it through this time and look back upon it as a unique growing experience. Since being homeless, I have graduated college, fostered a career, and started a family (my first grandchild is 3 yo).

    God Bless you and Thank you again for sharing.

  33. Jennie says:

    Bri: as a long time follower of your blog, I just wanted to drop by and let you know how very proud of you I am! You have catapulted far beyond your circumstances. I think there are many good things in store for you!

    You have been an inspiration to me as I started my blog after reading yours! I wish for you all the wonderfulness the world has to offer. Continue to inspire others and lead them to understand the plight of the homeless. You are a bright beacon in a cloudy world.

    Big e-hugs and congrats to you!

    Jennie

  34. mibo says:

    Like so many others, I saw you on Yahoo. I’m absolutely blown away at your resillience and strength. Can’t wait to get the book!

  35. Jae says:

    Hi Brianna!
    I just want to commend you for keeping your head up during this difficult time & just keep visualizing that light at the end of that dark tunnel..I’ve been down that long road, the difference here is, I had 2 babies in tow..After a bad divorce w/an addicted ex-husband, homelessness was not a choice for me. For weeks, I drove around in my car all night until the daylight when we could go “visit” another friend or family member! I had no choice but to move into a homeless shelter with 22 other families. I eventually came out victorious, I now help other people change their lives & my kids have a great life, in a home I bought & now in high school! I’m glad they don’t remember alot of what we went through but they know because I don’t hide it from them. The stereotype of homeless moms is wrong on so many levels..Keep ya head up & keep us posted on how you’re doing! I’m supporting your book & going to buy it for myself – I hope this exposure gives you a lot of leverage to get where you need to get because you’re WORKING toward a better & brighter future! God Bless you!

  36. Jazziland says:

    I’m rooting for ya girl! I will be purchasing the book. Can’t wait to read it!

  37. Jason M. says:

    Tough Times Never Last Tough People Do..God Speed…

  38. LJ Burton says:

    Paypal lets you put a donation button on your page – it’s helped me a good bit. I’m an artist/painter and I’ve been hit hard too in this depression, but thanks to a dear friend, I’m not homeless. Bless you and luck and blessings be upon you. Thanks for all you do.

  39. Cocopea says:

    Hi there,

    Yes, I just read your article on the yahoo page…amazing! Nice to “emeet” you! I just became homeless last week. I’m in So Cal also, La Habra, CA.. I got really excited when I read you stayed at the Walmart in Brea, was thinking cool, I can go there… but then realized that was some years ago. Plus I’m just in my car, no trailer…. I tried sleeping at the one in La Habra, but Security kept coming around…why is Security so good when you don’t want it to be…LOL! Plus they have camera everywhere these days…

    Anyways, I just was wondering about your faith? I’m a Christ follower (Christian) and that is the only thing keeping me going. My prayers have truly been answered! I’ve had some dear folks wire me money which helped me pay for the hotel.. Thus far I just spent the one night in the car, but will most likely be back there tomorrow. I’m just not sure where to park…I slept a while in Denny’s lot…not much 24 hours businesses near here. I am single, older and not in good health…no where else to go.

    But yes, I have my laptop, a prepaid cell phone with a few minutes for emergency use. I sold everything I had, so traveling very light. Already sold my jewelry. I’ve used all the resources I know of…and honestly, I’m just not that “street smart”…savvy as when I was younger and homeless for a spell.

    Any advice would be most appreciated. I also have a blog (http://cocopea.wordpress.com/2011/05/06/41-destination-unknown-eventually-heaven-though/) and this post explains a bit more of my situation. I’m thinking of journaling this experience as well, but so far, it’s pretty mundane….finding places to get on line, kill time, etc… I never know if I will have money, so I have to check out of the hotel and see which way I’m going. I don’t see well at night, so I try and stay put after dark. I’ve been to so many McDonalds and Starbucks, I’ve been in the one on Malvern in Fullerton, but thought I was in the one at Beach and Imperial…LOL…I get so twisted around..feel so out of sorts. I was in my apartment for 15 years…same apartment!

    Anyways, I really enjoyed reading about you thus far. You are a brave lady!!! I really hope you do know Jesus and if not, perhaps one day soon. I can see how much you have already blessed others and provided such encouragement! That is what I hope this experience does for me, allow me to serve and edify the Lord without all the material and worldly “junk” in the way, and be a blessing to others.

    God Bless you!

  40. Joseph says:

    I read your story on Yahoo.
    If you turn down the guy in Texas come to Kentucky! :)

  41. Tim says:

    I am encouraged to see you build a blog,write a book and make something of yourself after a tough time. Will talk to you some time how I could help with coaching homeless people to pull themselves out. I do offer services like this in my town for free.

    In the mean time keep up the good work

    Tim

  42. Christina Taylor says:

    While I empathize with you losing your job I really don’t understand how you can call yourself homeless. If you have a trailer or shack to stay in your not homeless. I also don’t understand how someone unable to move out of a trailer can afford to go to Scotland. Long story or not this all sounds a little fishy to me. Reminds me of James Frey and A Million Little Pieces.

    • Jim says:

      Without any back story it does sound fishy but as she said it’s in the book. Maybe someone offered to pay for the trip. Maybe she thought that they’d stay together in Scotland. Maybe she had airline miles. I know for a fact that a trip to Scotland is cheaper than first, last & deposit. The key is to ask questions not make assumptions. I haven’t read the book yet, have you? Does she explain it in the book, like she says she does? I look forward to reading it. Her story is one of the few “good” ones from the recession, let’s read the book and see what we can learn.

  43. Marie says:

    Brianna,
    Just read about you on Yahoo and I have to say I identify totally with what you said about having stereotypes of homeless people. I truly have had my eyes opened. I am so glad to read things are looking up for you and I hope that you will not be homeless much longer. You have inspired and awakened me. Thank you.

  44. Dawn S. says:

    buying your book. can’t wait to read! *waves hello*

  45. Hello!
    I know exactly how you feel. I am a single mother due to divorce. I have 2 teenage boys and we were homeless for 2 years. Even now we sit on the very edge of homelessness. My little family is very precariously housed and we are on the Section 8 waiting list for Colorado, and we will be waiting on the list for at least 2-3 years. I go to college full time, and I am thisclose (holds 2 fingers smooshed together) to graduating with my bachelor’s in Sociology. I want to help other single parents like myself find the resources they need to survive and thrive.
    I work a low wage paying job that gives me virtually no hours right now and am job hunting, but not finding anything yet. My sons and I live child support payment to child support payment (when they bother to come in) and on my financial aid, which I am fortunate enough to have as grants and scholarships.

    Being homeless is one of the hardest things to face and deal with. It truly will kill you or make you stronger. i am just glad I was already a strong person and have only gotten stronger.

    I am sure you will do fine. I also have a blog that I write in every so often. Please feel free to read it… my most recent post will be of some interest to you, as it is about homelessness.

    Good luck with your book!

    Jennifer

  46. mey says:

    I like many have just seen your article on yahoo and after reading it, brought me to your website.You have a very interesting and touching story and I wanted to thank you for being bold enough to share it with the world because I too once had my own views of homeless people. After moving to hawaii where the homeless rate is extremely high and seeing first hand how it effected people I knew personally,I felt like the lowest thing on the planet for even thinking and saying the horrible things I did about homeless people and their lifestyles. So thank you again and I look forward to reading your book now! God Bless you.

    Mey

  47. Mary McK says:

    I think you are young and dynamic, and at any point, your life can change for the good. But you are doing things, and meeting people, not living in isolation. It’s hard for people to understand the homeless, as they don’t relate. They’ve never been homeless. In my adult life, I’ve met a lot of women who had no place to go, so they ended up on my couch, or me trying to help them get welfare, or giving them money to get on a bus back home. Yet, I’ve never been homeless, so why do I relate? I know that it COULD be me one day, as you cannot predict the future. Look at all the people in Homeless Joplin… Who would have imagined a week ago that they would have nothing left, surely not them. Life happens, and you must pick yourself up by the bootstraps and get on with. “Get busy living, or get busy dying.”

  48. Mary McK says:

    Another thing, We’re trying to adopt a little girl out of the US foster care someplace and bring her into our home to complete our family, and make us a foursome. We know there are many children out there completely homeless and neglected, from one month to the next living in US Foster Care, a terribly broken system right now. We have all this love to give to a little girl, and to help her live life to the fullest, and to make sure she is never homeless again. We just pray to God that he finds us the perfect little babydoll to come join our family, and that it happens sooner, rather than later.

    Even though this is not your story of homelessness, as you say, each story is different, and these children that have become homeless and parentless, are the sadest of all cases.

  49. Jeff says:

    So you’re articulate, educated, industrious, enterprising, hard-working and…. homeless? Yeah, I’d say that pretty much shatters any stereotypes the average American harbors about those who lack adequate housing or a fixed address. I’m wondering though, is part of your problem that you’ve decided to make your home in California where housing costs are ludicrously inflated and wages stagnant, almost guaranteeing that you won’t be able to pull yourself out of perpetual insolvency? In terms of intellect or self-promotional savvy there’s nothing relegating you to living in squalid, “District 9″ inspired shantytowns. At this point, I’m beginning to see that although there are undeniable systemic, societal forces that are working, conspiring against you, there are undoubtedly personal choices that have contributed to your plight. Exercising that very same power of choice (to live elsewhere, to swallow your pride and move back in with your parents, assuming that they aren’t abusive or mentally unstable, or to go back to school) will deliver you from your hard luck lot eventually.

    • Brianna says:

      Hi Jeff,

      Parents are indeed abusive/mentally unstable (some info earlier on the blog and talked about very in-depth in the book). Also, I was raised in a doomsday cult where they enforce shunning if you leave. So, you know, family wasn’t a safety net for me.

      It is indeed bad here in California. It’s also where I was raised and what I know, and I think it’s a lot easier said than done for someone to pick up and go somewhere they don’t know anyone or anything or their way around, with no guaranteed work or income or home there. It’s not as easy as hopping a bus to another state and just beginning somewhere, is it? Not making excuses, just explaining why I (and many others) have a hard time, psychologically, just saying “OK, I’ll move somewhere else…where I’d have to be homeless THERE too, for a while, before maybe or maybe not finding work, saving up enough for first/last month’s rent and deposit, and landing on my feet.”

      I work hard and try my best to improve things, not only for myself, but for other homeless people. If it’s taken almost two years for me to turn things around for myself, I can’t imagine how difficult it must be for other homeless people with less resources/advantages than I have been fortunate enough to have.

      • Keri educated and working retail says:

        Brianna,

        I applaud your decision to stay where things are familiar. This coming from someone who grew up in the military, some would say transient lifestyle. The advantage to the military is the continued job, housing and organizations that offered household items for temporary and or long term use.
        Your situation offers only some of that. Being in that part of the country you have the pleasure of more stable weather and don’t have the extreme heat or cold that is common in other regions. That too is a downside to moving to a locale where you know NO ONE.

        Keep your head up and something good will come of this, I have faith, and no I am not a Christian, but a believer that fate, karma, or whatever … your positive energy will beget more positive energy … feel it flowing everyday!!!

        Keri

  50. Jeremy says:

    Hey Brianna,
    Sounds like I’m one of the growing number of visitors who read the article and found this. First and foremost, it sounds like things are coming full circle-it just takes time and patience-but nevertheless, its good to see things are turning around. As for all the people bashing on the whole Scotland ordeal, we all do crazy things to chase love down, me included-I flew to Canada to be with a girl I’d been talking to for years and took the cold shoulder the entire time I was there. Life is what you make of it, though, and you just pick up and move on. One of my favorite Ghandi quotes is “if you lose, don’t lose the lesson.” Truer words have never been spoken. As for the being homeless ordeal, that’s always in the back of my mind-when you are the only one who can do anything, if something happens, you are kinda up a creek without the paddle. You have a lot more to be thankful for than most of us realize. The little things we take for granted aren’t always there-I figured that out when I was in Iraq. When you come back and see the waste and lack of compassion in people and the constant need for instant gratification, sometimes it makes you question what it is we are doing and the path we are going. But as for you, keep up the good work in bringing awareness to the things that really do matter in the end.

  51. Cocopea says:

    Coco again,

    Okay I managed to read through the comments, and maybe I’m a bit naive, but I am surprised some folks find your story “fishy”. I really can’t imagine anyone pretending to be homeless or choosing to. I know for me, it was a series of events that led to me losing my job, no income, no disability, thus can’t pay rent, thus homeless. And I had one of the cheaper apartments in the poorer section of La Habra. And a landlord that worked with me as long as he could! Granted I’ve only been homeless a week, and yes I have a car, but in my case, I just feel the Lord was moving me on. My only son had already moved out a few months prior, in preparation of me most likely not being able to keep the apt. At that point, even if I could have gotten the rent money, being alone in a 2 bed/2 bath made no sense. It just felt like it was time to go…sure I would have preferred to move from there to another place, but perhaps God wants to refine me, grow my faith. I was in a comfort zone for 15 years…same routine of nothing but working and taking care of my son.

    But people not of faith most likely will not understand my situation either, and I won’t waste my time trying to explain it. I know where I’ve been, I know where I am at now… and only the Lord knows where I will be tomorrow…..I have a peace I can’t explain, a calm…no fear, no fretting….totally clueless as to what to do next…but I know God is in total control. I would not have it any other way!

    And from one women to another, there is not much we won’t do for love (or what we thought was love)…taking your last money in pursuit of a man is total reality…we do dumb things like that…lol…and often times we get burned. So nothing fishy there IMO…..learn from it and move on…maybe avoid on-line romances…especially long distant one!

    As far as where you live now….you have your reasons. I know I would like not to be homeless, but I will never again set about to amass the collection of things I had, set up home yet again (I had three households), shop, fix up, and all that. As I said, I am older…been there done that. My health will never sustain a 40 hour a week job again (came from the high stress world of Management). So from this point on, I can live very sparsely.,,earn enough to pay my keep…. I’ve raised my son and I’ve no husband….so whatever this time, this trial, this experience is suppose to be about, I intend to take heed and learn from it. I don’t mind sharing it, but ultimately what I do, the choices I make, I owe no explanation or account for to anyone…it’s between me and God.

    Being young as you are, there is much value in realizing “material things” are as dust. I wish at your age I had learned even half of what I know now! And the compassion you have gained for others, the appreciation for simple things, the gratitude of strangers..etc.. is priceless!

    I really hope, aside from what you have written in the book and here, you don’t worry about trying to explain and justify every move you made, decision or choice. I remember when I left my job, I told my family, “don’t ask me what I am going to do, I don’t know”…”don’t send me suggestions or advice…I know about Monster.com and Craigs list”…”don’t tell me what you would do if you were me”, or “what I should do”…etc… so I pretty much nipped all that in the bud and they have abided by my wishes.

    God Bless you!

  52. Laura Elina says:

    I haven’t been homeless myself, but have had friends in the that situation (that not being the only “problem” they have), and at times it was heartbreaking, because I could only do so much for them, unfortunately one winter took one of my friends with it, they found him frozen in the snowbank. It’s crazy how I used to think… I wish I could get a better job, now I’m wishing for keeping my min. wage job, times have definitely changed… Anyway, I look forward to reading your book, hope all is well.

  53. Tia says:

    Bri:
    1) WOW! You go! Only ONE of the homeless folks I’ve met have fit the stereotype–glad you’re speaking out.
    2) Heads up: The yahoo article gives background on the Scotland thing–enough to be called a spoiler.
    3) Sending non-stalker, thanks-for-the warm-fuzzies hugs your way. Keep it up.

  54. Dr. NE says:

    Brianna Karp,
    Thank you for enriching us with your story!
    The economy has decelerated and I am sure there are a lot more homeless people suffering than normal. I hope your book brings you an achievement praiseworthy of your suffering. Your story reminds me of a book I once read about low income employees; unfortunately, the people who we (the middle and upper class) ignore – the maids at the hotel, servers at the restaurants, and other minimum wage employees. This book is similar to “the working poor: Invisible in America” by D. Shipler and it also enlightens us to the hard work these indistinguishable servants do every day.

    The problem in our communities is that we have some people who undervalue others, forgetting that there are layers of employment from low to middle to upper levels. We presently live in a tier society and without the different layers there would be no superior class. Several of the people who posted comments to the article on yahoo need to RE-THINK their survival. Sometimes bad things happen to good people and vice versa. Our society would be a better place if we all TOOK A LOOK IN THE MIRROR. Unfortunately, people make mistakes and sometime have misfortunes. The privileges you have presently can be easily taken away since most Americans live paycheck to paycheck – cherish the good times, but remember that everyone deserves a second chance. Sometimes unfair things happen – this story articulates resiliency. Good luck Brianna.

  55. K Homeschooler says:

    I think that it’s great that you are speaking out like this, because stereotypes hurt everyone. With the economy the way it is, sadly your kind of story is becoming more common. It does take a lot of work to survive. Like any other sector of society, there are all kinds of people who live at least part of their lives homeless. I’ve even read a blog by a man who was living in a converted van so that he could afford to go to grad school without getting into massive debt ( once he was no loner anonymous, the college he was attending and parked in found out about it and worked on getting a ban on students living in their parking lots, even though he was the only one.)

    As for how you got to Scotland, I’ll have to read about that in your book; it’s a lot cheaper to take a trip to Scotland than to pay rent month after month. I do hope that homeless people who want homes will be able to get them, either with more affordable housing being made or because they are finally able to earn enough to pay the regular prices. I

  56. Charmaine says:

    Brianna,

    Like so many others, I found you today through the Yahoo article. As I read your interview, I really understood what has happened to you, and how easily it can happen to any of us.

    My husband and I are struggling like crazy right now – it started last November when the company my husband was working for went bankrupt. He started a new job 2 weeks ago, and I have somehow managed to hold it together financially all that time for us and our 2 small children, but I have a small business which I run from home and I depend on my invoices being paid. For the past 4 months, clients have been paying later and later – one has just told me he cannot pay me at all – and we have fallen far behind on the bills. The pit of debt is getting deeper, and with the long delays in my invoices being paid, we just keep going down.

    It’s supremely depressing that we both have MA’s, skills and experience, and we work so hard, but the money troubles keep getting worse. As soon as any amount of money hits my company account, it goes straight back out – for the mortgage, the management fee, the bills, for groceries, travel expenses, diapers for my baby, etc. I have spent almost 7 months picking and choosing which bills to pay, based on what colour the bill is (those red ones with words like ‘Final Notice’ and ‘collection agency’ have generally taken priority).

    The positives? My husband’s first paycheque is due on Tuesday of next week (yeah!), my clients have sent me electronic proof that my invoices are scheduled to go out in payment ‘runs’ starting on Monday (yeah!), we have 2 boys so our little one wears hand-me-downs (yeah!) and our neighbour’s grandson is a bit older than our oldest son, and she gives us all of his outgrown clothes (yeah!). I am hoping and praying that we make it through – and of course, having someone here with me, helping me, makes a huge difference. If it were just me and the kids, I am sure the bank would just foreclose on our flat and we’d be dependent on the kindness of friends. Effectively, we’d be homeless.

    These past 7 months, I have been so close to that edge of losing my whole life. This is despite having work, and clients, and having done the work I was asked for, and having sent off invoices for that work. It’s a very fragile see-saw arrangement, and when my clients start to have trouble paying me, then I have trouble. I see this so, so clearly now – this is what these 7 months have taught me. I see how you could be me; how I could be you.

    I hope that things will keep going in the right direction for you, and I wish you every success with your book, your job, and your future.

    Charmaine

  57. glossy says:

    Hey! just wanted to show you some love and recommend you for your courage and perseverance!! i’m going to keep you in my prayers and fervently hope that things continue to look up for you!!

    Love & respect you,
    Glossy
    P.S( LOOOVe the hair:)

  58. Mary says:

    Read it on Yahoo, good luck, great job, I’ll be back. Mary

  59. Elizabeth says:

    I’ve been reading your book over the past few days and have truly enjoyed every bit of it. (I still have about 100 pages left.) I’m 31 and currently living in an RV in Ohio in my in-law’s back yard with my husband and two cats. We’re both employed full-time but ran into financial trouble that caused us to make the decision to live in an RV. I just wanted to let you know that your book was eye-opening as well as an encouragement and is helping me realize that I don’t have to be ashamed of my situation. Thanks for writing the book!

  60. Deb says:

    I just read your book (most excellent). After having lived in the bay area for several years, when I lived there, I was always struck by how incredibly difficult it was for anyone with a middle class income to make ends meet in CA. Frankly, I think anybody who graduates from high school from many places in CA is at a disadvantage. How can they possibly afford to live away from their parents and support themselves with no work experience, etc etc? I was THRILLED to leave as I lived hand to mouth while I was there. I can make a fantastic living in the midwest on the same salary I made in CA. My mortgage is one third as much (but my house is 3X bigger). Yes, the economy is bad bad bad. But living in CA where housing is OUTRAGEOUS just adds to the cycle. I know not ALL areas of CA are outrageously expensive, but I also know that many, many are (and not just in the bay area). “Affordable housing” in the bay area is STILL not affordable!! There certainly needs to be more.

    I sure hope you continue to thwart adversity and keep empowering yourself to do all the things you dream of doing. :)

  61. BearCass says:

    Dropped a line on FB also. Day 2 on Yahoo! Truly inspiring story. I’d love to find out more about WHAM. If you have a moment, please email me. Even a link would be great! My church has recently started a food pantry & clothing drive. Any way we can get involved in our area would be great. Thanks!

  62. Sarah says:

    Wow…just read the yahoo article..wonderful! Thank you for sharing all of this..folks need to hear it. At 37 I divorced an abuser. He was wealthy..after it was all said and done…we were not. I went through several years of struggling with so much of the same. I am happy to say that today at 50 I own my own home..run a couple of businesses..sucessfully! My kids have turned out well and I learned soooo many things about myself that I would never have known had I not been through all of that! It took 12 years or so to get there..but I did! Thank goodness for bootstraps!! I am thankful I had them and a good education! Good luck to you hon, Sarah

  63. Kurtis says:

    I read your story on yahoo,and i must say,alot of the comments from people there are just plain rude,heartless,and cruel what some have said about you! Well in my opinion,you are a VERY brave,strong,BEAUTIFUL young woman!!!
    I have never been homeless,but i know what you are going through. Some people have no respect for someone that is homeless,and just think that homeless people are just a bunch of losers,druggies or drunks.From what i read in your story,you are none of those.Just a young woman that had fallen on hard times,and you are getting through it pretty much on your own.With a little help.
    I actually have helped some homeless people in the past,by giving them some work to do (i do a few different jobs on the side) they were happy to take the chance for some work,and i paid them very well.In fact i have found a couple homeless people jobs,they took the jobs,and they have been so happy ever since!!In fact we have become really good friends,and it felt great to help someone!!!!!!!!!!!!
    I would like to get to know ya more,I am not much of a reader,but i think your book will be some very good reading!!! I think i just may have to get it.

    God Bless You!!!!!!

  64. gpmartin says:

    Hey Brianna!

    Have been reading the posts and I’m inspired by all, especially what Cocopea had to say regarding having to justify your every move and decision. While I’m fortunate that I’m not on the streets or in my car in that a family member took me in and the room I live it (and my dog) is, well, nice enough to make me feel a bit guilty for feeling an iota of ‘misery’, however, one of the family members (a cousin) thinks it okay to prod me daily about finding a job, telling me how I should do things, how I should call potential employers and tell them to hire me of all things! After submitting close to 250 applications which, to date, has resulted in two phone interviews and 2 face-to-face interviews, I’m still without a job. After reading your book, my understanding of ‘homelessness’ took on a whole new meaning and I’ve gained a great understanding of the ‘psyche’ of it all. I didn’t choose this, however, I can’t stop myself from the ‘what ifs’ and ‘I should’ve done this’…all of which serves to further deteriorate my sense of self. I gave the book to my daughter to read as she has always been friendly, caring and concerned for the homeless. I then passed the book along to my cousin (who provides me shelter) as I wanted to somehow enlighten her as to why I consider myself homeless (her reply to that is…well, you’re living in some pretty nice digs for being homeless, don’t you think?). I wanted her to gain insight as to the loss of ‘self’ that one takes on and how important it is that there is an understanding of what life is like for the homeless. Sadly, all she focused on was the boyfriend and commented on your poor spending decisions. Aaagghhh! She is very insensitive, narrow-minded and right now holds the power to where I live until I can provide for myself.
    All that being said, how do you keep it tough when it comes to the judgement of others? Personally, I’m an iron-clad marshmallow but over the years, life has chinked away at the armor; losing my husband to cancer 11 years ago, losing a granddaughter (my daughter just suffered a miscarriage to which my insensitive cousin’s replay was ‘she had no business getting pregnant’!) well, suffice it to say, I grow weary.

    Thanks in advance for reading, thanks for the book, the insight and keep on keeping on girl!

  65. Carrster says:

    You are definitely a strong woman! I’m looking forward to reading more of your story. Sending you the best!

  66. David says:

    Hi Brianna

    Your story was sad and funny at the same time. You said you are interested in hearing solutions the homeless problem here is one that I came up with.

    Please tell me what you think of this plan to lower the unemplyment rate and the budget deficit.

    Here is the plan calculated using the current tax rate to create 10 million jobs paying $34,000.00 per year. First the participating employers would agree to pay 80% of the salaries to their existing employees. This would allow them to hire 20% more employees for the same amount of money. Lets say you had 100 employees and were paying each of 34,000.00 per year.(100 x $34,000.00 = 3,400,000.00). You would now hire 20 more for a total of 120 emplyees paying them (80% x34,000.00 = $27,200.00 each per year). The federal government would pay the balance $6,800.00. The emplyees at tax time would pay $8,500.00. This would lower the budget by 25%. Here is the break down…

    $34,000.00 x 80% = $27,200…The amount paid by employer in plan
    $34,000.00 x 20% = $6,800…..The amount paid by federal gov. in plan
    $34,000.00 x 25% = $8,500…. The amount of tax paid by the employee in the plan
    .

    So it would cost the federal government $68,000,000,000.00 (Sixtyeight billion dollars) to creat 10,000,000 jobs(ten million jobs) paying $34,000.00 per year.
    That is less than one tenth of the money given to the banks and auto mobile companies for the TARP plan. The banks and the auto companies were given 700 billion. This plan cost 68 billion.

    There would be the stipulation that the employees that participate tin the plan could not have any tax deductions. taxable incaome would have to equal actual income.

    David Val

    Davidval345@yahoo.com

    Here is the current tax table for 2010.
    Tax Bracket Single Married Filing Jointly
    10% Bracket $0 – $8,375 $0 – $16,750
    15% Bracket $8,375 – $34,000 $16,750 – $68,000
    25% Bracket $34,000 – $82,400 $68,000 – $137,300
    28% Bracket $82,400 – $171,850 $137,300 – $209,250
    33% Bracket $171,850 – $373,650 $209,250 – $373,650
    35% Bracket $373,650+ $373,650+

    Here are some other important non-tax bracket-related updates (until these are made official by the IRS, these are merely predictions by the experts). As expected, no (or very small) changes:
    •Standard deduction remains the same: The standard deduction for singles will

    •remain at $5,700. For married filing jointly, the number will also remain at $11,400. If you are a Head of Household, it’s expected to increase by $50 to $8,400.
    •Personal exemption remains the same: The personal exemption will remain at $3,650.
    •Annual gift tax exclusion unchanged: For 2010, the current 2009 gift tax
    ••exclusion of $13,000 is expected to remain the same. The gift tax is how much you

    •can give to someone else without any tax consideration

    God bless

    Davidval345@yahoo.com

  67. Keri educated and working retail says:

    Brianna,
    I completely understand how you feel with the whole being laid off. I was let go from a job that I liked, didn’t love, but there were many things about it I did love. I loved the fact it was M-F and basically 8-5, medical benefits, 401K and the like. I had the opportunity to volunteer ALOT, and that is one of the things I miss the most! Additionally I have lived a life that was not easy and understand strife and what it takes to live through it with dignity. Rather than being upset with my recent milestone birthday, I feel proud to have made it thus far and look forward to long future.
    My now husband and I are doing OK these days, he works two retail part time jobs and I just got full time at my part time job I have been at for about a year. My recently completed bachelors degree just doesn’t seem to be enough so I am now working on my masters degree. Finding work is not easy and this retail job was only possible because of connections otherwise known as networking. Perhaps this blog, your book and recent “celebrity” will help you with the necessary networking that will help to land a more lucrative career path.
    I would like to offer some services to you on a volunteer basis, however I am not in CA and my assistance would have to be virtual … :-)
    I see finding you and your situation as another opportunity to network some more and to begin volunteering once again.

    Blessings to you!

  68. Amanda says:

    Just wanted to say Hi and that I’m very excited to start reading your book. Bought it at BN this morning, and looks like a few others were missing too :) Congrats on where you’ve gotten!

  69. Your story is very heart felt, you’ve continued to strive over various obstacles time and time again. I think you are more than capable of handling the spotlight because you seem to be a mature, rational, intelligent, independent, woman who chose NOT to SETTLE for less. The only thing that I can relate to with you is age, and not settling for less, we as young, educated, mid-twenties individual’s it’s all about doing things we love and I think you’ve found that. Congrats and I’m sure you continue to do great things in life.

  70. lia says:

    hi brianna, understand there is a storm of things to do on your life, a lot of taking care of..
    Can’t imagine how it is, but will love to participate in a positive and productive manner.
    I’m homeless also, no vicious, go gym to move and shower.
    Well educated shared deeply with you the pain of leave the books (in my case I donate them to the library)

    I write to offer you my services, if you want interview me :)

    I will be pleased to meet you and maybe become your helper.
    If you want to know more about me and have 4 or 5 minutes you can check at “homeless by liafernn” on youtube, and is not to “add viewers” that I do so… is my “business card” on this situation.
    By the way… I do not have the car i lived in no more and about to become.. a how you call it? “rough” homeless.
    Wish you good things.

  71. Jonathon Hansen says:

    I took a closer look at your blog. Very well completed and easy to read. I enjoy how you make a short story out of such a complex tragedy. Homelessness should never be allowed to speak such a clever mind of thought, that is what they of course the people who haven’t ever experienced being homeless tend to think of us people who have a mind and heart. The cliche of homelessness has worsened over the new millennium. This is a world wide problem that has spread out of control and into an epidemic. What was once thought to be a decease for only the drunken abandoned people has spread into a world wide variety of people and ethic. Being homeless and trying to tell the story while experiencing homelessness is like two hells trying to collide against your prospering soul. Everything inside of you keeps telling you to fight through the misery it will get better eventually. Sooner then later you wish every damn moment out of living homeless would just end rather then just making you survive every passing moment of time. Being caught up in the homeless think is not a healthy alternative to living. It just is not. That thought alone will nearly kill you or make you stronger for the future if you ever experience homelessness. I guess homelessness today can happen to anyone. Just look at the bad storms we are receiving in the states. Hundreds of thousands of homes are being destroyed everyday. People will be experiencing homelessness in the future by the mass because of all the bad weather disrupting our earth. My guess is it will be a hard situation to solve into the future as more and more people will experience tragedy. No American should ever have to live a moment homeless in their life time. It is scary and would resemble a scene as close to the end or Apocalypse style of living you would think. Any how i enjoyed reading your blog. I will some more.

  72. Rocky says:

    The thing on Yahoo had tears in my eyes. I have been there before and lower. When I was 16 I had ran away from home, lived under a bridge for a while, and never knew where the next meal was coming from. Luckily, God was on my side and showed me how to swallow my pride and get over myself. I called my grandma, and she took me in and the rest is history.

    The main reason I wanted to respond to you was that I was wondering why you don’t put some Google ads on your site just so you can make some extra money from the clicks on ads at least. Just wondering. God bless and I hope the book sells millions for you.

  73. M. Ault says:

    I commend you on your perserverance, fortitude, and strength upon surviving through all your trials and am glad that you are strong enough to “put it out there” and let people see the underbelly of homelessness and how one can fall there and still get up.

    I lost my apt in L.A. 6 years ago due to it being torn down and being terrorized both physically and mentally, ending up staying with a friend in AZ in the dead ass middle of nowhere until I had to have emergency surgery which resulted in a total hysterectomy. It was untenable to stay there as medical facilities were 60 miles away.
    Returned to LA, stayed with my son for a bit and then ended up here in Oceanside w/my ex boyfriend sharing his apt. My stuff is in storage, the new mantra of the disenfranchised. I cannot return to work due to ongoing health issues, but am managing.

    Your story is a ray of hope to those of us who are on the fringe. I wish you well in your work and life, and hope that you find a space or trailer soon. And give your dog a hug as well.

    Best regards,
    Mary Ault

  74. shygirl says:

    hi!

    i been in your shoes and i know how it is when people dont believe what you gone/going through that too. i was kicked out of my moms at age 17 at the time i had a bf and was going to work and school then once i was kicked out i had to pack up and find a place i stayed in my car then my bf and me moved we moved many times into garages living rooms closets yes we each payed rent yet it was still hard we ate well we did have my car and we used my credit we were happy cuz at least we were together we got engaged i supported him while he was jobless for 6 months he then he left me for someone else and she could afford a apt for him and her and well he got better but i didnt stuck with debt over 10k because thats what we were practaclly living off was my credit. i had to leave the garage we were renting because i couldnt afford $400 i gave up my pets. and my mother didnt want me at her home. i lost my job during this time. i lived in my car for months showering at friends and using gas stations and stores bathrooms. eating once a day and well being sick and cant afford the dr was horrible. i then found a job. i didnt tell them i was homeless i went presentable and got it and worked didnt make alot but enough to have gas to buy 5 dollars of food for the week. dollar tree store was like a god send lol. eventually my coworkers found out and they would buy me lunch they would help how they can. and at my job is where i found my current bf. hes been a help when ever he can he comes picks me up and lets me stay at his place takes me out buys me nice things and im greatful everyday and during this time i moved in with a coworker i rented half a room this was the first time in 3 years i didnt sleep on a cold hard floor it was carpeted i was happy then i gradually got a bit better i ate at least 2 a day good meals i had bearly to get by i was living from paycheck to paycheck even though i was still in debt but i wasnt like i was alone with nothing at all now i had at least $20 a week to do what i wish with then i finally had enough to rent a apartment with my friend and her husband for 1/2 year i had a home and had my cat and dog back with me i was working and i bought my very own game system and tv then i lost my job i had to move out cuz we couldnt afford the rent they went with there parents i went back to my car.then i had to sell my car and depend on friends for rides. ocasionally stayed with my mother when my older brother came out of prison but i never stayed when she was there she would kick me out so i jumped from place to place stayed with my bf 2 days out of the week and the rest back in the o.c. for the rest of the week submitting hundreds of applications everywhere you name it i have done it. online and in person. i did get many interviews but i finally found some where which is my current job. its been 6 months and well im better but really i cant say i have a home yet i work graveyard and friends pick me up and i stay there place or my mom when shes at work then i sleep then wake up eat a meal take a shower and off to work. i carry a back back with my work clothes and two other set of clothes and my phone thats all i ever have that is my home a backpack. now that my mom has been laid off and supports the family i give 90% of my paycheck to her so she can pay rent so i wouldnt have to see her struggle and everyone says why i do this when she has turned her back to me all this time i told them i rather go through this then to see my mom go through it. i can survive and she cant. so i still jump place to place i can bearly get something to eat i have given up alot. sometimes i am afraid not knowing where am i going to sleep or shower or eat every day. and i hate that people ask if i am really poor. well i am. at this moment i have $2.58 to my name thats my food money for today what does that get me? a bottle water and a sandwhich. thats what im going to have tonight then i go to work and wonder who to call to give me a place to sleep today and to wonder who can give me a ride there and back to work the next day while i deposit $500 dollars to my mom so she can pay rent. i thank god for my bf he never has let me give up and because of him i have my phone and clothes and shoes. and people say why dont you go move in with him. he has a disabled mom dad and brother he bearly makes it by with them and im not going to take more then what i need from him. i am a big girl and i am in the process of finding another fulltime job so i can really be on my feet and actually have a place to call home. like i said i read your story im going through that too and im happy to see i am not the only one. and thrilled that you can open other peoples eyes and have them see it can happen to anyone that they shouldnt judge if they havent been through it they shouldnt judge and yes some have it worse then others but that is what helps me move forward telling myself at least i dont have it as bad as others. its so good to know im not the only one out there :)

    -shygirl from the o.c. so cal

  75. Amy says:

    …as soon as I can get your BOOK I will. Thanks for acknowledging all of us ‘new -commers.’ And please do disregard the ‘haters.’ You have given me so much HOPE and re-affirmed ‘some-thing’ inside me that had been lacking just by reading that one article about you. I adore your spirit, inspiration, and attitude. Keep on going Girl…

  76. David says:

    I saw the article about your book on Yahoo. After reading that I was interested enough to download your Book to my Kindle. I read a lot of fiction… your’s is probably the first non-fiction book I’ve read in litterally decades. It’s good. It’s gripping… it’s exciting and scary and I’m only up to Chapter 8…. and all I can think of from time to time as I read it is “There but for the grace of God and a steady pay check go I”.

    It brings back the memory of a day I was headed in to my Government job in Canada in mid winter back in the 90′s. A homeless man had turned up on the exhaust heat vents of the high rise building near the bus stop one day and it looked obvious to me that he had slept there. He was filthy, with very long matted hair and beard that had not seen water in months and had obviously been sleeping rough for a long time. The heat exhaust vents meant the difference between waking up and freezing to death for this man but all I could think was would someone take him and get him a bath and some clean clothes. He wasn’t panhandling. I think all he wanted to be was left alone by local authorities. I don’t know what became of him. He wasn’t there more than 36 hours and I saw a couple of the cities finest talking to him the last time I saw him but he really needed to get to a shelter as the tempurature was forcast to be hovering near zero fahrenheit that night. I hope they didn’t just shuffle him off to the next municipality down the road.

    So I’ll read the rest of your book and find out what happens and laugh and cry and wish you well and hopefully be better for the experience…

  77. Izzy says:

    I read your interview on Yahoo and several of your blog entries and was completely enrapt by your story. I never picked up a tone of self-pity or attention seeking from your language. Although I mean to buy your book, I did not intend to leave a comment until backtracking to the comments left in response to your Yahoo feature.

    It is beyond me how haughtily and easily people can hurl insults at people they do not know regarding situations that they are hardly qualified to comment on. Everything that you have been accused of has been explained and accounted for directly by you either in your interview or on your blog (apart from your reasoning when deciding to save for Scotland – and considering that you exhibit all the characteristics of an intelligent and practical person, I am sure that it is thoroughly explained in your book).

    I had never really thought about what the homeless went through because it seemed like a situation that affected me very little – but it has never occurred to me to treat them like they are less than human. It takes a certain kind of person to find joy in that. As I read through pages and pages of derogatory comments I felt disgust bubbling up inside of me.

    If that feeling is even an iota of what you must fight feeling about people and the public world every day, I commend you for your patience, kindness and capacity to love the human race. You respect others and handle yourself with such dignity that you, through example, show the kind of voices that truly matter in this debate.

  78. Barbara says:

    Brianna,

    Thank you SOOO much for being brave enough to share your story with all of us, and congratulations on being given the opportunity to publish your experience. Please know that, by doing so, you help to give voice to those of us who are sharing the struggle. And congrats on landing on the front page of Yahoo, that’s where I found you! So glad that I did because I felt like I was reading a piece of my own experience. I graduated from UC Berkeley at the end of 2009, and come February 2010, I was jobless and homeless with my 7 year old daughter. Like you, although I knew that the economy was bad, I never expected homeless to be the next step of my journey, I never expected to not find a job, and I never expected to be in that situation for a whole year. I had Cal backing me, and I was still forced to resort to taking my child to a homeless shelter because I couldn’t find anything that paid over $10 an hour, and everything that was paying over that definitely wasn’t calling me back! When you say that you are living in a “limbo state” I know exactly what you are talking about, because I’m right there with you. My daughter and I now have an apartment, but I am working a low wage temp job that doesn’t pay enough to be able to afford rent, food, and transportation. So, although we are no longer “homeless”, I don’t consider our housing to be stable because we could easily fall right back off of this slippery slope.

    I’m really pulling for you Brianna! So glad to read that you have a 9-5, and I really do hope that it, as well as your book will begin to provide the life that you so deserve. Just know that, despite what some people may have to say or what they may think about you, there are a gang of folks out here in the world who truly know, who have truly been there/are there, and who fully support you and your efforts!! Thanks again for sharing this part of yourself, for giving me reassurance that “I” am not alone in my own kind of homeless experience, and I am looking VERY forward to reading your book!

  79. Erin says:

    I just read your entire blog in a day! It’s really riveting stuff! My other half and I moved out to Los Angeles during fall of 2008. We took a calculated risk (he’s in animation and the bulk of the industry is out here and had stopped hiring or even looking at applicants that were out of state) and it almost didn’t pay off. We were literally 2 weeks from selling or donating or throwing away everything that wouldn’t fit in my Hyundai that wasn’t absolutely necessary to survive and have to drive 3000 miles back to my parents house where we would have a few months to scrape together a plan, some money and sally forth for try number 2. What saved us was he found a job in the 11th hour. I had spent 2 months applying to places and sent out nearly 300 applications all told and only one place bothered to even call me back but I didn’t get the job. I was going into a grocery store for a roll of quarters and a newspaper, they were out of both and decided to ask if they were hiring. 2 years later I’m still employed with them but we’re not scraping bottom of the barrel like we were. You have my utmost respect for being among the mobile homeless and major kudos for managing to be so positive, informational and upbeat in your blog. It’s tough being poor! I couldn’t imagine being in this situation without my other half as he’s my support system out here, all of my friends and family are back on the east coast, but again we came here for the job opportunity, we just had rotten luck with the job economy. I wish you all the luck and and health in the world, I’m going to go out and buy your book and spread the word. Thank you! Good luck with your book tour, if you’re in the area I will try my best to come and show support!

  80. alina says:

    My husband and I have been in your shoes alot over the past 2 yrs. It is scary. I have my dad here my only relative in the state and he wouldn’t even takeus in when we were on the brink of being homeless. We are doing better now, managing staying afoat. I’m glad that you have turned your situation in a positive way. I just read the article on Yahoo and I was like wow. I’m glad your dog is okay too. There are good people in the world, its just hard to find them. I hope you are doing alright!

  81. Adah Biggs says:

    Hi Brianna. I just found you on Yahoo too. I know you must be snowed under with new comments! Take your time. Just wanted to say that I completely ‘get’ the whole going to Scotland thing, and I feel frankly a little miffed at some of the comments here that knock you for that. Sheesh. Just goes to show how few people have REAL life experience in cushy, soft, easy-life America.

    As for me, currently I’m homeless technically, although I’m living in my mom’s foreclosed house, and they haven’t kicked me out yet so I’ve got some months to go. :-D I’ve been homeless on and off my entire life (thankfully never have had to sleep rough except one night in a park, the rest of the time I’ve had a roof or a car or a tent over my head), and most of the times I went homeless was my parent’s fault, not mine. (They are really, really, really BAD at planning.) If I try to tell the story of my life, it takes 5 hours and nobody believes it. It’s very colorful and full of the most bizarre ‘coincidences’ you have ever heard.

    During one episode in 1999, I got absolutely sick of the hypocrisy of America and decided to go Expat — off the grid in a foreign country. Took the last of my money and bought an $800 one-way ticket to Israel, where I lived and worked on a kibbutz. Hard work for your food and rent… not sure I would recommend it though. There I met my fiancee (he dumped me after 9 months).

    Point I was going to make was: during that time, I was homeless and barely getting $25 a week from my mom for food (she sent me her lunch money and did without lunch)…. I was STILL able to buy a $25 bus ticket to Jerusalem to meet with my fiancee. It’s priorities. Sure when you’re homeless, you don’t have a lot of assets. But what you DO have you learn to leverage. And seeing your fiancee is just more important than anything else; because like you said, the hardest thing is to keep your morale up. I baked myself a HUGE loaf of bread and carried it in a backpack for the whole week; that was my food. I drank out of public water fountains. I slept in a nice free hostel for Jewish youth that some of the kind religious ladies in town run. (May God bless them.) And I was able to see my fiancee for a few days before I went back to the kibbutz. To me, it was completely worth it. Seeing him gave me the courage to keep going. (Too bad he turned out to be a douche bag.)

    Anyway, I did make it back to America where I *thought* I would be guaranteed to get a job. Um…. no. Happily for me, kind of by accident I stumbled upon freelance work designing web sites of all things!! I’m hoping this turns into actual money soon so I can get an apartment when I get kicked out of this house. So far it’s only paid a couple hundred dollars though, but I’m hopeful.

    Just wanted to say thanks for talking about “real life experience”…. when this is happening, we just need to talk about it with other people who understand. You know what’s strange? I know this sounds bad, but I’m almost glad more people are going through this, not just me. I was so alone for so long. (There were very few people living like this in the 80′s for instance.) And the experience wakes you up, makes you think, and makes you stronger. You always do get out of it; eventually you’ll be doing good with your own house. No problem, give it a few years and don’t give up. What you seek, you will find. But going through a period of involuntary “survival” is good for a person. It feels bad, and it sucks…. but ten years later, you look back on it and kind of grimly think, “it was worth it” just because of what it taught you. Despite my hard life, I’m happy I lived it. Honestly, I wouldn’t want to trade it. Because if I missed out on these rough times, I would be a lot more blind than I am now and I wouldn’t be able to make quite as interesting conversation!

    • Bill Cady says:

      Most of what you wrote is valid, and I agree with it. Not sure if it was a lame joke on your part, but the idea of it being the fault of your parents, or anyone else, that you became homeless is ca-ca, unless you were a minor child living with them when THEY became homeless.

      I publish a blog on behalf of the homeless: http://atmyfriendsplace.com/blog

      I began it after some miracles aided me in ending 1,592 days & nights of living in my car. There are some very ugly things that happen to us before we get that way, but it’s never someone else’s fault. Other people may be rather instrumental in the event, but anyone not disabled has only him or herself to blame. it’s up to us to prevent it from happening, not to blame others.

      It would be easy for me to blame my stint in hell on the fact my Irish wolfhound died, as that was the major factor in what happened to me, but it’s the way I dealt with it that left me homeless all those years. Reach out to others and don’t stop reaching until there’s a roof over your head. If not, once you become homeless, you may never be able to make it back.

      I’m just sayin’.

      • Adah Biggs says:

        True, once part of the cycle it’s impossible to get back (pretty sure anyway) without networking and actually putting aside your pride to get help from others. My parents were always too proud to accept help, both of them from super abusive households and scared to accept help from anyone. To this day they still live in crisis and won’t accept help.

        As for me, I was born in a tent in someone’s backyard. My parents moved from there to a bus when I was one year old. They then lived in a pickup truck, a rotting RV in the woods, some really amazingly bad ghetto apartments (let’s put it this way: we were too poor to afford a motel for months at a time), and you can imagine the rest. When I was out of teenhood I ran off to Israel to get away not just from them but also from all the ugly I’d seen while being homeless in America. The worst abuse we got was from Christians, sad because I’m one but I’m not an a self-important tyrannical life-controlling bastard like most of them. So yah; if someone is homeless it’s their own fault unless they were eight years old. But now I have a choice, and now I’m starting two businesses, and my sister is going into corporate finance. We’re done being homeless, we are sick to death of it. I’m going to be god**mn rich. I swear to God.

  82. Bill Cady says:

    For well over a year I’ve followed this blog, initially interested because I spent 1,592 days and nights homeless, living in my car. It’s absolute hell and nothing any decent human being should ever be forced to suffer. I began my own blog just about the time I was “paroled” from homelessness at the end of May, 2009: http://atmyfriendsplace.com/blog

    I share all the opinions I’ve read from Brianna and truly regret there are lowlifes who take shots at us from the cheap seats. When someone is pushed into that dungeon of subsistence, the last thing needed is a collection of idiotic remarks from the peanut gallery.

    One of the first questions I asked myself that gray day in 2005 when I left my home behind and drove away to living hand to mouth the next 4+ years is, “Why doesn’t someone write a how-to book on being homeless?” So, I’ve written it and made it available free on my blog site, as well as leaving it free with all 36 other books on my literary website.

    Being homeless is a time of too many questions and not enough answers. I felt it was my duty to supply a few of them, since I paid such a hefty tuition to learn them.

    Bill Cady

  83. Maggy says:

    I have been glued to reading your blog for like, over an hour…so I said to myself “I HAVE to buy this girls book”. Just bought it off Amazon…can’t wait for it. I’ve been laid off for the past four months, and luckily I have my meek unemployment checks and my husbands paychecks to keep me housed. But it’s very hard to stay positive sometimes, and your blog reads like you always have a bright side. Incredibly uplifting and so down to earth. I wish you the best and hope you and your gorgeous pooch Fez can find a permanent comfy place to really call home soon. :) All the best to you!

  84. Kari says:

    I just finished reading your book tonight. I had bought it in SC while I was attending a conference, then put it down for a couple of weeks. I inhaled the second half of your book in about 2 1/2 hours. Not only is your story compelling, it’s also well written.

    I have never been homeless, but there have been times in my life growing up and as an adult that circumstances have been pretty edgey. I now work with people who are chronically and terminally ill, and as a result also work with people in various stages of homelessness. I think what I liked the most about your story is that it is clear that there is never just one reason, or one part of our culture that is homeless. It would be easiest to simplify the issues, though so most other people could make it about others and not about a fundamental human need/right.

    I’m passing on your book to a friend…I hope that your message continues to blossom, so that some real change can happen.

    Peace!

  85. Christine Kittle says:

    Brianna,

    I think you should be really proud of what you have accomplished. Many of us could not have overcome what you have and kept the positive outlook you still seem to have. I think your book will help your situation because it seems many of us are looking forward to purchasing it.

    I am very proud that a woman can be so strong and so well spoken. You are really an inspiration to those of us that are struggling in this economy.

    All the best… really… I think you are on the way up… climbing out of that hole!
    Christine

  86. Saw your story on yahoo and added your blog to Keep America At Work via the magic of RSS.

    Also created a Widget on the right hand sidebar that will feature your last 10 stories.

    Hope it brings you more traffic and keep telling your story because we need to all work together to Keep America At Work.

    Regards,

    Virgil
    Keep America At Work
    Buried Where

  87. Victoria says:

    Hi Brianna,
    Your story touched me so…I shared it on Facebook. I have been out of work since 08′ and like everyone else…could not find a job. I have been in my field for 30 yr., and also a business owner in the past. My career has always been successful, and I have managed to survive another recession in the 90′s that was much shorter.
    Since it was impossible to find a position…I decided to take a similar path as you. I have been on the simple living path for almost 20 yr…so I felt that many people could use some help…tips…to save money & live more meaningfully during this time. I am fortunate to be living with a dear friend…in the wilderness where it’s beautiful.
    I wanted to let you know about Modest Needs…which may be able to help you “in a pinch”. I truly hope that your Yahoo article will connect you to people who can help. My prayers are with you…and I thank you for sharing your story. We do need to destroy the stereotypes about homeless peaople (once & for all!) and reconnect people once again…with compassion. Your story has opened the hearts & minds of many unaware souls.
    Take care…much love to you! You have a beautiful site as well!
    http://www.modestneeds.org/

  88. Janeson says:

    I just finished your book. I saw a review of it in People, ordered the ebook, and finished it in less than a day. I hope that things continue to get better for you, and that you have many more, much more pleasant, years ahead.

  89. Amy says:

    I saw your book review in PEOPLE magazine and thought it looked interesting….I read the entire book in one sitting.I was too captivated to put it down, especially with your love story with Matt, and felt completely heartbroken for you when the relationship ended.You have the kind of spirit and substance that is rare and I was amazed at what you have overcome in your short life.I have no doubt that you will find the love and happiness of which you are so deserving.

  90. S Vic says:

    Hello Briana.
    I read your brief story in Yahoo news, and 24 hours later I bought your book online, to read it on my e-reader. This was my first book EVER that I bought in an electronic format by the way. Many Cheers to the new Electronic age where book lovers can purchase books without filling their space with bulky “wooden bricks” which are difficult to transfer, etc. I wanted to say this: I was very curious to read your full story, because I had past experience with some homeless people here in Los Angeles (I actually constantly help one right this moment). Initially, I had concerns that your story had a lot of fiction (and not facts), but not any longer. Now I am almost done reading your book, and I have to say that your description of the situation answered many of my questions about homelessness. I wanted to say good luck with everything, and have strength!
    Cheers

  91. Mary says:

    I’ve always wondered what it would be like to be homeless. Thankfully that hasn’t happened to me. I realize that several people go through hard times that they have no control over.

    Sometimes I feel sorry for myself and envy the adventurous homeless travelers. My life and job are highly regimented. I have no freedom, no fun, just go to work, mind my business and sit out in my car during my breaks.

    A homeless guy approached me one day and asked me for directions. We engaged in conversation. He explained to me how he scored barely old hamburgers in trash bins that were tossed after an hour because management wanted everything fresh. Sometimes he got lucky and found a few packets of ketchup.

    He said he was headed for Colorado, then California. I admitted that I had rarely been out of Texas, have no life, and usually work on my vacation. I admitted that I would be scared to do what he was doing because I’m female. He said he understood, he said he seldom saw chicks out on the road by themselves. I thought how unfair that was.

    Sorry for my rant, but I barely make ends meet, have no life. I really would like to get a trailer and take my dogs and cat on the road and go under the radar of the system and live my life without following all the silly rules of corporate America.

    • S Vic says:

      To Mary
      I understand your frustration, but trust me: From my own experience that I had living in harsh/weird conditions (even though they were brief, and I was never homeless) and from what I have witnessed and observed from a friend who I continuously help to make it out of homelessness, you don’t want to follow this road! I understand that you barely have enough time for yourself, with all the financial problems around us, but getting away from everything is not a solution either. Briana’s book, to my astonishment, has a tremendous amount of valuable information regarding this matter!
      Cheers

      • Mary says:

        To S Vic and all,

        I guess I’m envious that Briana has an exciting life and I don’t. It’s my own fault, I know. My life is 100% controlled by society and corporate America and I don’t like it. I barely make it as it is. I work extra to assure my dogs and cat receive good food and vet care.

        I have an escape daydream I rely on when I’ve had it with my life. I take all my savings, and some belongings, dogs and cat and head for the beach somewhere (I don’t know where). I live in a sparse cottage that overlooks the ocean. I have everything I need. A fire place, a clothesline, but no TV, just pure clean fresh air, clean sheets I hand washed myself, my dogs and a comfortable bed. I have a handsome garden of fresh vegetables and salad greens. I spend my time fishing and taking care of myself and pets.

        Maybe, just maybe, I can be self-reliable somewhere away from the mess I live in now.

        I must say, I’m over half way through Bri’s book and find it compelling. It’s 11:30 PM and I have to get up early…but I just can’t put her book down.

    • Bill Cady says:

      Take my word for it, since I was homeless January 17, 2005 – May 29, 2009, you DO NOT want to ever be among the homeless. Not under any conditions. It’s the most degrading existence imaginable. The only benefit I found is the fact it will teach you about prejudice first-hand. I’m a white man, now 62. My high school in Lansing, MI was 30% black. When I became homeless, I learned what black people have suffered for all these years.

      I used my talent as a writer to prepare a “how-to” guide to possibly avoid becoming homeless or, if it happens, how to survive and quite possibly get back out. It’s free on my blog site, or you can use this link:

      http://www.atmyfriendsplace.com/dl/how-to-live-homeless-the-survival-guide.pdf

      Bill

  92. Leigh Nichols says:

    I am in the middle of reading your book, and I am enthralled! I love your sense of humor and writing style, you remind me so much of my daughter and me. I don’t know how many times I have used the term “survival mode”, and when I saw it in your book, I knew I had found a kindred spirit.

    Having been homeless a few times in my life, I spent most of it teetering on the edge of poverty since I was very small, so that survival mode settled into me at an early age.
    I think what you are doing is wonderful and I hope it prompts even more people to try and solve the problem of homelessness across the entire world.

    You are a remarkable young lady- thank you so much for writing this wonderful book. I have also sent you a friend request on Facebook and sincerely hope you will consider saying yes :)

  93. Michael says:

    I won’t bore you with the details, but there were two separate occasions (once for a year and another for 3 years) in which i found myself homeless after losing jobs. I was fortunate enough to gain employment again, but not until I was on the streets and certainly not paying enough to secure lodging. I had to keep my situation private from co-workers because of the shame I felt. I would probably still feel ashamed to this day and not be able to admit what I felt what failure on my part had I not discovered writing which forced me to confront my feelings. I consider myself lucky knowing that so many never escape the cycle and maybe your book will help even just a few. I felt like there was nobody else in town who shared my plight. Had a book like yours been around when I was having a rough go, perhaps the emotional scars wouldn’t have run as deep.

    • lia says:

      michael… i understood your shame, there is a big amount of people that it judge homelessness as “unadapted beings” cause until now they was promoting their life decisions as the right ones.
      But think that maybe this recesion is changing it, they may see was wrong lie in finances to fake symbols of power; and they may feel how that destroyed many peoples lives.
      Maybe now people start understanding that is normal to loose balance and attachements, that is also a mutual responsability to do pay attention to other human beings and contempt them.
      In this moment that experience of yours is going to let you have much more positive impact in your community.
      I’m unemployed, no + benefits, no family, no savings, lose car, no drugs, alcohol, smoke, few friends left… still dreaming that one day we are going to discover how to provide right tools for homeless to have back our human dimension.

  94. Angel C says:

    Thank you so very much for sharing your REAL story! We need to hear stories like yours and again THANK YOU! Stand strong, walk tall and proud!

  95. Mary says:

    Wow, just finished the book. What ever happened to Matt? I hope Brianna moves on and forgets him.

  96. Wendy Brown says:

    I saw your article on Yahoo, and my husband bought your book for me for my birthday (on May 27 :) . I’m nearly finished and enjoying your really optimistic attitude. When I got to the part where your trailer had been towed and then, your car broke down, I nearly cried for you.

    Thank you for your willingness to share your story. I’ve recently published a book, too, and the hardest part, for me, has been dealing with people who read what they think I’m saying without really reading what I’m saying and then, end up being unnecessarily judgmental and harsh. I completely related to the part where you say that 90% of the reactions to your story were positive, but you tended to fixate on that 10%. That’s me, too ;) . It’s tough putting oneself out there, and you’ve done it on a much deeper level than I did with my book (because mine is not a memoir, but something completely different).

    At any rate, thank you, again, for sharing your story, and I hope your book will be the catalyst to propel you out of homelessness. I am happy to contribute to your cause ;) .

    Best wishes – Wendy

  97. Julie says:

    I just finished your book (and yes, I bought it;););). Way to go. I was so curious about the Homeless Tales website that I looked it up on the The Wayback Machine and found old blogs and posts from captures done between 2008-2010…it was also very interesting to see posts by some of the people you have referenced in your book (e.g Cynthia). Thanks for sharing your story! ( http://wayback.archive.org/web/ ) Best of luck to you! :)

  98. Wendy B aka Froggy says:

    Coming from a former on the street/couch surfer/friend surfer homeless person in Baltimore, who is still living in a space created by a gracious friend…I want to say how much your story reminded me of me…and how much it has inspired me to KEEP MOVING forward.

    I have battled so much, as like many others…but the biggest that I had to overcome was the judgment that I’m not a true homeless person, because some of the week I have a roof over my head…but about 15 addresses, and until 3 mos ago…no vehicle…so now that’s a rolling roof!

    I wish you nothing but the best… and your book was spectacular…

    you are strong and beautiful and your work WILL help others.

    You are loved, you are Love and you love! those are 3 truths!

    A fan on the East coast!
    -wendy

  99. Rachel says:

    I read your book and loved it. I think you shared the story of your life as well as the things you learned along the way of being homeless with real flare. I read your book in one day with barely a pause I just was so caught up in it. I saw myself in your words as well as others I know and was glad to see you finding such a bright future for yourself. Don’t let the critics get you down you have open eyes and changed minds. I hope to see more books by you and will definitely be following your blog from now on.

  100. laury post says:

    Hi Brianna,
    i am not that educated and certainly don’t read books. My book club friends invite me and my response, “if it’s that great they will make it into a movie”. I was in B&N buying my daughter a book and walked past yours. I don’t why I stopped because I walked past several other books that day. I felt something looking at your book. First of all for me to buy a book is huge. Second to actually read it cover to cover life changing. I have a rule if i do read a book it has to be true no fiction. I am almost 45 and no time to waste on fantasy life is getting shorter and I am trying to learn as much as I can before I make the big exit. I read the way to almost the end and couldn’t believe what I was reading. I thought for sure I had read it wrong. I was crushed at the ending. So I can only imagine how you felt. I think you are amazing!!!! My daugther is only 9 but when she is old enough I will let her read your book. I want her to see what a wonderful example you are. So strong even in worst of times you keep going. This is the quality I hope my daughter will always possess. I can leave this world knowing she is strong like you and can take care of herself. Although my spirit will be with her forever. Thank you for this life changing experience . Wishing you much peace and light for your future Brianna. A big fan from Wisconsin.

  101. laury post says:

    Hi Brianna,
    i am not that educated and certainly don’t read books. My book club friends invite me and my response, “if it’s that great they will make it into a movie”. I was in B&N buying my daughter a book and walked past yours. I don’t why I stopped because I walked past several other books that day. I felt something looking at your book. First of all for me to buy a book is huge. Second to actually read it cover to cover life changing. I have a rule if i do read a book it has to be true no fiction. I am almost 45 and no time to waste on fantasy life is getting shorter and I am trying to learn as much as I can before I make the big exit. I read the way to almost the end and couldn’t believe what I was reading. I thought for sure I had read it wrong. I was crushed at the ending. So I can only imagine how you felt. I think you are amazing!!!! My daugther is only 9 but when she is old enough I will let her read your book. I want her to see what a wonderful example you are. So strong even in worst of times you keep going. This is the quality I hope my daughter will always possess. I can leave this world knowing she is strong like you and can take care of herself. Although my spirit will be with her forever. Thank you for this life changing experience . Wishing you much peace and light for your future Brianna. A big fan from Wisconsin.

  102. Jenn says:

    Hi Bri!!
    it is truly great to “kinda” meet you. i tell you honestly, stood there one day. walking around. wondering what am i going to do. I came across a yard sale. The lady having the yard sale was complaining to a friend that i over heard on the phone. that she had not made any money. she truly did not have much to sell, but i could see that she needed the money. all i had in my pocket was 50 cents. all i had to my name. so… i look around i found a bin of books. i love to read. certain things i love to read :) hahaa. i came across your book. THE GIRLS GUIDE TO HOMELESSNESS A MEMIOR …. i got a little teary. books were 5 for 100 or a 25 cents a piece. it personally was the best 25 cents i have ever spent on a book!!! truly!!

    i read i giggled i cried & truly felt so much in your shoes & how you feel that glimmer of hope to only have it be a ray of sunshine. i once started a blog. i felt short on words. nobody would want to read what i would have to say. a few close friends say otherwise but i think they are just those supportive gurus we keep by our side :)

    i just want you to know… THANK YOU :) for 100% i truly felt like someone else for once understood how i feel. homeless people can have a laptop & cell phone. why shall we have nothing left to our name?? stripped enough of our dignity but not loosing our respect & pride in the process. where my family like yours does not understand my choices & ridicule me for mine.

    i will cherish this book for a long time to come! :) i wish you all the blessings you could possiblity hope for because you deserve it!! your truly a great beautiful soul <3

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