CRESTVIEW — Monica Morris, who has been homeless for about eight months, said some people tell her to avoid wasting money on fast food.
“But if you don’t have a refrigerator, you can’t buy meat,” the 41-year-old said. Mostly, “You live off bread and peanut butter and jelly and Ramen noodles.”
On a recent weekday afternoon at the Crestview Area Shelter for the Homeless, Monica and her boyfriend, Dennis Everett, talked about their struggles with homelessness.
They said they became homeless after they had a fight with Dennis’ aunt, who owned the house they used to stay at in Shalimar.
After being forced to move out, the couple slept in their car in a store’s parking lot for a while. More recently, they’ve been sleeping on the back porch of a friend’s house in Crestview.
Dennis does construction work and Monica works in various day labor jobs. They said it’s tough to save enough money to afford their own place.
Monica said she has applied for full-time jobs all over Crestview but hasn’t been hired yet, probably because she doesn't have her own home.
“That’s discrimination, but it happens a lot,” she said.
She and Dennis said besides the need for employers to give jobs to the homeless, landlords need to work with working people who are homeless. And the area needs a lot more affordable housing, they said.
One of the toughest parts of being homeless, Monica said, is "having to swallow my pride. I was very judgmental before I got in this spot. I don’t judge people anymore. There’s a lot of real good-hearted people out here who are homeless.”
She said other people who have it even tougher than her give her hope. For example, she mentions a formerly homeless and still-married man and woman who both must use wheelchairs.
That couple represents the first people the Crestview Area Shelter for the Homeless helped move into a house 10 years ago, said Ann Sprague, the shelter’s president.