Listen to Eunsoo C.

Eunsoo is in high school in Washington state.

What caused you to experience homelessness?

I became homeless due to my stepfather’s abusive actions. I hated my life because I was constantly getting scared to even hear his voice. I ended up running away from home.

What kinds of places did you stay when you were homeless?

I stayed at my friends’ houses and it only lasted for a short amount of time, since it was hard to just live at a friend’s house without contributing anything. Also, I always had to feel left alone or lonely, abandoned. I got sick of feeling this way and had to change my environment constantly.

Did you move around a lot when you were homeless, and if so, why?

I think it was because I didn’t know how to become someone else’s family, since I didn’t really have a stable family to go to. If I knew how to fit in, it could have been better, but I wasn’t mentally or emotionally stable after moving around so many times.

What were some of the hardest things about staying with other people, or staying in a motel? How did it affect your physical health, your safety, your mental health and emotions, and your ability to focus on education?

One of the hardest things was getting over the fact that I am just a stranger. Since I was homeless, I moved around a lot, and making new friends to stay with was so hard sometimes. Yet, I needed a place to stay, so they would offer me to stay with them for a certain period of time, and it always felt like they were going to tell me to leave if I ever made a mistake. So I just studied really hard, but then they thought I didn’t want to be friendly with them…Or, I worked full time, which made them think I am making enough money to just be on my own.

Emotionally, I was never stable because of the fact that I wasn’t able to get steady counseling. Also, I was not mentally stable due to the fact that I had nobody to really open up and talk to. After my parents had failed to take care of me, I started shutting my doors on people easily and never talked to people freely. After a while, this cycle of moving around a lot became a natural thing and I had to move around 6 times in 2 months. I didn’t have to switch schools, but sometimes it took the school up to 3 days to figure out my transportation. I had to take buses to get to school but when I got lost, I just couldn’t go. Missing school days made me get behind in school and stressed me out even more. After going through the same situation over and over again, I felt like dropping out of school a lot of times.

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About the photos: Photos of children and youth experiencing homelessness provided by Diane Nilan, HEAR US Inc., used with permission. (c) 2012, Diane Nilan, HEAR US Inc.