My name is Gerald. I am 49 years old. Last night I stayed at Salvation Army Housing.
I was born in International Falls and we lived in a Quonset hut, an old Quonset hut. All the windows were broken out. The toilet always plugged, a blanket across the bathroom door. It was an old style Quonset hut. And from there, that’s why I went into the foster home.
They weren’t the nicest people; that’s where I got my PTSD from. You know, it took me sixteen years to figure out why this woman kept slapping me and asking me her name and I was like, ‘Gladys’ and she was like [slapping sound] ‘What’s my name?’ And it took me ‘til like almost seventeen to figure out she must’ve wanted me to call her Mom and I wasn’t gonna call her Mom, you know. No way, at that age. I wasn’t even--I was in kindergarten when you make your little handprints in the round clay thing.
I was livin’ in my truck when I was eighteen in the winter, wrapped up in a sleeping bag, two rolls of carpet, in the back of my truck and I literally, I was still froze. But luckily I had a family that let me stay in the drive way so I could come in the morning and clean up, get some breakfast. So I got lucky there. I’ve been homeless quite off and on since then.
From my childhood, from all the stuff I went through, and the struggles I went through in life is way more than most people, you know, experience. But you get to a point where you just want to give up and I was at that point down here, you know and that’s why I started seeing a psychologist, a therapist.
This community has given me so much. Like when Bev, she helped me out she said ‘Good Luck to you’ and I said, ‘Oh no. Give me a hug.’ I was just, ‘Give me a hug! I don’t want no shake hands. I don’t want Have a good day. Give me a hug!’