The ProjectPartnersPressThe Exhibit

Jewell:  My name is Jewell and I am 33 years old and last night I stayed at the Francis Drake Hotel.

Arnett: And my name is Arnett and I am 46 years old and last night I also stayed at the Drake Hotel.  The reason why I became homeless is a long time ago I made a mistake in life, about twenty-six years ago with some friends.  Because of my actions and my choice, I became homeless.  I chose to live a lifestyle that wasn’t good.  Then I became a little older and I realized that mistake was still with me and it is still with me right now.  No matter how good I have been since that mistake, it is still held against me.  I guess I am going to my grave with that.  When I go for a job they always tell me I am over-qualified.  I don’t know how you can be over-qualified for a dishwashing position when there should not be any qualifications.  It is a primary instinct, it is not analytical.  You know: you wash it, you spray it off and you put it in the machine.  I am over qualified? 

Jewell:  I am just trying to get in the door.  I am trying to get back in the medical field, but it is like a vicious cycle.  I want to go back to school to be a nurse anesthetist, but I don’t have the funds for school.  If you don’t have education you can’t get the job.  If you don’t have a job you can’t get an apartment.  If you can’t get an apartment then you are stuck in the shelter.  And it is like – when does the cycle end? 

Jewell:  I would like to tell people who become homeless: it is what you make it.  It’s okay to have a pity party for a minute, but then you need to get up and dust yourself off and move forward.  Pick yourself up and go because there is a whole life out there.  Beyond the four walls you are sitting in and it is out there for you to grab it so you need to get up and go get it. 

Arnett:  I’m not going to let this pull me down.  I am not going to let whatever they use to hinder me.  I am going to continue to press forward.