Their Shoes #15

Peter received his winter boots from the shelter.

What is your biggest struggle with poverty on a daily basis?

“Well, right now, it’s money and a place to live. I live in a triplex. I’ve lived there for years with no problems. There was a fire in one of the other units. My place was fine. No damage from the fire. Just some smoke damage, you know? But, when there’s a fire, hydro is automatically cut off.”

“I have two choices. Pay $525 for an inspection to be done now or wait until the hydro company decides to send someone around to do the job in a few weeks. Meanwhile, it’s winter and I’ve no hydro.”

“I’m staying in my unit anyways. I can’t afford to lose my stuff. If I leave, I know my place will get broken into. I caught someone last night trying to break in. They probably thought, with the fire in the other unit, well, no one is home, right? No lights are on. I heard the guy. Chased him away. I got the guy’s bike. I’m hanging on to it. See if he tries to come back for it.”

“I gotta do what I gotta do. I have a 20-year-old daughter that lives with me. The Red Cross put us up in a motel for three nights. That helped. So, now I’m selling my stuff. Like these watches. I hate to let them go but I need to cough up $525 somehow. I want my hydro back on. It’s not too bad there when I pile up all the blankets and have my cat cuddled close beside me. But, I can’t stay under the covers forever.”

What would you like people to know about living in poverty?

“It can happen to you. You can be wiped out overnight. Trust me. My brother-in-law owned the triplex. He sold it just last week. He had no mortgage so no insurance. You know how the insurance is attached to the mortgage. Then, there was the fire. The deal fell through. The buyer wasn’t going to pay for a burned out house. See what I mean? You can be wiped out overnight. Just like that.”

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