From Homeless to a Home

Profile of Aida Peery

Aida Peery

First of all, I’ve got to say that God is so good and I want to thank Bethany House/N Street Village for giving me the opportunity to have a place I can call home. It feels good to have a home.

The first week of living in my efficiency I slept a bit longer, probably because I kept waking up in the middle of the night thinking I was dreaming that I was in my own place.

Now, every morning when I get out of bed, I drop to my knees and thank God for waking me up, giving me the wonderful blessing of a home. I also ask God to bless other men, women and families, that they might also have homes.

Homeless shelters are a good thing, but they can also be a bad thing too. Speaking from my own experience there are some shelters — and I’m not going to say which ones — where the inexperienced paid staff members don’t know how to treat the clients.

The reason why you see some people sleeping on benches, parks, near train stations, etc. is that they have not been treated with respect. The irony is, some of these paid staff members at the shelters want to be treated with respect, but they show no respect to the clients.

The D.C. Department of Human Services (DHS) has done plethora of work for the chronic homeless men and women throughout the city, and I would like to give them a standing ovation.

The people at DHS aren’t talking about creating more shelters. They would rather give homes to people who want them and are in need. What is needed is more help from the U.S.Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) in building housing complexes affordable to people looking for work, or working at low-wage jobs.

Those folks you see on park benches, bus depots etc. are waiting for the miracle of someone to say to them, “Hey I got a home for you to go to.” When that happens you will see those parks, bus depots, train stations, churches cleared of people sleeping.

When I first moved into my efficiency, Bethany House provided me a starter set of dishes, utensils and pots and pans, a whole set of sheets for my bed, a TV converter box, and a towel and washcloth.

God is good and so is Bethany House because Bethany didn’t have to provide that to me. Offering me an apartment is good enough for anyone. Bethany House could have said, we provided her a home and our job is done. But Bethany House went beyond making me and others who live in the same building to make sure we had on the essential things a person would need until they are able to provide more for themselves.

After two and half years of living in and out of shelters, tents, bus depots, and parks during some cold and warm days, it was hard to get use to the fact that I actually had a home. Trust and believe me it didn’t take me long to realize it. I had to get my mind and body back to a schedule because my only source of income is still selling and writing articles in Street Sense.

I still get up early in the morning to fix some coffee, breakfast and turning on the TV on to watch the news. Lately, I’ve been working on getting back on schedule to start selling my Street Sense papers in the early morning when I’m not looking for a steady job.

I’m also working with “N Street Village” Employment and Education Community (EEC) and going through a 10 week workshop to improve my chances of looking for employment and to make myself go back to school for a certification in hopes of being more marketable in my field.

You would think eight years of college with a graduate degree in information systems with a 3.83 GPA would be enough to find a job. So, now I have to do some serious meditation and drink some energy juice and pray to God to get my mindset on some certifications in my field.

Lanie, who is an intern for Street Sense, took some pictures of my new apartment. She wanted to take some pictures of the building and I decided that wasn’t necessary.

I used to live at Second and D Street NW, known as Creative Community for Non-Violence (CCNV) and at Harriet Tubman.

If I want folks to know exactly where I live I will tell them, and there are some I just don’t want to know due to my safety and to others who happens to live in the same building as me.

I also want to give thanks to all my loyal customers for supporting me by buying the Street Sense paper from me because again Street Sense is my only source of income right now.

I want to also give thanks to Roy and Linda for each giving me a housewarming gift card.


Issues |Living Unsheltered|Shelters

Region |Washington DC

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We believe ending homelessness begins with listening to the stories of those who have experienced it.