Duluth woman learns about homelessness by becoming homeless

Christie Gingles of Duluth says she has a new understanding and compassion for the homeless; being homeless will do that to a person.

She got sick last year. Then got sicker. Mold forced her out of her home and she found it too expensive to find rental housing in the city. With only a part-time job and no homeowner’s insurance, she couldn’t fix up the place.

When she moved into an apartment, it also had mold. She lost her rent money, and the deposit.

So she lived out of her car.

Since her story aired Monday on KBJR, she’s found shelter with a women’s cooperative, she says in a follow-up story.

What did she learn about homelessness?

“I’ve learned how hard it is,” she said. “I’ve learned how stressful it is. I’ve learned how much work it is.”

  • RBHolb

    Homelessness is hard, stressful, and a lot of work. Notice how she doesn’t say it was “ennobling” or “liberating.”

    Every so often, a piece will appear where someone makes a choice to experience poverty. They will “go poor” for awhile, either out of a real interest or to prove a point. What these paupers for a week can’t get is the stress that comes from utter hopelessness. If I’m going to live on the street for a week ,a month, or a year just to show I can do it, I know that it’s all going to come to an end. I can look forward to going back to my normal, relatively comfortable life. Heck, if it’s really bad, I can just quit and pretend it never happened.

    Ms. Gingles is talking about her reality. She didn’t choose to become homeless, it was foisted upon her. It didn’t happen all at once, but after a succession of bad events. There was no fixed end date when she could go to her real home and write up her experiences for an online magazine. The frustrations of trying to make things better for herself and not being able to are almost as crushing as a physical ailment.

    I’m glad she has found better shelter than her Jeep. I wish her well, and I hope that she gets hope of her own.