What Living in a Homeless Shelter Looks like from a Teen’s Perspective.

Written by Chad Odufuwa

Chad is a creative thinker, a high school student, and freelance writer from Amarillo, TX. Chad also loves fashion, and Art.

Plenty of people suggest that they know what it would be like to be homeless – some might even say it’s not so bad – well I would have to say differently and I unlike most have been homeless.

The first thought that goes through a lot of people’s minds when it comes to being homeless are shelters and that some of the homeless sleep under bridges, etc. It wasn’t easy because being a teenager one of the things you enjoy most in life is coming home to a personal space and something that you can call yours. When¬†your homeless you even have to change your vocabulary, one of the things you can’t say is, “I wanna go home”.

In talking to a few women while being in the shelter, I found a few people that shared similar sentiments. There was a lady named Tracy who was staying there with one child; she was 20 and saw the shelter as another jail house. She tried to intimidate the other women so that for the time she was there she was seemingly respected. Even when doing the chores that the Salvation Army requires residents to do, she would continue to argue or push other women as she saw fit for her purpose.

Another woman I talked to was just someone trying to get by, she was there because her driver’s license had expired and couldn’t get a job. She said the staff there would talk down to her and one night she had arrived 4 min before they lock doors and wasn’t allowed in. It was quite sad actually – she also said that she had asked a worker for a blanket and sheets and was refused because it was past lights out.

My experience with the workers was not as bad as hers but I was maybe looked at differently and I didn’t like it but there was nothing I could do. I was staying there and it was in a way a privilege so I was polite. Staying at a shelter is just as bad a you would think it would be. Maybe it’s just me who thinks it’s better to have your own home and to know you were safe, able to eat when you wanted and not have a curfew etc.

All the things you can’t do in a shelter because you never know who is staying there and what might happen. At the end of the day it comes down to that you have a roof over your head and you are provided with food at certain times, the truth be told; there’s truly no place like home.




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