My fellow-Hippo and I don’t have a huge amount of money, like most people don’t have. I do not consider us poor, but we couldn’t live of our own money. Because of our disabilities and chronic illnesses, we can’t work, not even 2 hours a day. There seems to be this image to people blessed with being able to work and healthier bodies than ours, who think that this is like a vacation. Who wouldn’t want to get paid for doing nothing? Well, me for example. And it is not like the real situation at all. Because of our age and school/work history we fall into this gap. There is a lot of discrimination against “people like us”, as you might know. Because of this stigma that says we deserve this ‘punishment’ and that we are lazy, it’s hard to get any kind of financial support from the government. We have a little bit together, but they might take that away, just like they took away the financial support from my fellow Hippo, just because they are trying to save money. Let’s say that we have 500 dollars a month, which I’m not saying that we do, I’m just giving an example. All that money would be spend on rent. Then we still have insurances, taxes, food, electricity, treatments and medication that isn’t covered and a lot more stuff. And no things for fun, which are very important for your quality of life. The experience of living instead of surviving. I think it helps against (the risk of getting) depression too (please note: you can get depression when you have things in your life that other would consider luxury or fun).
I don’t consider us poor, because sometimes I can do something fun, which I know a lot of people can’t. Our rent goes to the health care provider, because we rent our home from them. They get a lot more money than just our rent, because they get thousands a month for our health care (which they don’t provide). We’re stuck, because we can’t afford to move. If you want to move to social housing, you need prove that you have a salary, which we don’t. And the rents are usually higher than 500 a month, which if we have that amount a month, then we still need more for food and other basic needs. But we need better care, which we won’t get as long as we live here. And we can’t live without care, it is not a luxury for us. But a house is one of the most important things you need and it is way more difficult to get than you might think.
We have been homeless, my fellow Hippo and I. And when I was a child I sometimes had to sleep on the streets, because it wasn’t safe at home or because I was kicked out. I really don’t want to live on the streets again, but we can get kicked out any moment and we have been living like this for many, many years. Frankly, the stress every day is just too much really. I want to have this big bag stuffed with things in case we need to leave asap. Because of the contract we had to sign, we can be kicked out the same day for no real reason. They’ve already tried it many times and I’ve been able to stop them so far.
When you are in need of daily care, there are not many options to live in a home. Usually uou have to live in an institution or hospital or other group (please note that relationships are usually not allowed, so my partner and I would have to seperate just to get a roof over our heads). I’ve lived like that many years and I don’t want to live like that anymore. I’ll write a blogpost on that too some other time. Sometimes I think: everyone is allowed to live on their own, but somehow we aren’t. And without an address, you can hardly do anything. What is one of the main things you need to fill in on forms? Your address. Without a roof over your head, you can’t have a bank account, or insurance, or get financial support, or get health care etc. Etc.
Sadly, most people don’t recognize the urgence of the situation, like when my fellow Hippo was homeless. Kicked out of his house, because his parents didn’t want a disabled child, because the disgrace was too much for them to bear??? Nobody would give him a home, they would say: he has parents, he can live with them. Or: he should change himself so he can follow their orders etc. Etc. They just wouldn’t understand. But it is possible that you are kicked out by family for good. And that you can become homeless. And it is so difficult to get help once you’re homeless.
When I see someone who seems homeless, I really want to help them. I want to bring them to my house and let them stay there, but I’m not allowed to do that (if I do that, I will lose my roof). And so far the only person I was willing to lose my roof for, was my fellow Hippo. And if necessary I will do that again. We will stay together, no matter what. I just really hope it won’t go that way…