CREDOS: Home — I

I thought the worst part of my life was living without my father. He’s in prison and has only been out once for a short period of time since I was born. We hardly know each other, but it’s not from my lack of trying. I wrote to him and sent him pictures of me. He only wrote back a couple of times, and that was a long time ago.

I love my dad, so it’s not easy on me. I’m hoping that when he gets out of prison I can get to know him. I’ll try again. For most teens, having a father in prison would be enough to have to deal with. The day the ceiling in our home fell in proved far worse.

Last year we lived in a rented house, and the landlord neglected the repairs. When the ceiling fell in and destroyed the house, my mom called the landlord. She didn’t even care — she didn’t offer to move us to a different house or fix the roof.

Part of the ceiling fell on me. My left ankle and leg were very swollen. I couldn’t walk for two weeks. The ceiling also hit my neck, so I was in a neck brace for weeks. But the physical pain was nothing compared to the pain of not having a home and not having money to move anywhere else.

Suddenly my mom, my five brothers and sisters, and I were homeless. We had to pack our things and go to the Office of Emergency Shelter Services in Philadelphia. That night was the most terrible night ever. All sorts of people were in one big room filled with cots. Men, women, and children with their own sad stories. —