What's it like to be homeless? "It sucks." - Brainerd Dispatch, MN
Two men, Rick Robertson and Michael Thomas, both single dads with kids, are receiving help and staying at New Pathways while trying to cope with being homeless.
A single dad, Rick Robertson arrived at New Pathways in July with his two children, 5-year-old Alivia and 6-year-old Brandon. The 43-year-old from Aitkin said he had no place to go and couldn't find low-income housing. A car mechanic, Robertson is losing his sight and is now receiving disability. He estimated he could pay $300 for rent. He said coming to the shelter was a hard decision to make.
"You always provide for your kids, you know, makes it hard to come in," Robertson said, especially for fathers. "But I'm glad I did ... You got to do it for the kids, that's about it, to get them a better life."
Michael Thomas, 42, drove a truck for 18 years but said it wasn't a life for a child and when he gained custody of his son Ashton, 9, he got off the road. On his low income, Thomas said he couldn't find a place and was on a waiting list for affordable housing. Bridges of Hope linked him to the New Pathways' shelter. Before coming to the shelter, he was staying in a friend's basement and then on other friends' couches. It took awhile before he thought of himself as homeless. When Thomas thought of homeless people, he envisioned the people living in cardboard boxes or under freeways.
"My first thought was that was going to be me," he said.
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