“I have to be strong.”

Casey's mom visits a pantry in the TenderloinCasey Walter (left) lives in a supportive housing facility in the Tenderloin with her mother, Jessie, and her siblings. Jessie shared her story with us in a recent interview:

I’ve lived here in the Tenderloin for three years. We were homeless and there was a lady officer who fought for us to get housed here in this building. It was myself and their father, my oldest girl Casey and my son Dylan. My youngest, Kayla, I had after we moved in here.

We had been living in Clear Lake and their daddy was working down here. Then, the trailer we were living in was red-tagged – that means it was declared uninhabitable. So we had to get out. And then we came down here and he was working and we were living in the car. He was working in a window factory. But then he got laid off.

I’m not going to lie to you. I’m on welfare. Their daddy left us and I couldn’t get a job. I went like, two or three months without anything and I couldn’t wait anymore, so I applied for welfare. I mean, I got my kids. I have to be there for them. I have to do it. I have to be strong for them. Because their daddy is gone. There’s no way he’s coming back. He’s in jail now.

It’s nice here, the people are really nice. But this is a terrible place to raise kids. My two oldest are school age and I need to get them out of this neighborhood. I need to get them away from everyone their daddy knows and the things they see.

I hope I can find a job as a waitress. That’s the only kind of job I’ve ever had. In the meantime, the food bank is really helpful. My little one really likes the carrots. That’s her favorite, she’s really into carrots right now. My son, he’s more into rice and bread and things like that. I try to piece things together for them that’ll make them all happy. Like tonight, I’m going to make sloppy joes. I got some sauce from the food bank here and I went to the store for the meat, and that should get us though the week.

What can I say? It’s just really hard to get by.

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2 Responses

  1. Hello,

    I do not fully understand how to survive or raise children in the Tenderloion. I was honored enough to have taken part in 5 day class in SF Tenderlion distict; where we were introduced to the private sector and public human services offered in the Tenderlion.

    My prayers are with you and your children. Assisted aid is nothing to be ashamed of it is designed to help citizens in need. I was on aide myself years ago. Best wishes to you in your pursuit of being a waitress. I believe you will be an awesome one! Perhaps someday maybe you may consider going back to school; it’s never too late.

  2. Yes, it is indeed hard to get by these days. You said “I’m not going to lie to you. I’m on welfare.” No need to feel bad about that. We all pay our taxes knowing that any of us (except for the very wealthy) could hit a rough patch and need that same safety net. I am glad that it’s there to help those who need it. In the meantime, those of us who have a little extra are happy to help by giving to the food bank. It is great that your little one likes the carrots. Hopefully, this will lead to a lifetime of healthy eating! Best of luck to you and your kids, and their father as well.

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