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"The biggest challenge while being homeless is the day-to-day things that people that aren't homeless take for granted: getting a job, getting money saved up to get a place, and having expenses to take care of while you're doing all that."

I left Beckley in 2001, and I moved to Charleston, West Virginia, and went to school at West Virginia State University for 2 years. The last 10 years or so, I have been between Beckley and Charleston.

I've been homeless before, just through financial difficulties [but I'm not currently homeless]. I have experience being in a shelter and the struggles that come along with that.

The biggest challenge while being homeless is the day-to-day things that people that aren't homeless take for granted: getting a job, getting money saved up to get a place, and having expenses to take care of while you're doing all that. Not having transportation to get to work and just eating every day is also difficult. Getting back on your feet is hard when you have no help, and some people are in situations where circumstances are different than a normal person. Just the day-to-day things can be a challenge for a person that's homeless when you don't have resources.

There are people that haven't been homeless that have degrees that struggle to get jobs. Homelessness is a different issue. It's not frustrating in a sense that I can't graduate with a degree because I know I can, but it's just getting to that point where I can. You have to start somewhere, but it's not something that I worry about with the job situation.

I want to have my own business as a freelance web developer, and that's what I'm working toward now. I work two jobs right now, so I'm just trying to survive and get to a point where I can have the career I've always wanted. I want to use my story to be able to help the next person that's been through that trouble so they can see that no matter how far you've gone down, regardless your situation, or how you've been hurting in life, things can get better. That would be my message to everybody – just hold on, don't give up because you're in a bad situation. Things get bad, but things can turn around in your life. Just be grateful for what you do have in life. Through the situations I've been in, I've always had faith. Things might be bad right now, but I've never lost my faith. Things are getting better already. It's just holding on to what you do have and not focusing on what you lack.

More than anything, I like working with people. I love to help people. If I can use my story or things that I've been through - I like giving encouragement to people.

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