A couple weeks ago homeless advocate Mark Horvath (aka @hardlynormal) came to town on his national InvisiblePeople.tv road trip. Last year when he came to town I accompanied him to downtown St. Paul as he handed out socks and talked to homeless people, capturing their stories in poignant, uncut videos.
This year we made a shorter trip and talked to fewer people, but it was even more impacting. Because we talked to Ka’e k’e, a 20-year-old homeless pregnant woman. As Mark would say (and did say), I’m wrecked.
Her story is hard to watch because she’s so painfully honest. She’s pregnant because for a while she was couch surfing, and at times that meant survival sex was the only thing keeping a roof over her head. That’s right, men would tell her to take her clothes off or get out, and in the middle of a Minnesota winter walking out the door doesn’t seem like a good choice. As a result, she doesn’t know who the father of her child is.
She says she doesn’t believe in abortion, so here she is, pregnant and homeless at the Dorothy Day Center in downtown St. Paul. That says something about what pro-life advocates need to be doing.
She also admits to doing drugs, even though she knows it isn’t good for the baby. When Mark confronts her, she says it’s hard not to turn to something when you’re under such stress. I don’t condone what she’s doing, but I understand it. A hard day with the kids and I turn to food and drink as comfort. Others turn to alcohol and in worse conditions I can imagine turning to drugs seeming like a good idea. It’s obviously a horrible idea, but you try living on the street and not wanting a little escapism.
Ka’e k’e also has a 5-year-old son out there. I don’t know the story there, but I can imagine. She also has a family out there somewhere—some kind of family.
This is the reality of homelessness in America.
When I told Yeshumnesh about meeting Ka’e k’e, she said her heart was worried. I had to explain Mark’s concept of being wrecked. Because that’s what this story is.
Homelessness is real. Ka’e k’e is someone’s daughter. She’s someone’s mother. And her and millions of others like her need help.
Watch her story, open your eyes and do something.