What's the poorest you've ever been?
Asked by Jane Belanger
April 14, 2010
From Pacific Beach (Production Assistant)
The poorest I’ve ever been was when I was living on the streets and I was stealing food from the Vons store. I was homeless. I was a tweaker for a little bit, and I was completely and totally homeless on the street. I was living in a bush. So, that was fun! Basically, the thing that I can do to never be in that place again is to just stay sober.
From Del Cerro (Potter)
I’ve been pretty poor. I’ve had to ask people for money to pay bills and things, lived with my in-laws for years, and things like that. But you know what? I’ve always had something to eat. I’ve always had someplace to sleep. I’ve never been turned out because I didn’t have a place to live. I’ve always had food somehow; never gone hungry for lack of money. Compared to some people, I have never been really poor.
From Bay Ho (Between Jobs)
When I was first going to school in Santa Barbara and had just moved there. I didn’t have a car. We had a couple people to a room, I was going to school, and I was getting up at, like, 3:30 in the morning to help unload trucks at some paint store or something like that. I was out there unloading paint with, like, homeless people, and it was $20 a day or something like that I’d make. I’d take the bus and go to school. I was lucky to find a job soon after that, waiting tables, and it paid pretty good. But for a while there it was, like, ugh.…
From City Heights (Canvasser)
Right now! I was planning on going to Africa for a year, and I had pretty much cleaned out my bank account and sold my car so I could go on this volunteer trip for a year. Well, I got scammed by the African mafia and lost everything. They had gotten these emails from a legitimate organization, a travel agency, and somehow they scammed over five people; I was one of the five. I had just gotten out of high school, pretty much, so I was pretty dumb about how I went about it. Looking back at the emails and stuff, there’s all kinds of red flags, and I’m, like, Why didn’t I catch this?
From City Heights (Sandwich Maker)
When I was a little kid we had nothing. I grew up in San Diego back in the day...Logan Heights area, so it was pretty bad. I wasn’t aware of it back then; now I am. It’s hard to know the difference when you grow up in it — unless you had a different lifestyle and then became unfortunate enough to become poor. You don’t realize…everything seems fine. It’s not until you’re older that you realize how it has affected you. There’s probably so many ways it’s affected me that I still don’t even realize. It’s definitely given me more perspective on life. I place less value on material things than a lot of other people do.
From South Park (Nonprofit Work)
I had three dollars for groceries for me and my daughter for a week. I was living in Ocean Beach. But my daughter talks about that time very fondly, and she remembers exactly what we bought. She was about eight or nine, and I was in college. I was in between student loans, and that’s all that we had, like, three bucks! We talked about it; she absolutely knew what was going on.