SSP 1: Carol Wachniak

Carol was living in the suburbs of Chicago when her family suddenly became homeless overnight. Through no fault of their own, they lost their home and had to find a way to survive. Carol shares the struggles they went through as well as the life lessons that shape who she is today.

For more information about the services that the Salvation Army provides, visit http://www.salvationarmyusa.org/usn/housing-and-homeless-services

SSP 0: Nichole Anne Carpenter of Street Stories Podcast

Hey everyone, I’m Nichole Anne Carpenter, and I want to thank you for joining me for the very first episode of Street Stories Podcast. Every week, I will be interviewing people who have experienced homelessness in America. Each interview will be inspiring, as we will be telling a personal experience and will be sharing practical ways that you can make a difference. I am excited that we will be producing a new 20-minute episode every week.

Each episode will start with a brief introduction of our guest, followed by their personal story of homelessness. The stories will always include a life lesson. Our guests will go into detail about what led to them becoming homeless, what their daily life was like during that time, and what their greatest challenge was.

We all need a hand at some point in our lives and our guests will share how someone helped them and will give you inspiration for how you can help someone else.

We will end each episode with a prayer for those experiencing homelessness and for those committed to making a difference.

Now that I’ve told you a little about the show, I want to share with you why I created Street Stories Podcast.  3 years ago, I left my corporate job and decide to become an entrepreneur. I wasn’t sure what exactly I wanted to do, I just knew that I want to make a difference in the world. I launched multiple companies and met amazing people who shaped me and guided me on my journey. Finally, I decided to pursue my passion of educating others about homelessness.

For you to better understand why this is my passion, I will finish this episode with my background. I’m Nichole Anne Carpenter, and I was born in Ogden, Utah but my family moved a lot. Both of my parents were addicted to drugs and alcohol before I was born and this resulted in struggling financially and trouble with the law. When I was 8, my parents and I moved from Utah to California to try to start over near my father’s family. Unfortunately, at this point both of my parents were addicted to heroin. After a few months we were evicted from our home and having burnt ever bridge, we were left with the clothes on our backs and our small pickup truck. For months, we lived out of our truck. We dug through dumpsters, we begged on street corners, and we even stole to get through each day. After a while, we were caught and my parents were arrested for child neglect and I was placed in a state children’s home. Fortunately for me, my grandparents and aunt found out where I was and were able to get temporary custody of me. It was in this environment that I was able to thrive and found a deep faith in God that allowed me to overcome my past and eventually helped my mom to turn her life over to God. After nearly 3 years of limited visitation my mom we were fully reunited. Ever since then we have been passionate about helping others who are experiencing homelessness and addiction. Unfortunately, my father still has not been able to turn his life around and today he continues to suffer from homelessness and mental illness. He is another reason why I am so passionate about addressing homelessness.

 

In my early 20s I worked at a children’s home where I was able to help children that came from difficult circumstances similar to mine.

When I returned home from working there, I had a renewed passion to help the homeless. I have since been able to launch a homeless outreach at my church. We take a team of volunteers out into our community each month where we serve meals and educate people about homelessness.

I know deep within all of us lives a heart of compassion but we often don’t know what we can do to make a difference. In this podcast, we will hear real life stories and learn what actions make a real difference.

I want to thank you again for joining me here at Street Stories Podcast.  I truly hope that one, if not all of the episodes I produce, inspire you.  If you find value here, then click the subscribe button, and give my show a review and (hopefully!) 5 star rating.  This type of support will allow my show to gain the recognition it needs to reach as many people as possible. In turn, we’ll be able to share this incredible free show with the world.

You are going to love the next episode with Carol Wachniak. Her journey is an inspiration to us all.  I’m excited for you to listen, and I’m excited for you to begin your journey.

Who is homeless?

Who is homeless?

A man is sleeping on a dirty slab of cardboard on the sidewalk. He has a bulky coat wrapped around him but holes in his jeans. He is wearing tattered tennis shoes with holes in the bottoms and sides, but no socks.

A young woman bathes and dresses in the gym shower before heading to work and no one knows that she has been sleeping in her car for the last 3 months.

An elderly man is starting next to a freeway off-ramp holding up a side that reads “Homeless Veteran. Anything helps. God Bless.” He paces back on forth along the center median looking for anyone to notice him and provide help.

A woman with two small children walk the streets waiting for the time that the shelter opens and they can get a bed and a meal for the night. She has been looking for work since escaping from an abusive relationship but does not have any childcare during the day.

As you can tell from the above examples, no two people are the same and this is especially true for those facing homelessness. Some people are battling addiction or mental illness. Some have been the victims of abuse or sudden financial hardships. Some sleep on the streets or under bridges, some sleep in cars or shelters, and some are able to stay in motels. Many are veterans, many are employed, and many are children or teens.

If you have any questions about homelessness, please reply and we will answer your question in Street Stories Podcast.