by Jessica Renae
On a misty Sunday morning in Eureka, Angela Thompson, 35, and her husband, Jared Jowett, 22, shared with me their story.
I started out in Wyoming, working in the gas and oil industry. I started on my own company and was general manager of another one, making about $150,000 a year. One day, I stopped in a Pilot Flying J truck stop to get an energy drink and found this big guy sitting under a tree. (Thompson laughs and looks over at Jowett.) I asked him and a couple of his friends if they wanted to go for a ride, took them all with me and married him seven days later.
The oil field decided to move to North Dakota so we lost the work and didn’t have the ability to pay all the bills. So with him having four years experience in traveling, I decided since he tried out my world, the house, the money and all those things, it was time for me to go try out his world so we would have a better understanding of each other. So I went home free and we started traveling.
We ended up hitchhiking into Texas and met a really neat couple who let us sleep in their camper in the front yard while remodeling their bedroom. They were evangelists and spoke in tongues to us and told us we were being called to ministry. We met three different evangelistic people on our journey who got our wheels turning, thinking maybe we were here for a higher purpose. So we headed for Redding where there was a bible college we were told we were supposed to attend. We had it rough there so we hitchhiked to Arcata and have been in Humboldt for about a month.
We found out we are pregnant two and a half months ago in Texas, so we decided to make Eureka home. We’ve been trying to find jobs and use all the local resources, but it’s proven to be really hard to get a job here. There are great resources for food like St. Vincent de Paul, CalWorks, CalFresh and some churches; you’re not going to go hungry here. But finding a job and actually getting a place has been extremely difficult.
We’ve been going to Betty Chinn’s Day Center because she’s got resources there to get your resume together and has a lot of job postings up. I just got done applying for a general management position at a Motel 6 that I am definitely qualified for, but it just matters how open minded the employers are since I’m homeless and trying to get back on my feet.
There are some housing resources here for families like RCAA and MAC, but they don’t do dogs and we’re not giving up our dog, Anchor. We are trying to get into the Winter Shelter program and have an interview with them soon. It’d be nice to get into that so we can wake up with a shower, comb and a mirror in the morning, so we can look presentable for an interview.
In Texas, the people were extremely kind to us, but it seems like here people are just bombarded by homeless people wanting things and they all pretty much give you the cold shoulder. They’re tired of seeing it. It’s something in their daily life. Other places you go it’s not so in your face, people are kind of interested when they see you like I wonder what their story is. Whereas here, they automatically just have their opinion because they see so much of it.
For me, who’s not from the streets, not a drug addict, being out here has been kind of hard because I see so many young kids who are addicted to meth, heroin and other drugs, and I wish there was something that could be done to help. It’s nice to see programs for people who are under 21, like social events and different things to keep people entertained but it’d be nice to see resources for people over 21. It’d be nice to open up something with a bowling alley, pool tables and coffee. Just to have something constructive to do and keep people’s minds off of this sadness out here. It just seems like a lot of people are hopeless out here, just frustrated on not being able to get what they want.