Fourteen months ago, Aurora resident Prentiss Bailey was going about happily living his life as usual.
He was employed at a printing company where he’d worked for 10 years—a job that paid $17 an hour and that with the consistent overtime and $4,000 and $5,000 annual Christmas bonuses he got, enabled him to take care of his family and enjoy what he considered a middle income life.
Today, he and his 10-year–old daughter live in a homeless shelter.
“I had a job; we had what we needed,” said Bailey, as he sat inside the Hesed House shelter in Aurora where he now resides.“I was able to pay my rent. We were middle class.”
That was before he was laid off 13 months ago.
“Now there’s a lack of opportunity, a lack of jobs,” he said. “I didn’t think it would be this hard finding another job.”
Bailey, who for the first time in his life is receiving public aid, has lived at the shelter for about five months. Initially, he and his daughter slept on mattresses in a gymnasium-like room with others. Now the two share a small room in the transitional housing section of the shelter furnished with bunk beds.
“It was hard at first, but I’m glad I took that step,” he said, noting he’s receiving guidance on getting back on his feet from a case worker at Hesed House. He plans to enroll in truck driver training program to improve his prospects of landing work.
Not all losses have the same significance. Too many writers have forgotten that.