Stories of Safe Harbor: Mark
Mark says he'd always lived a good life growing up, despite his father's alcoholism and his mother's putting up with it because she didn't want to lose their house. He told me that Safe Harbor has done everything for him that he can't do for himself:
"I go through bipolar depression, ADHD, and have some problems with working. I'm a hard worker, but sometimes the ADHD throws me off. I have an eight-year-old daughter I've been paying support for, but the amount of support I'm paying really puts me in a bind. With the disability--I apply for SSI and SSD--they only give you 24 hours. I'm in a situation where I can get the mental health help, but what happens is I get a job, I lose that, and without being able to hold a job for long periods of time, I lose the social security as well. So, I'm kind of in a circle, a circle that I've been going through for some time. It's been rough. It's only a matter of time before they lock me up again because of it. I can't win. You either get a job and you struggle to go and do anything you can, but the disability seems to cut you off. It's only a matter of time until I can't work; you know, I'll make excuses or whatever and then I have to go back and wait two or three months to get medical, so this whole time I can't et my medication for the bipolar because I have a job and I make too much. Unfortunately when I'm paying $470 in support and a ten dollar-an-hour job, it doesn't leave you with enough to live."
"So how do you keep your spirits up knowing that this is all inevitably going to keep happening and that you'll be locked up again?"
"I honestly don't keep my spirits up. The rough part is everywhere I go, I talk to county officials constantly because I'm doing everything they ask me to do, and every time I ask them that question, they shake their heads and can't give me an answer. That's the way it is. If they choose to put me in for another six months, I have to do that. Eventually I'll get the work release, which they take every penny, so when you get out of jail you have no money to get a place. You come out of jail again being homeless and you're in the same trifle."
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These are the stories of the people of Easton, PA