Journal is powered by Vocal creators. You support Brandi Payne by reading, sharing and tipping stories... more

Journal is powered by Vocal.
Vocal is a platform that provides storytelling tools and engaged communities for writers, musicians, filmmakers, podcasters, and other creators to get discovered and fund their creativity.

How does Vocal work?
Creators share their stories on Vocal’s communities. In return, creators earn money when they are tipped and when their stories are read.

How do I join Vocal?
Vocal welcomes creators of all shapes and sizes. Join for free and start creating.

To learn more about Vocal, visit our resources.

Show less

Where I Came From

To Where I Am Now

Since the age of 14, I had been a runaway and lived most of my life on the streets. I was a prostitute since then because I was too young to get a job. When I turned 19 is when I was introduced to drugs and then the habit took over.

Being homeless was a nightmare at first not knowing where your next meal was going to come from, or where you were going to lay your head down that night and sleep safely. This life was not like I imagined it would be for me.

Soon, I began going to jail for prostitution and trespassing. There were no places out in public for a homeless person to sit without being harassed by the police. It has gotten bad now where if you are homeless and you sit on a bus stop bench, they could take you to jail in most cities.

The trespassing charges came from sleeping in old abandoned buildings or behind dumpsters on the concrete. You weren't allowed to sleep anywhere but in shelters which were too full and were not considered safe in my book.

Women took the chance of being raped or beaten in them, and most of the time you were robbed of your belongings while you slept. It was a nightmare, so I chose to sleep outside and take my chances.

I lived the homeless life for almost 24 years and I am surprised that I am still alive. I came off the streets and back into society back in 2008 when I got married for the second time. He gave me a place to stay, food to eat, and an opportunity to get a job, which I did.

I was given a new lease on life and a fresh start. The one thing that I needed while living out on the streets was a chance and a hand up, not a hand out. No one would help me, even when I begged for it.

Now that I am not out there anymore, I still see the homeless everyday and feel for them. A lot of them that I have spoken to, don't want to be out there. Most people think that the homeless are out there because of drugs or alcohol and that is not entirely true. The drugs and alcohol are the coping mechanisms to being out there.

Most are ashamed of being out there and have lost their dignity and self worth, not to mention they are giving up. I had no one help me, so I had to kick and scream my way out and I made it, but I haven't forgotten where I came from. What life had done to me while I was out there.

I had a crazy idea one day to go back out there and help those that wanted help gain their self-sufficiency back. I went to the library and checked out books on how to start a nonprofit organization. The information was making my head spin, there were so many hoops to jump through.

But, I pushed forward because now it had become my passion to help those still out there that didn't deserve to be out there. I wanted to offer them a hand up. I spent a few months gathering information and then filling out applications for everything I needed.

I had to apply to the IRS for an EIN number and exempt status, then it was applying for all the permits and licenses that I needed to have. It was a lot, but I got it done and now I have a nonprofit organization that assists the homeless and needy families in regaining their self-sufficiency. It is called Hope Station USA, Inc.

We have been in business serving the homeless since 2009. We had an office in the beginning where they could come to get off the streets and sit and watch television in our day room and eat bag lunches. We had clothing donated as well as office furniture and supplies.

We were in business assisting them and we have a few success stories that have gained up some popularity, not to mention that I walked from Orlando, Florida, on my way to Los Angeles to show my support, but only made it to Texas because my Treasurer got sick and we had to go back.

Now we are a mobile unit serving Florida and Georgia for now. We are looking for buildings or land that someone could donate to us so that we may continue our efforts and hopefully one day soon with some land, build tiny homes in a fenced-in community to allow the homeless to have somewhere safe to live.

That is my dream and hopefully with some faith it will happen. That would be the first thing to give them somewhere they could sleep safely and then help them find jobs until they get to the point of being able to afford their own apartment. It will happen with perseverance. I am having health issues myself because I lived such a hard life, but I will still continue to help them.

There are too many homeless people in our country and no one deserves to die out in the streets. I am hoping that our communities can lend us a hand by supporting our endeavors in purchasing some land if not donated for a tax right off.

I became an author back in 2017 and a percentage of my royalties will go to Hope Station USA to give her a small income to help in our fight against homelessness. Should you want to help us? You could leave a tip in any amount here and I promise you it will go to Hope Station USA.

If you want to contact me about any kind of donation, like land or a building, please feel free to email me at [email protected] We need our communities help in our fight.

Most people that are homeless have lost their jobs which caused them to lose their apartment and now have to beg on the streets for something to eat. Don't you have a heart for those suffering out there who shouldn't be out there? Old people are being attacked and killed out in the very streets we travel on and with every ounce of me remaining, I want to help them. Choose to help me.