Without a Home Story - Harmony

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NOTE: This page is a daughter page of: Without a home stories

IMPORTANT REDIRECT: These articles now all live on www.withoutahome.net - please visit there instead !
.... and buy our "Homeless on Haight book" !

I met Harmony in Mar 2023 in an unlikely place. Ecstatic dance on a Thursday night. This particular Thursday was advertised as free for new people. Harmony is an incredible dancer and we had a couple of amazing dances together full of turns and lifts, then a bunch of us hung out together and she mentioned she was living in a bus in the Golden Gate area, right hear Haight street. I immediately got excited to tell her about the book and ask her if she'd like to be in it. Living in a bus is technically homeless, and Harmony is currently unemployed and living on the streets. As such she represents a very interesting demographic of homeless people. For most homeless people it really isn't a chosen lifestyle. For Harmony it is, and she's happy with her bus.


Harmony's Story

Thu, Mar 23, 2023:

Born: 2002 (20 years old) in Dundil (near Niagara Falls) in Ontario Canada.

About: Harmony, also known as Rosemary, represents a fascinating demographic of homeless people. She lives in a bus. Homelessness for her is largely a lifestyle choice - she has the intelligence and youthful bounce that could probably land her a job back in Canada pretty easily, but she gets joy from travelling. I met Harmony out dancing, and soon learnt that Harmony is responsible for the many colorful chalk messages of love I see written for 100 meters down Haight street. Messages like "you are loved" and "smile". Harmony is like a beacon of sunshine, she dances, she blows bubbles.... and she just generally spreads love and smiles. Her spirit seems unbreakable, but her history is not all roese.

Harmony grew upon a small farm in Canada with her mother, father and younger brother with many pets and exposure to nature. Her mum bred dogs. Her father, sadly was a narcissist and drunk. Harmony learnt at a young age when her father switched from charming to abusive. She was only physically beaten badly a couple of times, but the verbal abuse was constant and her brother was beaten often. Maybe that explains why her brother is now into MMA and training to become a firefighter to help rescue people. Harmony's parents divorced when she was 14, and she said it was a huge relief to have him gone. Despite restraining orders, her father still manages to break into their property often and try to mess with her mother and her friends. Harmony and her brother try to have a good sense of humor about it. They both hope their mum can one day finally date again and find someone nice.

Harmony did well in school, getting into honors programs, and with all her friends interested in becoming air cadets she tagged along and was offered a full ride scholarship to become a pilot while still studying for high school. And that's when covid hit. Harmony wasn't able to graduate as normal - seeing her friends and staying goodbyes to her favorite peers and teachers. Instead she was studying at home and felt stir crazy. When restrictions lifted she immediately travelled and had a revelation. She enjoyed the road.

People often work their whole lives so they have enough money to retire and drive around in an RV. Why no just start it now? Harmony bought a adorable blue bus that she calls Calypso. Her brother, who is also her best friend, and her mother worry about her, but she bought a wonderful dog calle Zoso, who is a pitbull in case to help her stay safe when she's out and about on the street. She does note that San Francisco feels much less safe than other cities she's lived in, but she enjoys the hippy community here. When I asked her if she's a black sheep she told me she's a rainbow sheep. She also told me a story of almost losing Calypso after a rainstorm and together we setup a GoFundMe to help her repay for towing expenses. If we are lucky it will cover the whole thing.

What is the hardest lesson you learned on the streets: To "do it your damn self". The bus is her first time living alone, so she had to learn bus life, plus cooking, and learn to ask for help for car repair when needed.

Something you are proud of: Making people smile.

What tips might you offer someone newly homeless: This comes from a place of "relative privilege": there are lots of programs cities have, and SF has many, but SF isn't great at helping in the right ways. What's touch is that as soon as people realize she doesn't have a home they can treat her as they do most homeless people. People in SF dissociate from the homeless - they don't see them as human, so don't expect anyone to help you if you are struggling for breath on the street. Learn to be self sufficient.

What are your aspirations: To buy a big piece of land in nature and sart community! To just "be", all the time... and to help others realize this life can be easy sometimes, not competitive and bleak. She wants others to know that instead of working years into retirement to travel, there's a good chance they can just travel now with an RV or with a car and a mattress in the back. Van life indeed.

GoFundMe for Calypso The Bus

As mentioned in the article, we started a GoFundMe for Harmony's bus, we'd love you to donate or post it to your social media. :)

The link is: https://gofund.me/53b34f89

The GoFundMe project - a day after it was created, so hopefully we're further to the goal when you get to it.