1. What’s your name & age My name is Dana Pensek. I am 21 years old.
2. Were you raised in a religious house hold? Yes, my parents took religion very seriously, but never forced it on my or my sisters.
3. How long have you been homeless? I don’t like labels. I’d much prefer people called me free than homeless. I do have a home. It is wherever I feel at ease. I don’t understand how having a house is necessary. I don’t need to have a place to feel normal. I’ve been without a house for four years. I like it. I have a good time and I meet people.
4. Do you have any siblings or close relatives? I have three hearing sisters and one brother that I don’t talk to anymore.
5. What area do you prefer to stay in? I move so often I wouldn’t know. I sleep in any place indoors I can find but otherwise, I’m never in one area for too long. I don’t like it.
6. What is the general response you get from people regarding your appearance? I can’t talk to people; I’m mute because of my voice. I don’t care to look at them. I don’t need people to make me feel bad about myself.
7. Are you religious? No, I don’t have the time to be religious.
8. How did you become homeless? It’s quite a story. I don’t remember when exactly but I know that I’ve been deaf a while. I don’t ever remember speaking. I was so afraid of speaking because my voice would sound different. I wasn’t able to say things like everyone else. I hated that. I think it was when I was going into high school that my mother decided to put me into special school for people like me. What about elementary? There weren’t any programs for me there. My mom made the teachers feel sorry for me so they would let me pass everything. I learned things by reading. I never spoke until they put me into a special high school. That was the best time of my life. I learned how to talk and how to sign. I was really good at it. I spoke all the time. Yeah? Yes! I was really ambitious! But we weren’t rich. I have three sisters so it was difficult for my parents to make ends meet. They wanted to help me but they didn’t want to spend all of my sisters’ savings to do so. My mother worked two jobs and my father as well. It was so difficult for them; they didn’t want to say so. They never learned to sign. The only one was my sister Hannah. They didn’t have the time to learn how. I couldn’t speak to them about it. When I graduated high school, I could tell that my parents were so so proud of me. I wanted to continue to college so bad, but we didn’t have the money. My brother started to hate me because my mother had to use his college money to pay for my education. I knew I was a burden to them so I decided to leave. My parents loved me very very very much, of course. Secretly, I hoped that after I left they would be looking for me. I hoped that they would get the police involved and look for me, but they didn’t. I know that they love me but I also know that they are better off now. I didn’t have anywhere to go and wouldn’t talk to anyone. Now I’m on the streets.
9. Do you visit any programs to help the homeless? If so do they help? I go to soup kitchens sometimes but I don’t like being around hearing people. I normally don’t stay anywhere long enough.
10. Do you have any plans for the future? I wanted to be a teacher for the deaf but now, I don’t know. I think I want to be happy.