By Evi Mariani
Steve Cherenfant, 21, considers himself lucky. Although he grew up in what he called an “unstable environment,” he never had to resort to couchsurfing or sleeping in a homeless shelter. He had a loving father and a house he called home. For several years, however, he lived alone with his father who was diagnosed with schizophrenia.
“It’s kinda difficult,” he said. At times, his father had conversations with himself, would hallucinate, and was hostile towards Steve.
“He would have thoughts of suspicions that I was plotting against him,” he said.
His mother died giving birth to him. When he was five years old, his father moved him and his three siblings from Haiti to the United States. They lived in Florida until Steve was eight and then they moved to Washington, D.C., to live in Ward 8.
By the time Steve was a teenager and his father was diagnosed with schizophrenia, his two older sisters had left the house and his younger sister, from a different mother, had gone to live with her aunt.
His relationship with his father was always intense.
“There were times when we were very angry at each other. Times that we had the utmost amount of love between us,” he said. He described their connection as an “unbreakable bond.”
Street Sense is biweekly nonprofit newspaper publishing on issues pertaining to homelessness and poverty, sold by homeless individuals on the streets to help them earn an honest income. To donate directly to Street Sense, click here.
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