What Leanna’s Story Looks Like | Interview


Name: Leanna
Nicknames? “You can call me Lea!”

Leanna was born and raised in Portsmouth but also lived in Norfolk, Virginia Beach, the Eastern Shore and Tappahannock.

Leanna is off-and-on when it comes to the relationship with her mom, and she occasionally keeps contact with her brother, too… who she’s 14 years younger than.

What was your favorite subject in school? “I was a little wild child, so…science was my favorite but I also liked gym and health.”

Was there a teacher that stood out to you in school? “Yes, but she wasn’t my teacher. Her name was Miss Barnes, she was a Kindergarten teacher and I was in 4th or 5th grade and I used to go to her classroom every day.”

Least favorite job you ever worked: A call center. “I went to sleep in orientation” It was FAR too boring for her. (I can see that because Leanna is SO MUCH FUN!)

Leanna’s favorite job was the bakery at Kroger… she loved talking to the elderly customers there and starting conversations with them. Sometimes they would want to just keep her there and go on and on 🙂

There’s a warmth to Leanna that is apparent right when you meet her. I can literally picture these customers coming up to her and doing this.

We asked Leanna what job would she love to have right now if she can have any job and she mentioned that she wants to go to school for phlebotomy (WHICH I HAD TO GOOGLE TO SPELL CHECK FYI LOL) – drawing blood. I told her she was a bad ass and I cringed with a smile, hahaha!

She wants to be in the medical field.

What is something you would want people to know about you if they didn’t know you at all? “I’m a very kind, funny, goofy, jittery person. I love to laugh, I love to have fun ALL the time.”

Was there a specific event that led you to becoming homeless or a series of events? I got pregnant. There were twins, and one of them didn’t make it… so my doctor put me on bedrest for two months, I ended up losing my job. It left me two months behind. Then four months. And before she knew it, she was too far past to catch up on life expenses. 

Do you friends and family know you’ve been going through this? My mother knows I’m going through this. She kind of helped this situation, not in a good way.

Things weren’t working out living with her mom, who lives in the country where things are far apart and there’s no public transportation.

She was hired at three places but had NO way to get there, and no one to watch her baby. 


It was hard being homeless (the first time) for her because it was during her pregnancy after her complications. The second time was after the baby was born and her older child, a son, kept asking… “when are we going home, mom?”

Leanna then exclaimed, “you gotta keep pushing” and I told her I loved her positive attitude about this subject. This subject can often feel hopeless, and like a dead-end…so when I hear someone with her motivated tone regarding the subject of homelessness, I always make sure to compliment it.

You can’t let it tear you down because once you’re down, you’re down. 

“Emotionally, it hurts. It’s very aggravating.”

What is the best thing that’s happened to you recently? A [romantic] connection with a friend from school that has started to develop after finding each other on social media again. He makes her feel like a kid again, like she has no worries.

Did you ever think you would end up homeless? Leanna told us “NEVER” and then went on to say she always assumed that the homeless put themselves in that predicament.

The question that follows is “what truth would you want people to know about homelessness” and she debunks her OWN previous assumptions with this answer: homelessness is not always something you put yourself in, you can’t control it sometimes. Homelessness is HARD to deal with, even if you don’t have kids. It can take on mental issues.

What advice would you give someone that’s homeless or wants to approach them? Just do it, if it’s in your heart to help them. But if you feel like they need the help, then do it. And talk to them – maybe they just need someone to talk to.

What do you want your life to look like a year from now? “Oh, just a year? A year from now, I want to be in school or have accomplished what I wanted to go to school for, something in the medical field, and I don’t even want much, I just want a house, and a car…it doesn’t even have to be a house, just an apartment.”

KEEP READING BELOW to see what YOU have in common with Leanna!!!:)


THANK YOU for showing up for Homeless Looks Like.

If you want help support the H.E.R. Shelter – click HERE 🙂

Warmly, Amanda, Amanda, Mike + Joe


HLL Shallow Leanna




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