Homelessness caused by an arson should be considered an injury for crime victims assistance
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On August 19, 2016 my husband and I came home to find our home and belongings smoldering and destroyed. The Denton County, Texas Fire Marshall stopped us from going inside telling us that our home was a crime scene we were not allowed to go in.
We lost everything that night. What wasn't burned got looted immediately after the fire.
We were not home during the fire but our beloved pet Rocky, a German Shepard dog, was home. He was lucky to have been saved but has suffered the trauma too.
My name is Molly and i would like to share our story with you now..
We need your help to fix a piece of the system that overlooks the needs of people like us... Victims of arson who were left homeless by the crime.
We have been through allot. After the fire, we were left homeless and without resources. we were forced to live in our pickup truck for nearly 9 months. We had no idea what to do with ourselves and our pain and suffering. As you can imagine, living in the cab of a pickup truck day after day ..for months and months, with another person, no matter who it is, 24/7 .. is tough for anyone. Coupled with the erratic emotions and obvious fatigue and the anxiety of the unknown life we were facing was very scary. We were left alone to endure this new life.
While we are thankful to say that we have been blessed: we believe we have had something looking out for us .. despite the evil that was done...
The intensity of our daily grind to survive was unreal at times .. and very hard to explain so that others can understand.
We slept at just about every Wal-Mart parking lot fromTexas to the Pacific coast. We wandered through unfamiliar streets.
The shame. The fear.
We never lived like that before. Suddenly homeless and transient we were treated like bums. I was a former paralegal from a family of lawyers. My husband was a carpenter who once owned his own home remodeling company. We have had what we needed... or ways to get it.
Then in a blink of an eye, we lost it all ...just like that....
It could happen to anyone... please don't think otherwise.
No arrest has been made on arson charges specifically.. despite knowing who did it...despite a confession via 'bragging' about his deed, despite witnesses and evidence etc.
This has added insult to injury. We don't know why but there's still time and we are confident an arrest will happen. We hope an arrest will happen.
There is no doubt he'll do it again if not. This has further driven our desire to be heard by the 'powers that be.'
We were not home during the fire so when we tried to seek help from crime victims assistance we were turned away telling us we were not injured in the fire. Homelessness is not legally considered an injury.
That is what needs to be changed. What greater an injury can there be besides this dark existence we've been left in? Grieving. Surviving. Lost. Alone.
WE CANNOT get over the events of that Friday night NO MATTER HOW HARD WE TRY . We will NEVER be able to forget how quickly ONE NIGHT changed EVERYTHING we knew of life. .our expectations, beliefs, plans, and hopes.
Our faith in humanity and the system was all but erased ...
To realise that a man we hardly knew took our *entire life* away from us with the mere flick of a lighter is a hard pill to swallow. ... WE WERE NOT THERE ...
We could not stop it from happening but how can anyone say we weren't injured?
This is not the life we would have chosen to share together. This is not a bond as a couple that we would've chosen to fuse us together in our relationship.
We love each other and even more so now respect and understand each other after this happened but still we never chose this. We desperately want to heal. How can we heal without justice?
We NEED to heal so we can find a way through the pain and anger we carry. It's torn us apart head to toe .. inside and out.
THE PROBLEM IS we cannot heal or move forward in life without your help. We need the help of outside forces greater in power than we are... to help us.
The rules and laws that govern the victims assistance programs and crime victim's compensation eligibility requirements for restitution and financial aid are missing something. WE DESERVE THAT HELP TO REBUILD OUR ENTIRE LIVES BUT ARE NOT ELIGIBLE FOR HELP. Why is this, you may ask...?
Because in the eyes of the law, since we were not home during the fire.. since we were not literally burnt by the flames... they have said we were not injured!!
We want to tell you that's so far from the truth. Homelessness as a result of this crime is a horrific injury were STILL feeling to this very day.
WE BEG YOU NOT TO FORGET THAT WE ARE STILL HERE AND STILL BEING INJURED IN WAYS THE REST OF THE WORLD WILL NEVER SEE.
We had to start over with nothing and almost no help at all. We grieve constantly. We lost all our personal photos and sentimental belongings. We lost heirlooms and family antiques and portraits that had been passed down that are irreplaceable and have a value far beyond any dollar amount.
I'm a writer and lost ALL my original writings and journals.
We are severely traumatized and cannot even get acknowledgment that we were injured.
Its taken it's toll on our health. Its nearly destroyed our relationship many times but our love and loyalty to to each other kept us together.
I've been hospitalized several times since for the effects of that night. I now have seizures i didn't have before.
We left our home state of Texas and drove for months aimlessly lost with no destination finally settling in California. To this day We live in a 14ft travel trailer..a far cry from a 3 bedroom home.
We had to leave behind our friends and family . We've been in a year long daze of devastation..reliving the trauma of it everyday. We received $400 from Red Cross and that's it.
Texas crime victims assistance office told us we were not eligible for help because we were not home and injured in the fire.
BEING LEFT HOMELESS AS A VICTIM OF ARSON FIRE WAS NOT CONSIDERED AN "INJURY" FOR CRIME VICTIMS COMPENSATION ELIGIBILITY CRITERIA DURING THE APPLICATION PROCESS.
ARSON is a violent crime of intent and when it's directed at the victims home and destroys it what is left behind is extremely traumatic and difficult to overcome when starting a new life.
Homelessness is an injury that is ongoing and affects all aspects of daily life. It takes MUCH LONGER to heal than a burn on the skin. The effects are physical and emotional and deeply profound. ARSON Victims DESERVE THE UTMOST OF ASSISTANCE.
We deserve to be compensated for the losses even if we didn't have renters insurance and we deserve to heal from all physical and psychological injuries caused by the arsonist.
This was an intentional deliberate violent act against us of setting fire to a our home. We need closure. We want justice. Restitution. Peace.
Please consider using your power and authority to change the laws in this regard, to include homelessness as a legal injury for eligibility purposes for crime victims assistance.
Not just in Texas but in all 50 states across our great country. Thank you.
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