Hello! My name is Maria James and I am from Philadelphia, where I have lived most of my life. My experience of homelessness began when I became ill, I lost my job and home. I felt really sad, and I began living in the street over a year one winter. I didn’t go to a shelter because of over-crowdedness, so I tried sleeping on a park bench and almost froze to death. I knew I needed help, but wasn’t sure where to go. Then a vendor from One Step Away asked me if I would like to become a vendor. I have been a vendor for three years, I feel better, and I have a place to live thanks to One Step Away.