Monthly Archives: December 2011

Stories Have Power

Homeless doesn’t mean hopeless, despite what some blind, deaf and dumb human monkeys might think.  Many of the people the monkeys are throwing verbal feces at are working hard to better their situations–and succeeding.  With help, things CAN be different.

This year, youth used their stories of homelessness in powerful ways. They talked to Illinois legislators about the need for increased funding for Illinois’ homeless youth programs. They spoke about the services they need at CDBG and city budget hearings. One resident of RAPPP even visited Washington, DC this month to tell her story to members of Congress.

Here’s a link and short quote from her story:

“I’m in college now. I’m on the Drama Team and I was elected to the Student Senate. I have to graduate college no matter how hard the obstacles may be. With a college degree, I know that I will be able to get a good paying job with a guaranteed salary. My dream is to be a social worker to help people that are going through the same struggles that I have faced.’

Testimony to the House Financial Services


Painted Black Available on Kindle

Print Version coming 2012


Available for Kindle download

Trade Paperback release Spring 2012


Painted Black is a novel about two Chicago street people, teenagers not even old enough to vote or fight for their country or drink a beer, legally that is.  They’ve been kicked in the face, cursed and, worst of all, ignored and yet they continue to say screw you.  They fight to survive, to thrive.

Lexie Green has been selling herself for drug money ever since her mama kicked her out at thirteen.  A dope sick street kid will do anything to get high again.  Anything to scratch the itchy palms, ease the stomach cramps, control the vomiting.   But when she’s asked to pose nude with a bizarre collection of freeze-dried corpses–the freak show seems too much to face alone.

Christopher Robert Young, Cry for short, couldn’t use addiction as an excuse.  He told himself he went with Lexie to keep her safe, that it had nothing to do with his struggle to avoid hustling along the harbor like Tito and the others.  Selling blowjobs for forty bucks, however, pales in comparison to the macabre scene he finds at Sloan and Whiteside’s funeral home where they freeze dry the dead like special order pizzas.

Until she met Lexie and Chric, reporter Jo Sullivan’s column at Winds of Change was just a job to pay the bills.  But when the young girl, with her haunting eyes and eerie tale, disappears, Jo finds herself caught up in the lives of those homeless people she used to just write about.  As she and Chris try to unravel the twisted mystery at Sloan and Whiteside’s, Jo can’t help comparing the dark heart of the city with the dark shadows in her own family’s past.

Author Interview

Yikes!  I just scheduled my first author interview to talk about Painted Black.  It’s a 30 minute live interview  at a Blog Talk radio.

January 8

8 p.m. EST

Live Interview


Debra R. Borys

author of

Painted Black

New Homeless Youth Statistics

What jobs are available to youth on the street?  Minimum wage jobs for the most part.  At that rate, it takes 70 hours a week just to pay for an apartment in this economy, and that doesn’t even pay for the food they need to keep themselves healthy enough to be able to work those long hours.