THERE’S A NEW BREED OF PEOPLE LIVING ON AMERICA’S STREETS
There’s a misconception about the homeless. Most people lump the homeless in with street beggars, the uneducated and disadvantaged, or even people who abuse the environment. This is not true.
Today’s homeless are people who have fallen on hard times and bad luck. They may be suffering at the hands of greedy landlords, been financially devastated by divorce, can’t find a good job, or they’re seniors who can’t afford housing. (HUD is not taking any new applicants due to the lack of housing and long waiting list).
Having dependent children increases a homeless woman’s chance of getting “something”, and minority women usually go to the head of the line. White women have become the invisible—seemingly forgotten—minority.
ONE WOMAN’S PLIGHT
Vietnam-era veteran Patty Weston has come forward to tell the story of how she suddenly lost her apartment and independence after a friend’s promise fell through—with devastating results.
“Two years ago, I moved to Louisiana to help a long-time friend who promised me housing in exchange for helping her 88-year-old mother, who had dementia.” The arrangement didn’t work out, and Weston was evicted and still has her furniture in storage two years later. “That made me homeless, as I can’t afford housing on my small SSI and VA substance.“
The situation has caused Weston to slip into a deep depression.
HOMELESSNESS ONLY HAS A DARK SIDE
“As horrible as my life has become, there’s much worse,” says Weston. “Think about the young female veterans who have gone to Iraq and been exposed to the unthinkable. Then, they return home and can’t cope anymore.
“Many have taken their lives, because they don’t know how to ask for help.”
Weston has her pride, but she knows she must expose the truth about homelessness and how it affects women.
“It’s horrible, and although there has always been homeless people, this is a serious, growing crisis right here, in one of the wealthiest, most educated nations.”
THE LAST WOMEN ON THE LIST
Weston explains that homelessness has parameters that can help or hinder a woman’s likelihood of finding long term housing—and just having a place to stay for the night can make it more difficult.
“As a veteran, your chances are slim if you have a roof over your head and running water, so if a friend chooses to even let you sleep on their sofa, your priority status has now changed and bumps you back,” Weston points out, noting that when it comes to homeless women, the system often fails them.