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Thu Jan 31, 2013, 07:55 AM

Old, Female and Homeless

http://www.thenation.com/article/172397/old-female-and-homeless



The doors of the Mission Neighborhood Health Center in San Francisco don’t open until 7 am, but on the Saturday morning I was there, a dozen or so people were already lined up by 5:30. The group included a middle-aged white man who had lost his job managing a high-end restaurant and a black man wearing a crisp security guard blazer because he had to be at work by noon. Each was there hoping for a bed for the night. The city assigns most slots in its homeless shelters on a first-come, first-served basis by computer. The people had shown up here so early because they know through experience that every last bed will be claimed by 7:10 am.

A 56-year-old woman named Marcia, who has been homeless for six years, was one of the unlucky ones. She arrived while it was still dark, but not early enough to secure a bed. Because it was the weekend, her bad luck also meant two days of killing time. “Saturdays and Sundays are hell for those of us who are homeless, because most walk-in centers are closed,” she told me. “I especially hate Sundays. That’s when I ride BART.” For Marcia, riding the Bay Area’s commuter rail system is a relatively cheap way to get some rest during the day. She often falls asleep on the train, and it’s not uncommon for her to wake up and find herself an hour or more outside San Francisco.

When Marcia has no bed, she is left with precious few options, none of them good. She can ride the city bus, hoping for a kind driver who won’t boot her into the street. That’s what a 55-year-old woman I met named Dorothy used to do until she deemed that strategy too risky. “If you don’t get a nice driver, you have to get off every hour or so and wait for another one,” Dorothy said. “If you have to wait for a bus at three in the morning, you’ll be waiting a long time. Anything can happen.”

And then there were the plastic chairs at the Oshun Drop-In Center, a public facility run by the San Francisco Department of Public Health. Marcia usually chose the plastic chairs at Oshun. It was hardly ideal, but at least she felt safe there and could try to get some sleep. “You can’t lie down on the floor,” she said. “You try, but you’re not allowed.” After a night spent contorting herself into an uncomfortable chair, her back would be killing her. “But I try not to think about it,” she said. “After a while, you get used to it.”

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Arrow 43 replies Author Time Post
Reply Old, Female and Homeless (Original post)
xchrom Jan 2013 OP
Le Taz Hot Jan 2013 #1
Sekhmets Daughter Jan 2013 #2
raouldukelives Jan 2013 #27
Sekhmets Daughter Jan 2013 #30
MadrasT Jan 2013 #3
Sherman A1 Jan 2013 #5
Lady Freedom Returns Jan 2013 #40
Starry Messenger Jan 2013 #4
Heidi Jan 2013 #6
Ivoted Jan 2013 #7
siligut Jan 2013 #8
Ivoted Jan 2013 #9
KansDem Jan 2013 #10
SemperEadem Jan 2013 #11
WinkyDink Jan 2013 #12
efhmc Jan 2013 #17
southernyankeebelle Jan 2013 #13
efhmc Jan 2013 #21
southernyankeebelle Jan 2013 #36
coalition_unwilling Jan 2013 #14
cate94 Jan 2013 #15
chervilant Jan 2013 #16
efhmc Jan 2013 #19
chervilant Jan 2013 #25
efhmc Jan 2013 #42
gtar100 Jan 2013 #18
mountain grammy Jan 2013 #20
Aristus Jan 2013 #22
Lady Freedom Returns Jan 2013 #38
ReRe Jan 2013 #23
L0oniX Jan 2013 #24
liberal N proud Jan 2013 #26
AndyA Jan 2013 #28
ROBROX Jan 2013 #29
redqueen Jan 2013 #31
Lady Freedom Returns Jan 2013 #33
redqueen Jan 2013 #34
Lady Freedom Returns Jan 2013 #35
Lady Freedom Returns Jan 2013 #32
ProSense Jan 2013 #37
G_j Jan 2013 #39
Liberal_in_LA Jan 2013 #41
efhmc Jan 2013 #43

Response to xchrom (Original post)

Thu Jan 31, 2013, 08:02 AM

1. Beyone tragic.

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Response to xchrom (Original post)

Thu Jan 31, 2013, 08:27 AM

2. Meanwhile the DOW is looking to cross 14,000 soon...

why do we tolerate this?

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Response to Sekhmets Daughter (Reply #2)

Thu Jan 31, 2013, 11:10 AM

27. "Where your treasure is, there your heart will be also." nt

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Response to raouldukelives (Reply #27)

Thu Jan 31, 2013, 11:54 AM

30. While I rarely turn to the Bible for wisdom...

that hit's the nail squarely on the head.

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Response to xchrom (Original post)

Thu Jan 31, 2013, 08:38 AM

3. This article makes me so sad.

“If you’re a homeless woman, you’re guaranteed to be assaulted on the streets,” said Paul Boden, organizing director of the Western Regional Advocacy Project (WRAP), a West Coast coalition of homeless organizations. Boden, who was homeless himself at 16 after the death of his mother, also served as executive director of the city’s Coalition on Homelessness. “Women try to double up with guys to be safe, but they usually get beaten up by those guys, so their options are limited.”


I know it's hard for everybody, not just women...

...the whole thing is heartbreaking. Just heartbreaking.

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Response to MadrasT (Reply #3)

Thu Jan 31, 2013, 09:04 AM

5. Agreed

simply sad.

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Response to MadrasT (Reply #3)

Thu Jan 31, 2013, 02:31 PM

40. Yes, that is true.

I meet many a woman that was hurt one way or another by a man. I was lucky.

1) I had my Husband. Many did not like the thought of angering a Marine Corp. Vet.
2) I was taught a skill that I never thought I would need by an uncle that was Army Recon. How to fight with a knife.( long story)
3) After a guy tried to take my pack (85 pounds +) and almost dislocated his arm, many of the street thugs in the area were weary of a lucky punch.
4) I was a wife of a Vet, some of the other Vets took that in account and watched my back when Dave was away.


But as I said I was lucky. Most women on the street don't have my "Luxuries", only those that were Women Vets themselves had skills really.Most women use there wiles to keep safe but as stated in the article, many get beat up by those men. Many women, to keep each other safe, gang together. They never leave each other's sight. That is yet another reason why many women don't go to shelters, they don't want to leave a gal behind.

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Response to xchrom (Original post)

Thu Jan 31, 2013, 08:39 AM

4. k&r

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Response to xchrom (Original post)

Thu Jan 31, 2013, 09:18 AM

6. Sadly kicking.

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Response to xchrom (Original post)


Response to Ivoted (Reply #7)

Thu Jan 31, 2013, 09:27 AM

8. People respond to OPs because they have something to say

Lack of responses is not necessarily lack of concern.

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Response to siligut (Reply #8)


Response to Ivoted (Reply #9)

Thu Jan 31, 2013, 10:03 AM

10. I knew what you meant...

"Out of sight, out of mind."

I'd wager if you visited the SF public library, you'd find a large number of homeless. Many, I would imagine, suffer from health and mental issues.

I've seen them in my local public library. Sitting and waiting with their backpacks. Sitting and waiting to go to the shelters that evening (if they're lucky to have secured a bed), only to return and do it all again the next day.







BUT THEN, HEY!!! HOW 'BOUT THAT BIG GAME!!!

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Response to Ivoted (Reply #9)

Thu Jan 31, 2013, 10:05 AM

11. pretty much

because as long as the problem doesn't touch the public at large, it doesn't exist.

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Response to Ivoted (Reply #7)

Thu Jan 31, 2013, 10:06 AM

12. You know NOTHING about what I and others here do in this regard. So STHU.

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Response to Ivoted (Reply #7)

Thu Jan 31, 2013, 10:31 AM

17. Here something which might work. Put out a psa based on the contrast between

the money and time spent on football, etc. and show the real stories of some homeless people and ask for money to help out. I would give and I am sure many others would also. The main problem for many is not knowing where to give.

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Response to xchrom (Original post)

Thu Jan 31, 2013, 10:06 AM

13. People shouldn't have to live like this. Those crates that are on ships that have products

 

that come to america would be ideal if they aren't using them. City could buy them and use them for these people to get them off the streets. In the long run these people could get back on their feet.

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Response to southernyankeebelle (Reply #13)

Thu Jan 31, 2013, 10:39 AM

21. Are there any foundations or groups which can help? In Austin, the churches rotate sleep nights

with volunteers sleeping there and serving food. Unfortunately they only take women.

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Response to efhmc (Reply #21)

Thu Jan 31, 2013, 01:19 PM

36. I duuno but yesterday on this site I read a post about a country where they are turning

 

those metal crates into little apartments for indiviudals at colleges. Well I don't know why we can't do it here for working single poor. It sure would help.

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Response to xchrom (Original post)

Thu Jan 31, 2013, 10:10 AM

14. USA! USA! USA! :sarcasm: - n/t

 

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Response to xchrom (Original post)

Thu Jan 31, 2013, 10:28 AM

15. Horrifying

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Response to xchrom (Original post)

Thu Jan 31, 2013, 10:30 AM

16. Yet again

I find myself on the verge of homelessness. I had a job (FINALLY, after four years!), but the guy who hired me cobbled together two pages of insupportable allegations to justify firing me the day before our Christmas break.

Now, I have the meager resources of my final check to stave off the inevitable while I struggle to find another job. If I don't find a job by the end of February, I will lose everything.

Not looking forward to that ...

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Response to chervilant (Reply #16)

Thu Jan 31, 2013, 10:35 AM

19. That is so sad. I wish I could help. What state do you live in?

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Response to efhmc (Reply #19)

Thu Jan 31, 2013, 10:59 AM

25. You are so kind

and I appreciate your compassion. I am in Arkansas, in the second poorest county in the state. I consider the Ozarks my home, and had hopes of returning here to put in a bio-intensive garden and live out the remainder of my days in this bucolic splendour.

I will begin selling off my belongings to delay this outcome as long as I can. I remain hopeful that I'll find SOMETHING to earn sufficient money to keep my lovely rent house.

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Response to chervilant (Reply #25)

Thu Jan 31, 2013, 04:19 PM

42. Since you are obviously a good gardener, are there any nurseries or

plant related areas that might need workers, Sounds like a great place to live, I sure hope something pans out for you. Good luck.

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Response to xchrom (Original post)

Thu Jan 31, 2013, 10:33 AM

18. I lived out of my car for over a year and you wouldn't believe

how much of treat it is to actually lay down horizontal and stretch your legs out. It's like a slow torture every homeless person goes through every single day simply for not being able to rest and sleep properly.

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Response to xchrom (Original post)

Thu Jan 31, 2013, 10:39 AM

20. Well now, we wouldn't want people dependent on government, would we?

Get a set of bootstraps and pull your own self up.
Boy, am I sick of the greed and selfishness that has taken over American government. The public wealth is going to enrich the rich instead of raising the living standards of average Americans. 98% of us are sliding deeper and deeper. The minimum wage should be raised immediately to at least $12/hour. If private corporations won't willingly share their massive profits with their workers, God Dammit, force them to!

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Response to xchrom (Original post)

Thu Jan 31, 2013, 10:40 AM

22. I wish I could get one of those "Why-don't-they-just-get-a-job?"-types to follow me around at work

for a day. It would change his or her mind about the realities of the homeless community. A lot of my patients have jobs, as pointed out also in the article. Many of those jobs are those Labor Ready 'work-today-get-paid-today' things, which earns them an income. But it's not enough to get them off the streets; not when you need first and last months' rent, credit check, damage deposit, criminal background check, etc.

Anyone who thinks homelessness is a life of leisure should try it sometime. The things I see in the course of a day of clinic...

Homelessness is hard, grueling, dangerous, demeaning, and despair-inducing.

As long as there are homeless people, I'm going to stand up for their rights...

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Response to Aristus (Reply #22)

Thu Jan 31, 2013, 01:25 PM

38. I wish I could take one of those "Why-don't-they-just-get-a-job?"-types on a month long "vacation".

I would happily grab my pack again to take one of those people to live on on the streets for a month. That way they can get the full effect. But something tells me they would be crying to go home in a week!

The first couple of weeks, have them stay on the street. Allow them only one change of cloth and a pack. No money, no car.
Then after the second week let them "try" and get a bed at one of the shelters. See their reaction after that long on the street and then find that after standing in line for what feels like forever, that the beds are full! HA!

Yes, it is not very nice, I know. But after so many of those people yelling that phrase at me for a little over a year...

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Response to xchrom (Original post)

Thu Jan 31, 2013, 10:57 AM

23. Remind me again what country we live in....

...can this really be the United States of America? Tell me again what's so great about our country if we have so many homeless. If Capitalism is really so great, why do we have so many homeless? Damit, we need an effing governmental program to take care of these people who fall through all the cracks and can't provide a living for themselves, who can't put a roof over their heads. Who can't lay down in a bed, and have enough food to eat? And security that they won't be molested at any moment? We cannot call ourselves a great country with an economy like this, with so many unemployed, with so many homeless and so little social justice.

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Response to xchrom (Original post)

Thu Jan 31, 2013, 10:57 AM

24. God Bless America ...home of the sociopath society. n/t

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Response to xchrom (Original post)

Thu Jan 31, 2013, 11:09 AM

26. These stories highlight the stupidity of the GOP and their attacks on welfare and other programs

that are intended to help people down on their luck.

God forbid though that we touch the military industrial complex spending.

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Response to xchrom (Original post)

Thu Jan 31, 2013, 11:31 AM

28. How many vacant, deteriorating houses do we have in this country?

Why can we not find a way for homeless to repair them and live in them until they're sold?

Vacant, foreclosed houses are a blight in this country, and bring down property values. Why can we not help the homeless by training them in home repair? Almost anyone can learn to repair drywall or paint, hang wallpaper, or something of that nature.

If there's a physical limitation, they could provide security by living in the house, which would prevent thieves from breaking in and ripping out all the copper plumbing.

A vacant house deteriorates much quicker than an occupied one, and I would bet the neighbors would be happier having the house next door serve as temporary shelter, while it's being repaired so it can be sold.

It's crazy that we have so many empty structures that are literally falling apart, while at the same time we have people sleeping in the streets. The banks were responsible for many of these people losing their jobs, let the banks help them get back on their feet again.

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Response to xchrom (Original post)

Thu Jan 31, 2013, 11:53 AM

29. MARK TWAIN SAID "The coldest winter I spent was a summer in S.F.

 

S.F. has the fog and it is so cold. It is so sad this country can spend hundreds of billions on WAR and little money on social welfare concerns.

In the past I had not given people down on hard times a second thought since I was either hard working and going to school. Now that I am retired I give to those who require assistance.

I think the GOP supports defense spending as a form of terrorizing the public about possible WARS. The GOP is also HATEFUL and bigoted. Therefore by definition the GOP is EVIL.


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Response to xchrom (Original post)

Thu Jan 31, 2013, 12:01 PM

31. Capitalism is not in crisis. It is the crisis.

When will enough people realize this can't go on?

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Response to redqueen (Reply #31)

Thu Jan 31, 2013, 12:52 PM

33. I have asked the same question, redqueen.

I think the problem is that many do relies but no one can agree as to what to do.

Every person that is homeless has different reasons why. No two cases are ever alike. Yet the powers that be either lump everyone together or just want to ignore and hope it will go away.

It is also my personal opinion that religious organizations are a bad thing to expect to fix the problem. To many have other motives and end up not helping. Do to those other motives is the reason that many will not go back to those groups, no mater what. Case in point, a group here in Tucson that is way to cult like.Some stay due to being to scared to rough it on the street, others due to just wanting to belong. I could not stay due to that much religion. Waking up at 4:30 am every morning to praise the lord (and please remember I lived through the Joplin Tornado, so I was and still am having a rough time in the God dept.) then coming back at I think it was 4:30 pm to eat a sandwich before going to "church" was yelling at me to get out fast. The way they preached just sent warning bells.

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Response to Lady Freedom Returns (Reply #33)

Thu Jan 31, 2013, 01:00 PM

34. The idea that people must work to live has to go.

There are simply not enough jobs, let alone enough good paying jobs.

Capitalism is killing us. And the planet.

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Response to redqueen (Reply #34)

Thu Jan 31, 2013, 01:11 PM

35. "There are simply not enough jobs, let alone enough good paying jobs."

No truer statement can be said.

Corporate America is in it to make and save money. They love all the "Right to Work" legislation that is being passed. They also love the new technology where they can use a robot that cost them roughly $5 an hour (or less) to run instead of a person for a living wage.

What jobs there are don't pay the bills. To make ends meat a person ends up killing themselves working two jobs. One may pull it off when their young, but I found that after 27 it hurts you physically.

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Response to xchrom (Original post)

Thu Jan 31, 2013, 12:19 PM

32. Been There! Done That!!!

I was lucky to get in some shelters and special programs to get women off the streets in Springfield MO. But we had to get to the Doctors here in the Tucson VA to help my SO.

Here in Tucson it is a little rougher. I was on the streets here and there. I saw some things that should not be. Finding a dark spot is a necessity if you don't get a bed in a shelter. That is due to the need to hide from those that would hurt you for fun. I saw a group of teens once with bats. I was in a hole on the side of a wash as they passed bragging of hurting a guy up the way. Then another group walked passed me when I was under some old plywood and was laughing about hurting a couple.

Dave was in the hospital at this time so I was solo. after a couple of days he was back with me. It is nice to have someone to have your back. Even better if they are the love of your life.

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Response to xchrom (Original post)

Thu Jan 31, 2013, 01:20 PM

37. Now that California's budget is balanced

this would be a perfect issue to target with more resources.

<...>

Homelessness czar Bevan Dufty told me he was willing to talk with the women I’d met over the past few months, to explore their cases and contact their case managers about permanent housing options. The real problem, though, is the lack of affordable housing. “I can show you 27,000 individuals on the public housing list,” he said. “We’re dealing with a very big problem. We’re talking about a city that’s very expensive.”

Of 155,000 seniors living in San Francisco, according to a report by the city’s Department of Aging and Adult Services, roughly 19,000 live below the federal poverty line: $10,326 per year for a single person age 65 or older, or $13,014 for a two-person household. Based on the Elder Economic Security Standard Index, 61 percent of San Francisco’s seniors don’t have enough income to meet their basic needs. Meanwhile, the country has endured years of trickle-down economics, welfare cutbacks, rising income inequality, attacks on unions and the privatization of public services. Those are only some of the factors WRAP spelled out as causes of homelessness in its report “Without Housing.” And perhaps the biggest factor affecting older homeless women: the government turned housing over to the private market in the 1970s, and the Department of Housing and Urban Development’s budget was slashed by 77 percent between 1978 and 1983.

No wonder Paul Boden of WRAP said that the situation for the older homeless population has gotten progressively worse since the 1980s. “Back then, I could get a senior a nice room in an SRO hotel within the Section 8 program,” he told me. “Today, you can’t get them shit.”

The city is now looking into ways to house homeless individuals with medical needs that exceed the capacity of the emergency shelters to handle. “The most vulnerable can’t stand in line for hours at a time,” said Amanda Kahn Fried, policy director at HOPE, the city’s Housing, Opportunity, Partnerships and Engagement office. Some of these people, she noted, “are at the point in their life where they can’t take care of themselves. They’re either too old or too sick and can’t get out of bed or get to the bathroom.”

I mean, through the booming economic times of the 1990s, the isssue of homelessness was completely ignored. It's going to take a massive effort, a nation-wide effort, to significantly reverse this trend.

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Response to xchrom (Original post)

Thu Jan 31, 2013, 01:27 PM

39. American Exceptionalism

at it's best

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Response to xchrom (Original post)

Thu Jan 31, 2013, 03:20 PM

41. kick

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Response to xchrom (Original post)

Thu Jan 31, 2013, 04:22 PM

43. Are there links to where we can go to help?

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