Dawn’s sign reads “PREGNANT & STRESSED!!” as she sits begging for change in San Francisco. She is hoping to get enough money to pay for a hotel room. Dawn has had a challenging life. She […]


Dawn’s sign reads “PREGNANT & STRESSED!!” as she sits begging for change in San Francisco. She is hoping to get enough money to pay for a hotel room.

Dawn has had a challenging life. She first started shooting heroin at 12 years-old. Both of her parents were drug addicts. She then started traveling and hopping trains until she was 28, when she got pregnant with her second son. Dawn says she was tired of the streets and the drugs.

Travelers are a subculture of homeless youth that are known for hopping trains. You’ve seen them hanging out in your city. They almost have a uniform wearing brown clothes and often have dogs. Most of the kids seem happy, and the hippie lifestyle looks attractive. Truth is, many of these kids are “throw away” often running from horrible family situations. They find community with each other, but as young adults, this lifestyle does not come with any professional or even social development. One youth leader once told me she was concerned because these kids don’t get the nutrition they need. As fun as the traveling lifestyle may look I have often wondered how many of these kids end up as chronic homeless in their adult years. Dawn is one.

Dawn has been in and out of rehabs. Her story validates a very serious problem in social services we need to fix. More often than not drugs programs do not coordinate with other support services. What this means is when a person wants to get sober we can find them a detox, but after they are placed back on the streets, and it’s nearly impossible to do homeless sober!

Dawn’s three wishes resonate with me in a very powerful way. Although Dawn seems happy she is holding back so much sadness. She is a gorgeous woman with lots of life inside here. We need to help her and all the Dawns just like her on the streets of America.

Dawn’s sign reads “PREGNANT & STRESSED!!” as she sits begging for change in San Francisco Click To Tweet


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  • jonathanstreeter

    I saw a similar young woman with a similar sign here in New York City two days ago. What’s frustrating is that if we take at face value that they ARE pregnant, there are health-related programs that already exist which could assist them in getting food and medical care (although not shelter). My guess is that their disconnectedness from the structured world means neither of them will do anything until it’s time for the baby to arrive. And by then, it’s too late for the child, who will be at risk for a variety of severely impactful health concerns. A person on the streets already distrusts authority and organized ANYTHING, and getting the benefits to which they are entitled is neither simple nor swift.

  • chris

    Wow. Heartbreaking. Thank you for giving these people a voice. My heart is breaking. I see homelessness all over NYC — it simply breaks my heart. How will this woman cope with a child?

  • googali

    I have worked with many “street” people, over the last 30 years, let’s just get that out of the way. So many do not like organized routines. So many like it on the streets, not all, but a large chunk of the population.They really do. There is a certain hierarchy to the whole “shebang” and they thrive on that. They do not like paying for rent, electric,insurance,cars, ect, I have had the privilege, yes privilege, of being on the street with these people and when “society” tries to help. The scuttlebutt, among the one’s trying to be helped, that insures after some have tried to be helped would shock some. So many want something for nothing. I am talking about the ones who claim they want help, but really dont want to do the work. They are out there. How do we distinguish? The need chaos, and understandably so. Many don’t want to “show up in life.” Again, how do we distinguish? I have seen so many failures in trying to help, so many!! I had to finally stop. I experience too many relied on ME to do the work. They have to do the work required to help themselves. How do we know she is pregnant? We dont, or do we? I have seen most give stories, and laugh when the regurgitate, saying so many suckers. This has only been my experience. i was sucked dry for 30 years. Had sister who in mental health to assist so i wouldn’t make many mistakes, and was for naught. Only 4 people in my helping have done what was necessary. I am not talking about the mentally ill. And yes, you can asses who needs gross mental assistance. But i applaud you for trying.

  • Scott Mills

    Thanks for sharing this story. 3 wishes 1. take advantage of opportunities presented, 2. stay in school & 3. never do drugs

  • The Fish Lady

    Does it really matter if she is pregnant or not? Does it really matter if they do not like ‘organized routines’? Do your prejudices of who the homeless are and why they are homeless really matter? We are in America and NO ONE, no matter who they are, should go to bed hungry, EVER!! We treat prisoners better than we treat the homeless.

  • Pilgrim

    Also: a lack or coordination of services for mothers and children. She had a place and a program until she gave birth, but then had to sleep on a gym floor with her newborn?!? She left with less than she had when she went in. But at least she and her baby were healthy for a while….

  • Graham Patterson

    If anyone comes across a homeless parent or soon-to-be mom in San Francisco, please take a moment to refer then to Compass Connecting Point (http://compass-sf.org/programs/connecting-point – 855-234-2667). It is a fantastic service which coordinates housing at the city’s three homeless shelters that are specifically for families. We encourage this kind of engagement which will lead to sustained services and support in getting off the street first of all, and eventually in becoming self sufficient if that is a realistic goal. Please feel free to contact Genevieve Sublette with any questions at [email protected].

  • Al Ahmad

    good luck to all of the homeless

  • Al Ahmad

    I suffer from bipolar disorder which means I am down most of the time I am fortunate enough to have a place to live.I have watched a couple of the videos and I would just like to say that my heart goes out to all of the wonderful individuals I have come across – you are definitely not invisible to me

  • Al Ahmad

    This is a msg for Hannah – the young girl who is homeless – I am so sorry about your situation and I just wish that I could help you out I pray to God that somebody good comes along and does omething to help you out

  • Helen Ramaglia

    It scares me, because I could have been homeless as well. At 18, a foster child who graduated high school at 16, three weeks before ‘aging out’ I was sitting on the side of my bed with a handful of sleeping pills because I couldn’t face homelessness. But instead of taking them, I got married at 17, three weeks before aging out. Here is a little about me. I was foster, so we lived almost the same kind of life. I finally overcame trauma at 46 while fighting for the resources for my two foster adopted boys. (I have two grown kids as well) I never realized trauma controlled my life, I thought I was just extremely quiet and painfully shy. I didn’t realize I was too afraid to speak and scared of trusting people. But today I have found my success story. I wrote a book “From Foster to Fabulous – One little girl’s journey through abuse, foster care aging out and life beyond.” At 35 years old I was on my knees begging God to help me put my life back together. Two weeks later I found a book, “The Best Question Ever” by Andy Stanley and it gave me a formula for making good decisions. IT CHANGED my life! Everyone pointed their fingers at me and told me what I was doing wrong. No one told me what I was doing right or HOW to make a good decisions. At 38 I purged all of the bad stuff from my memory banks and set out to replace all of the bad with good. Today Dawn- Today I am proud to say Helen is a former foster child who lived a life of constant trauma and despair. She is a foster adoptive parent, the Author of “From Foster to Fabulous” and the founder of “Fostering SuperStars”, a non-profit for foster children. She is a Congressional Award Winner, a Points of Light Award Honoree and is a current Woman of Worth Award Nominee. She is a national speaker, trainer, and advocate for foster children. Helen has written many compelling articles for “The Chronicle of Social Change”, and is a much sought after Child Welfare Trainer and Keynote Speaker. Helen and her husband lives in Georgia and have four children. What I am trying to say Jacob – You too have a success story inside of you. Please email me through my website and I would love to send you a copy of my book and a small journal I have created for foster children. “My Foster Success Journal”, it guides you to finding YOUR success story and the tools to reach it. I would love for you to send me your greatest pain (one word) so I can write it on a rock with your name, age and number of placements. I plant the rocks under the weeping willow in my backyard. I call it the “Garden of Pain” and I wrote a poem for it. Hundreds of foster voices live under that tree. I visit them everyday and think about, or pray about their pain. I hope I hear from you sweet lady. I would also like to send you a postcard set of the “Garden of Pain”. http://www.fromfostertofabulou..

  • Sexy

    hi l’am home less too but l’am 58 years old been home less 49 years love it don’t know anything else begging for money or a hot meal

  • Eva Anderson

    The State shame on you …… when we (homeless) cannot help ourselves we are sick addicted or to poor to pay for birth control IT IS YOUR PROBLEM (State and Government) I make 10 K a year and live very poor retirement now BUT I see it from the bottom up I KNOW they have a voice a heart and are humans lets start treating like they are http://www.hopelesstohopeful.weebly.com https://www.facebook.com/hopelesstohopefulorganization/

  • Eva Anderson

    she never had a chance now it is those in power with resources to do so then you can sleep at night and she will too

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