A few years back, Jennifer woke up in pain. She immediately went to the hospital. Jennifer was diagnosed with Lymphangioleiomyomatosis (LAM) disease. LAM disease is extremely rare occurs almost exclusively in women. Because of cancer caused by LAM disease, Jennifer lost a kidney. Jennifer cannot work. She has been applying for Social Security Disability Insurance benefits since 2017 but keeps on getting denied.
Jennifer says that since she’s been on the streets homeless in Austin, Texas, she has been raped three times. Homelessness is hell for everyone but homeless women and youth have an extreme risk of sexual violence. Jennifer continues that shelters are unsafe because belongings get stolen or there is a risk of more violence.
Jennifer has been waiting two years for housing. Although she is disabled, there is not enough housing for all the people who need it. Jennifer says her legs are swollen to where it hurts to walk but she has to keep moving. Homeless people can be fined or arrested just for being in one place too long.
Jennifer saw me interviewing Cheech and approached me to request that I help her tell her story. Both interviews messaged me up and reinforced the importance of Invisible People’s work. Jennifer should not be on the streets homeless but like many others who are also disabled yet cannot get benefits, they do what they can to survive on the streets. For me, I believe we must help people get out of homelessness because it’s the right thing to do but housing people also saves taxpayer money.
Your voice can help end homelessness. If we do not fix the affordable housing crisis, homelessness will continue to get worse. Click here to tweet, email, call, or Facebook your federal and state legislators to tell them ending homelessness and creating more affordable housing is a priority to you.