Davonna has lived homeless on the same street in San Francisco for the last six years. A few times she went into the city’s shelter system but always ended up back in the same spot. When I asked her why Davonna said it’s because she feels it’s a safe haven.
One in five transgender individuals has experienced homelessness at some point in their lives. Family rejection, discrimination, and violence are part of the reason. The other is social service, and homeless shelters that work with this population often fail to culturally and appropriately serve transgender homeless people, including denying them shelter based on their gender identity.
Transgender individuals are often more vulnerable than other homeless populations, yet HUD has proposed a rule that would roll back protections for transgender homeless. This is especially disturbing knowing that several faith-based organizations support this type of discrimination. I am not a theologian, but I’m pretty sure Jesus wouldn’t be fighting to exclude people who need help.
Twice Davonna been in the city’s Navigation Center but because there is no housing and from what I understand there is a time limit on beds, Davonna was exited back to the streets. San Francisco’s homeless services is very complicated. Their shelter system is based on a reservation model. I’m told there are over 1,200 people waiting for a shelter bed.
Special thanks to the Coalition on Homelessness http://www.cohsf.org