Stephanie just woke up. She lives in Governor Abbott’s state-run homeless camp in Austin, Texas. Jennifer was on her way to the porta-potty when her friends suggested that I talk to her. I was kind of surprised she agreed. It’s rare people want to speak to a camera first thing after getting out of bed.
Stephanie says homelessness is hard being judged and pointed at looked down by people who don’t understand the situation. Most people believe people are homeless because they don’t want to work or do anything for themselves. Stephanie continues there are people in the camp who had homes and have jobs but lost everything do to a crisis or an illness. In Stephanie’s situation, it’s both crisis and illness.
The owner sold the home Stephanie was living in. Although she was sick with cancer, she had to leave the property in 24 hours. Stephanie then went through major surgery. She says the hospital exited her back to homelessness even though she needed recuperative care, where she then survived on the streets severely disabled. Sadly, hospitals are known to exit patents without insurance or a place to stay out on the streets. A few hospitals have been sued for patient dumping, but they still do it.
Stephanie is now receiving disability, but it’s still not enough to rent an apartment. She has been on a housing list for three years, but because of the affordable housing crisis, homeless service providers have trouble finding apartments. Everyone I talk to during my visit to Camp Texas had been on a housing list for several years. We need your help to fix that.
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.