Stories from Women Living in The Shelter

thI never imagined what it would be like to live in a shelter.  Living in a shelter is a challenge, but at least it is a roof over the head and food is provided.  Being an older adult, 57, and having to follow their rules is a challenge.  An example is that we have to go to bed at 9 pm.  Yes, even adults have rules to follow.  We have the feeling of a lack of freedom, as we cannot come and go as we wish.  This is hard to deal with.

Having to sleep in a warehouse with 145 other women, sharing 4 bathroom stalls and 3 shower stall doesn’t allow for any privacy.

I have learned that many women lack hygiene practices.  Is it because they don’t know how to take care of themselves, the lack of hygiene items, or have they given up and no longer care about how they look.  Some of these women get physical when confronted.  There is a lot of verbal fighting.  Until now, I having not experienced women who steal from others.  I am living with women who have a variety of illnesses.  There are too many women staying here who have mental health issues.

On top of that, I have diabetes and the food supplied are foods that I should not be eating.  Other women have food allergies, which is another health issue that is not considered when being fed.

Transportation is provided when we are locked out of the building after 7 am.   We need to go somewhere else to look for food, a job, etc.   If we don’t have one, we are expected to look for a job.  Not having access to a computer and transportation prohibits us from seeking employment.  Many of us do not have funds to buy a bus pass.  Some of the women here do have a job and are provided transportation, arriving back after the evening meal.

I often feel hurt and lonely.  How can a person feel lonely when there are 145 women eating and sleeping in the same rooms?

A sense of dignity is lacking when living in “The Shelter”.