Woman Chooses Homelessness over Fear

By Wanda

I became homeless late last year when a child playing with matches burnt my building down. The Red Cross tried to help me find a place I could afford but I ended up at Garden Valley Estates. I have an apartment there, I just don’t stay there. It’s just too much shooting and theft. I can’t stay where I’m in constant fear, that’s why I stay at the shelter on East 30th and Euclid.

There’s a lot of thieving going on in there but you don’t have to fear for your life. I really don’t like anything about the place except for the fact that they’ll take you in when all the other shelters are full. We stay in the basement of the church. Sometimes there are women with small children there. Those are the ones I really feel sorry for. You see some of these young women with two or three small children, black eyes and nowhere else to go.

They try to escape the bad situation they’re in and end up here in another bad situation. I’m glad my kids are grown and gone, I don’t have to worry about dragging them to a shelter that stinks from Lord knows what. Some of these women go back to their abusive husbands after a few days. With some of the crackheads and crazies in here they’re better off going home to their own hell.

I’m just waiting for an apartment at one of the safer projects. The problem is that once you have a place[HUD] don’t consider your situation an emergency. They ought to realize that if you can’t stay your apartment because of the drugs and violence you are homeless.

Note: Wanda is on the waiting list for a different apartment at CMHA. She was interviewed at CHCH Women’s Center.

Copyright for the Homeless Grapevine Cleveland Ohio Issue 27 May 1998