“I come to 15 Place during the day and sometimes go to the women’s shelter at night. I had a man who put me through hell and I have been homeless about a month. I have been on disability the last four years so getting a job isn’t that simple. That check runs out fast. My stuff has been stolen several times and all I have now are the clothes I am wearing, but so far I have been lucky. I am 54 so I don’t have to worry so much about prostitution or being raped. I have been homeless before. I was living in a tent in the woods and had a kid. I know how to survive, I just didn’t want to have to do it again. It is hard on women out here. Becoming a drug addict or a prostitute are the main options you have and some women are prostitutes for drugs. I am back on drugs because it takes away the pain and helps me get through the day. My brother and sister don’t understand it. Ice is my drug choice now, it is similar to meth without the addiction. I know I need help. People judge so quickly. I don’t have clean clothes, but that doesn’t make me a nasty person. Could you imagine living your life out here?”
“I don’t know what I am going to do without 15 Place, I guess just walk up and down the streets and sit in the park downtown. It is hard watching what the girls out here turn into. That could be your kid. My son doesn’t know I am out here. I have a grandchild now but I don’t want them to see me like this.”
15 Place ended many of its services yesterday. It was a day shelter for the homeless that provided showers, washing machines, internet and a place to receive mail. It will still try to provide case workers and connections to the services the homeless need but it will be harder for the homeless to meet them. 15 Place was a place for the homeless to leave their bags and a safe place for women to go during the daytime when they can’t be in the shelters. It is also a sad time for the people who are losing their jobs because helping the homeless is what they want to do. 15 Place may be dropping many of its programs, but the homeless will still be here.