Born in Mississippi
San Francisco resident since 1988
My name is Juanita. I’m a resident here in a DISH facility. My favorite home was a place in Sacramento that I had with my five children. I became homeless after that home burned down. I lived in homeless hotels for families on Eddy Street, then I moved to Livermore where they had more homeless housing for women in battered situations. But then I lost custody of my children because they said I was living a transient lifestyle, because I didn’t have a home. I became addicted to drugs and lost my job through the transition. I ended up in the Tenderloin, homeless for many years. I lived in shelters and did a lot of volunteering—which got me here. I attended a meeting at the mayor’s office. I was attending city college at the time while staying in shelters. So I got up and spoke on that, and the fact that the agencies had assisted me, and how it gave me a place to go, and put it in my heart and my mind to work with homeless individuals. By the time I went to leave out the door, Supervisor Dufty had his assistant catch me. I told her I had been on the list for several years, and I was never able to move into a place. And within three months I was here. I tell people everyday is a happy day for me. No matter how sad I am or what I think I can’t get through, I know I will overcome it. Even though I go into depressions, I know I can overcome it. But I’m just happy everyday. I’m grateful everyday that I am still here, that I can still think, that I can still get up, that I can still walk.