Born in San Francisco
My name is Larance and I’m glad to have somebody hear what I have to say. I had a car accident and became homeless. Riding the bus to stay warm at night. No money. Once I felt all that, I felt really alone. I felt hungry for everything you can mention. I felt hungry for food. I felt hungry for communication. You need everything. As I am walking the streets one night after no nutrition, walking the streets at night and drinking, I passed out at Market and 8th. I knew I was sick so I went to General Hospital. When they were going to release me, they told me, “We aren’t just going to send you back out on the streets. We are going to get you in contact with the agencies here and maybe they can help you.” They put me in touch with a counselor there and if I stayed away from alcohol and drugs, she could get me housing. Sure enough she came through and I’ve been here ever since. I’ve been in San Francisco all my life. I think about my dad when he came to the Haight/Ashbury. He wasn’t a rich man but he could afford it. Now a workingman really can’t. The house my parents bought, they owned it for 50 years, but the area started changing. I could be sitting in front of the house I was born and raised in, and officers would drive by and go, “Hey somebody over there just called the cops.” And it would be a new person who just moved in. And the cops go, “Do you live here?” And I say, “Yeah my parents bought this house 40 or 50 years ago. Why did they call the cops on me?” “Heck if I know.”
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.