D.C. Woman Prefers Living in Car to Homeless Shelters - NBC4 Washington

D.C. Woman Prefers Living in Car to Homeless Shelters



    Bloomingdale Community Helping Woman Living in Car

    A DC nurse was forced onto the streets after losing her job. She is living in her car because she's too scared to go to a shelter. Neighbors are now rallying to help her get back on her feet. Darcy Spencer has the story. (Published Wednesday, July 16, 2014)

    The Bloomingdale neighborhood is rallying around a recently homeless woman living in her car because she’s afraid to stay in a shelter.

    The 58-year-old woman lost her apartment in April after losing her job as a nurse in May 2013.

    “People advised me that my car is better than emergency shelter,” she said.

    After losing her job, she was denied unemployment. She appealed and won, but her landlord had already told her to leave.

    “Since April I have never lain down,” she said. “Never.”

    When neighbors learned the woman was living in the car in the heat, they began to help.

    She recently started working again, but it is part time, and she hasn’t been able to find housing.

    Neighbors said the lack of affordable housing and the condition of shelters like D.C. General leave many people who’ve lost their jobs with few options.

    “I think this is a wakeup call for us that even in a neighborhood like Bloomingdale where these homes are selling for $800,000 and upward, this can happen right here,” ANC Commissioner Teri Janine Quinn said.

    Neighborhood leaders are working with a church to help the woman.

    Council member Jim Graham, who oversees D.C. shelters, offered to personally help. The Department of Human Services said she could get food stamps and help finding a job.

    The current administration has committed to spending $187 million to boost the district's supply of affordable housing this fiscal year.