Davonna has lived homeless on the same street in San Francisco for the last six years. A few times she went into the city’s shelter system but always ended up back in the same spot. When I asked her why Davonna said it’s because she feels it’s a safe haven.
One in five transgender individuals has experienced homelessness at some point in their lives. Family rejection, discrimination, and violence are part of the reason. The other is social service, and homeless shelters that work with this population often fail to culturally and appropriately serve transgender homeless people, including denying them shelter based on their gender identity.
Transgender individuals are often more vulnerable than other homeless populations, yet HUD has proposed a rule that would roll back protections for transgender homeless. This is especially disturbing knowing that several faith-based organizations support this type of discrimination. I am not a theologian, but I’m pretty sure Jesus wouldn’t be fighting to exclude people who need help.
Twice Davonna been in the city’s Navigation Center but because there is no housing and from what I understand there is a time limit on beds, Davonna was exited back to the streets. San Francisco’s homeless services are very complicated. Their shelter system is based on a reservation model. I’m told there are over 1,200 people waiting for a shelter bed.
Special thanks to the Coalition on Homelessness http://www.cohsf.org
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Since its launch in November 2008, Invisible People has leveraged the power of video and the massive reach of social media to share the compelling, gritty, and unfiltered stories of homeless people from Los Angeles to Washington, D.C. The vlog (video blog) gets up close and personal with veterans, mothers, children, layoff victims, and others who have been forced onto the streets by a variety of circumstances. Each week, they’re on InvisiblePeople.tv, and high traffic sites such as YouTube, Twitter and Facebook, proving to a global audience that while they may often be ignored, they are far from invisible.
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