Homeless For Years, Older Women In Los Angeles Find A Good Home | Skid Row, California | HealthyCal.org
On Skid Row, the downtown hub of the homeless population in Los Angeles, transients ask passersby for change, slump against concrete buildings, and mumble obscenities at bus stops. The Downtown Women’s Center’s beautiful new building, sitting in the middle of the mayhem, is a standout. The DWC’s Day Center serves hundreds of homeless women in its facilities every day and 71 lucky ones live in permanent residences, or efficiency apartments.
The Center is a particular refuge for older homeless women who have lived in shelters, with family or on the streets for longer stretches of time. Of the 50,000 homeless people in LA County, 30 percent are women, and that number is increasing. About 47 percent of the women at the DWC are 51 years or older, the age that the AARP designates as senior citizen.
Women like Francine Andrade have struggled for years to find a home.
“To me, this is paradise,” said Andrade, 61, a teen runaway and abuse victim who slept on the cement sidewalk in Hollywood for two years. “Finally, at last, I don’t have to keep moving, not knowing where I am going to be.”