Thursday, August 21, 2014     Volume: 29, Issue: 4
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The Homeless Project

At New Times, we believe that homelessness is not a problem that can be attacked with money or plans. When we think of homelessness, we don't think of statistics; we think of people. We think of people who've had problems in their lives, and they all have a story to tell. We believe that common sense is the only way we'll ever come close to ending homelessness. This is our common-sense approach, and these are their stories.

Phyllis Hamilton-Domico

If you ask Phyllis Hamilton-Damico where she’s staying, she’ll give you the cross-streets to wherever she pitched her small tent the night before.

Hamilton-Damico hasn’t always lived like this. She had a family years ago, but that dynamic came to a stressful end, and now she’s on her own.

“I just waited for the cheapest bus from Maryland and hopped on it and ended up here,” she continued. “I was trying to get to Hawaii to continue my education at the college there, but I never made it.”

For the last three years, Hamilton-Damico has been a resident of San Luis Obispo County. She has stayed in shelters on and off, but mostly off, citing her stress and need for peace and quiet as deterrents from the shelters.

“It took a long time to get here,” Hamilton-Damico said. “I walked, took the bus, or got rides from strangers. When I got to Pismo Beach, the park rangers at the campgrounds said they would take me to the shelter in San Luis, so they gave me a ride and I’ve been here ever since.”

Hamilton-Damico has been attempting to get Social Security benefits due to her mental status, but must have a stable home to collect. Hamilton-Damico also has difficulty seeking out Section-8 housing due to her lack of transportation.

“The bus is great, but it doesn’t always go to places where I can find suitable housing,” she said. “If someone would be willing to provide me with transportation to those places, and perhaps also accompany me to my doctor’s appointments, I would be very grateful.”

Hamilton-Damico is a soft-spoken, intelligent individual looking to broaden her support network.

“I have my friend Daniel,” she said. “But that’s about it.”

Send offers of assistance to homelessproject@newtimesslo.com.

 

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