Saturday, April 19, 2014     Volume: 28, Issue: 38
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Panga Boat Bust 9/6

Weekly Poll
Are you comfortable with prayer in public meetings?

Yes, atheists have too much control over what's allowed.
No, keep church and state separate.
Let anyone from any religion pray in public and that will make it fair.
I'm more uncomfortable with the fact that local politicians think they need divine assistance.

Vote! | Poll Results

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New Times / Community

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.

Guinevere and Crystal Simko

Ninety-six days before New Times spoke with Guinevere and Crystal Simko, the mother and daughter were evicted from their San Luis Obispo County home. Ten days after that, they were rear-ended in a car accident, considerably worsening their financial situation.

Guinevere, a laser machinist by trade, also suffers from hearing loss. Not long before our interview, Guinevere's hearing aid had broken, and she had difficulty understanding people without them raising their voices.

Guinevere and Crystal, who turns 10 next month, have been living out of their car since May 2, eating at McDonalds and showering where they can. Guinevere has found herself in a kind of homelessness trap: she's able to provide for herself and her daughter on her salary, but finding a permanent home has proved difficult. With her poor hearing, phone conversations have become nearly impossible, and her lack of computer skills make it difficult to search for a new place online. Compounded with Guinevere's work schedule, the two have had little opportunity to secure a new home.

Guinevere needs someone to help with the rental application process, assist her in using the computer, and make phone calls to potential landlords on her behalf. She and Crystal would also greatly benefit from a temporary place for them and their pets to stay. After securing permanent housing, Guinevere's long-term goal is to go back to school to learn welding and auto body repair.

Guinevere grew up in Pismo Beach, moving to Oregon as a teenager. She and Crystal have been living in SLO County for the past three years.

I've been on my own since I was 15," she told New Times. "Never had to deal with this."

Send offers of assistance to homelessproject@newtimesslo.com.

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