Perhaps you have seen a woman pushing a large shopping cart of recyclables around the streets of downtown Santa Barbara. Her name is Nancy Thompson, and all of us who know her or have seen her can rejoice that she is now housed after being homeless for 23 years.
As a woman living outdoors who also has health problems, Nancy was identified as one of the top 100 most vulnerable individuals in Santa Barbara County during the 2010 Vulnerability Index survey. When I saw her name on that list, I knew I needed to advocate for this remarkable, self-sufficient woman who regularly showers and eats at the Santa Barbara Rescue Mission.
Now, thanks to the Santa Barbara City Housing Authority, the wonderful women at the Doctors Without Walls/Santa Barbara Street Medicine Women’s Clinic, and all the rest of us who encouraged and supported her, Nancy has the keys to her own apartment. The Pathpoint support staff is going to help Nancy explore other means of earning her living after she settles in. Although she can pull hundreds of pounds of recyclables at age 57, she knows that a less strenuous and stressful job will be welcome as she ages.
Congratulations, Nancy, you have earned this!
Homeless Guest Services Director