Homeless woman helped by Good Samaritan

April 29, 2009 7:55:53 PM PDT
San Francisco spends millions each year on services for the homeless. Yet, it has taken the effort of one woman and the power of the Internet to get a family off the streets -- at least temporarily.

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They are a familiar sight on the streets of San Francisco, and most of us simply ignore the homeless.

A few days ago in the Financial District a passerby saw a sign held by a woman with three young children, begging for money for a motel room, food and clothes.

"I did catch her eyes when I passed her, and I saw her eyes were just brimming with tears," said Good Samaritan Julie Michelle.

When Julie Michelle got to the end of the block she turned around.

"So you go back and?" asked ABC7's Carolyn Tyler.

"Give her my $30 and tell her I would do more but I just lost my job," said Julie Michelle.

If she had not lost her job, Julie says she never would have been walking around the day she met the young woman.

"I started talking to her and it just dawned on me all of a sudden that I have this blog," said Julie Michelle.

She published a picture and a post telling the story of the young woman who ended up homeless after leaving a husband who shot her. Emails, letters and donations have been coming in from all over the world.

"From Germany, Belize, England, all over the United States," said Julie Michelle.

"I think it's amazing, I couldn't believe it. I thought she was too good to be true," said the woman.

The woman did not want to be identified. She and her children, including a two-month old baby, have received enough money to live, at least temporarily in a motel room. It's an answer to her prayers.

"I got on my knees and was praying Lord please, I don't want to go back out there with the kids and the cold," said the woman.

She told ABC7 she calls every morning trying to get into one of the city shelters.

"Every time I call, they don't accept domestic violence or they don't have space for my family because it's too big," said the woman.

According to city officials, there are currently 168 families on a waiting list for shelters and a three-to-six month wait in most cases.

Victims of domestic violence have even fewer options.

"If someone is fleeing a domestic violence situation, we then direct them to a domestic violence shelter, which are anonymous," said Dariush Kayhan from the San Francisco Department of Human Services.

But there are only three of those safe havens in San Francisco and this woman says none have had room for her.

"We do have a very robust system for homeless families and single adults. No doubt about it, there is a wait to get into some of our full service systems," said the woman.

But he agrees this mother and her children should have received immediate help, and now says he's working on that.

Domestic Violence Number - The Organization for Woman Inc 415-864-4722
Toll Free 1-877-384-3578

Julie Michelle's blog

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