'It'll be better than where I am' | SJ homeless woman receives call that could put roof over her head

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Saturday, February 8, 2020
SJ homeless woman receives call that could put roof over her head
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There is no shortage of content on the Internet. A recent Reddit post is racking up comments and compassion for a homeless woman in San Jose.

SAN JOSE, Calif. (KGO) -- There is no shortage of content on the Internet. A recent Reddit post is racking up comments and compassion for a homeless woman in San Jose.

"My connection on Reddit has helped keep me from being completely alienated from society," Robin Powers told ABC7 News. "A lot of people who are out here for a long time, it's easy to become that way."

Powers has been homeless for five years. On Wednesday, she used Reddit to share some promising news. Her post led with the title, "I got a call from housing today!"

Santa Clara County's Office of Supportive Housing called Powers to begin the process of putting a roof over her head.

"I used to be married. I had a two-bedroom apartment. I worked in accounting," she explained.

However, Powers has since been divorced and is currently suffering from a connective tissue disorder which has kept her from work.

"It's not going to kill you, but it's not going to make it any easier for you to live," she said about her condition.

Powers lives under a South Bay freeway to keep winter weather from destroying all that she owns.

"There's no amount of tarps you can put on a tent to keep it dry. It's a tent. No matter what you do to it, it's fabric," Powers added. "You can only do so much. So, I like the concrete above me."

Powers isn't the only one out there.

"Frankly, we all need to be indoors," she said.

So ABC7 News reached out to the County's Office of Supportive Housing (OSH) to learn about their process.

No one was immediately available for comment on Friday afternoon, but the office shared a diagram explaining its Coordinated Assessment Process.

According to the County's OSH website, "... All homeless people complete a standard assessment tool (the Vulnerability Index-Service Prioritization Decision Assessment Tool or VI-SPDAT) that considers the household's situation and identifies the best type of housing intervention to address their situation."

From there, "a community queue of eligible households is generated from the standard assessment. The community queue is used to fill spaces in the permanent housing programs, including permanent supportive housing and rapid rehousing, in the County."

The County's process reduces any need for the unhoused to seek assistance at every service provider separately.

Powers said the system is helping to build a better Bay Area.

"Every building that has gone up, I'm like, I know someone there, I know someone there. So, it's really happening for people that I know," she explained about new housing complexes for the formerly homeless. "It's not just a few people here and there. It's not just people in shelters. They're taking people off the streets- really needy, needy people that need this."

Powers said her push started two years ago. Now, the process is finally picking up.

She said after the call on Wednesday, she got paperwork in order on Thursday. On Friday, Powers said she met with a doctor to verify her disability. Come Saturday, Powers said outreach officials will be by to verify she is actually homeless.

"Then on Monday, I give that all to them. They'll say my packet is complete- don't know what that means- but it sounds exciting. Don't know where they're going to put me, but it'll be better than where I am," Powers told ABC7 News.

Powers said she's looking forward to, "Just being able to walk away and not wonder what's going to happen to my stuff while I'm gone. Not wondering if it's going to be there, if someone's going to go in it. If some government organization is going to sweep it all away, because that's happened to me before."

Additionally, Powers is excited to be able to "plug things in."

"Being able to plug things. I hate charging so much. Oh, I hate charging so much," she said. "That, and being able to shower."

For now, Powers is working to complete the necessary verification processes.

See more stories and videos about Building a Better Bay Area here.