Elena Mays was excited Thanksgiving Day to get out of the homeless shelter. “That was my move out date,” she explained. But for bureaucratic reasons unknown the day came and went in the shelter she remained.
“The ups and downs make it really hard,” she tells Offramp producer Taylor Orci at Languille Emergency Shelter, part of Good Shepherd Center. “I’ve never been in the system. It’s all new to me.” Before her current hardships began, Mays had never been on food stamps or government assistance. She didn’t know what Section 8 was and she didn’t know what the Housing Authority did. But when her husband died three years ago, Mays found herself in dire straights unable to keep up with the payments on her home. She found herself dealing with things she never thought she’d have to deal with.
“I miss my dogs more than I miss my home,” she reflects. The stress of her new situation makes it tough for her to sleep, and sometimes she stays up till 3am playing solitaire on her phone. “Some of the other ladies in the shelter go out in the daytime,” she says. “But then you spend money, so I just stay in my room. I don’t even go out into the courtyard.”
Because of the complications that have kept her from moving into her own place, Mays has become withdrawn and admittedly depressed. “Pray for me,” she says, mustering a laugh.
The day after Mays spoke with KPCC, she was admitted to the hospital due to complications from stress.
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