HOW WOULD YOU LIKE TO HAVE A ONE BEDROOM HOUSE for 200$ a year? MANY WOULD. ALL UTILITIES PAID, NO WATERING THE GARDEN. Marge Giaimo has it. She is an attractive, stylish senior who (HAVING NO EXPENSES AT ALL,) spends every day at a picnic table under the shadow of an oak tree. Santa Barbara's trees, like its oceans and mountains, are one thing she says she never tires of here. After losing her senior housing three years ago, this table is where she does her painting these days.
When Living Out Of A Car, It's Hard To Feel At Home - 20 Years Since Welfare's Overhaul, Results Are Mixed
"I feel very fortunate to have my car," Giaimo says. "It's a little cramped, but it's softer than cement."
Of all her once-valued possessions, today her 20-year-old, gold Oldsmobile is her most important one. It is her home, and she keeps it as neat as a pin.
"And then this is where I sleep," she says. "I have the three pillows and I have foam to sleep on."
In the wealthy coastal city of Santa Barbara, north of Los Angeles, the demand for senior housing is so great the wait list is now closed. After all, California's senior population is expected to grow by 50 percent in the next decade. And even the SENIORS living in HIGH RISE APARTMENTS are outta luck. Bldg owners are evicting them to do a refurbish
and go co-op and clean up! http://patch.com/california/studiocity/s/fz1s1/councilman-asks-residents-to-pressure-heartless-executives-to-stop-evicting-disabled-seniors?utm_source=alert-breakingnews&utm_medium=email&utm_term=politics%20%26%20government&utm_campaign=alert
For the seniors left out in the cold, their only option is living in their cars.
"It is a hidden population and a growing population," says Cassie Roach, who oversees Safe Parking, a city-funded program at the New Beginnings Counseling Center. "And it is quite different from the street homeless."
Safe Parking has designated 115 parking spaces in church, county and city lots where people living in their cars — such as Giaimo — can park safely overnight.
Roach says many of those living in their cars have fallen upon hard times for the first time in their lives.
Among them is 61-year-old Lise MacFarlane. She is grateful for one of those Safe Parking spots.
"I'm more comfortable sleeping now," MacFarlane says.
On LA's Skid Row, Homeless Women Seek Shelter From The Streets
MacFarlane says she lost the home she grew up in last December after being evicted by the new owner.
A Day In The Life Of A Homeless Woman Who Sleeps At A Skid Row Shelter
"I was sleeping in front of my house and the park," MacFarlane says. "It's hard to walk away. That's it."
She shares her Toyota Highlander with her two dogs and a very large white cat named Willie.
"They don't like being in the car all the time," MacFarlane says. "They want to be in a home."
While most people are having dinner, MacFarlane rolls into her assigned church parking lot.
"It's really hard sitting in the car watching people, watching people I know go by," she says, crying.
Safety And Support The sun has gone down, but Giaimo's gold Oldsmobile is hard to miss. It's parked a few spaces away from a Honda CRV owned by 74-year-old Barbara Harvey.
"We support one another very much," Harvey says.
"She puts up with me," Giaimo responds.
"There is no putting up with Marge, OK," Harvey says, laughing.
In this women-only lot, friendships are forged. There are seven designated spaces, and later in the evening a lot monitor stops by to check in on them.
By 7 a.m. they will need to be gone.
The sound of a trash truck heralds the morning in this parking lot. Giaimo and MacFarlane are getting ready to leave for the day.
"It's dog walking time," Giaimo says. "Did I drop something out my trunk?"
"I think you did," MacFarlane responds.
"I can't find my brush. See, this is what we go through," Giaimo says, laughing. "Where did I put my brush?"
MacFarlane loads up her dogs as Willie the cat reluctantly makes room for them on the stacked blankets. Giaimo smiles and waves goodbye.
Giaimo's day continues with a shower at the Y. Then, she'll return to her picnic table.
The 75-year-old painter is on a wait list for senior housing in Santa Barbara. She's been told it could take another seven years.
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Our POSTER is ANITA SANDS HERNANDEZ, Los Angeles Writer, mother of 4 and career Astrologer. Catch up with her websites TRUTHS GOV WILL HIDE & NEVER TELL YOU, also The FUTURE, WHAT'S COMIN' AT YA! FRUGAL LIFE STYLE TIPS, HOW TO SURVIVE the COMING GREAT DEPRESSION, and Secrets of Nature, HOLISTIC, AFFORDABLE HEALING. Also ARTISANRY FOR EXPORT, EARN EUROS..* Anita is at email@example.com ). Get a free natal horoscope "my money/future life" reading now + copy horoscope as a Gif file graphic! No smarter, more accurate destiny reading out there!
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