Re: Place

Doreen Esberk (
Fri, 20 Nov 1998 18:12:40 -0500

Dear Virginia:
    Thank you for your insights.  I live in Washington, DC.
Due to a serious back injury I was homeless for the better part
of a year.  I was accepted at a local women's shelter during this
time.  Now I have an apartment which up until two months ago I
shared with a roommate.  I am 56 years of age.  I mention all of
this because I deeply understand the lack of services for the
homeless here in the District of .Columbia.. the Nations Capitol.
I was being treated for Major  Trauma Depression... a bunch of
physical problems and was displaced from both employment and
my living quarters which I had enjoyed for many years.  The "shock"
of being unable to care for myself left me... speechless.  I was
also treated like a non entity where I stayed.  I must tell you that I
have been what is considered pretty successful and it was a real
bummer to be left on the corner of the street when I could no longer
pay my rent.  It was in one way a blessing to know that I had a safe
place to lay my head... food each day... and the chance to seek
medical treatment.  Although I was approved for SSDI  in two months
after has been a constant struggle to just eat and
pay rent and be able to take the bus to where I have to go.
I was also fortunate enough to receive a grant to study Fine Art at
a Local Museum and struggle just to get there each day as I can
hardly walk!  I do feel like I am part of the Community.  I thank the
Universe each day that I have something to do three days a week.
Something to look forward to.  In order to take advantage of the
grant I go without proper food most of the time.  I would love to live
in a setting where others were aware of my limitations and still
pleased to see me!  This area only helps those afflicted by drugs
or alcohol. From what I could see, the shelter I was housed in did not
even do that very well.  It seemed as if the Shelter benefited more than
the women did!  Funding was always there...yet one could easily see
that it was not really being spent for the benefit of the women.  As this
was not a problem I was experiencing it left me
with little or no support.  Let's face it... who  cares if you are depressed
and look fine.....I feel that the District needs to really improve the
services to the homeless and those like myself who
had a combination of problems.  For instance:  I was required to
clean and cook and do lot's of things at the shelter which have only
added to my problems with my spine.  Yet...If I did not adhere, I would
have been living under a tree!
     It is my feeling that there are many combinations that help one
recover.  One of course is proper medical care.... and   also something to lift and heal the broken spirit within.
    I am responding as I feel such deep compassion for anyone who
faces the problem of not being able to trust that they will always have
their necessary three feet of floor space and some dignity and
loving care so that they may mend and heal the broken heart that
keeps one homeless.
   If you know of any program here in the District I would like to donate
some time and as I have been in Federal Contracting for many
years...I would not mind helping in applying for HUD Grants or working
on them to further the quest for equality and safety for all.
Doreen Esberk
-----Original Message-----
From: Virginia Sellner <>
To: <>
Cc: <>
Date: Wednesday, November 18, 1998 2:21 PM
Subject: Re: Place

>This is an interesting discussion, but you are missing part of the point
>entirely I believe.  The point is people need PLACE and need to feel they
>belong -- okay -- so you start by giving them a PLACE they can be, or go
>feel a part of -- and this then can develop out into something more.  As
>poem says not just a physical place, but a spriitual place, and a sense of
>community.   Some of you are getting a little too intellectual, and not
>taking into consideration that it might not even matter if a person has a
>physical home, if they feel that they have a place in society, a group they
>belong to, have a sense of community.  That comes BEFORE the land and the
>Virginia Sellner
>Virginia Sellner
>Wyoming Coalition for the Homeless
>P. O. Box 1232
>Cheyenne, WY 82003-1232
>Located at 910 Central Ave. Upstairs
>(307) 634-8499
>web page: