Homeless get support, info at local event

Published 9:35 pm Thursday, August 13, 2009

The last time Asia Moore and her three daughters slept in a building was sometime last week — she doesn’t remember which day.

Moore fled an abusive husband in Texas about two months ago, coming to Virginia, because she thought her mother would help her when she got here. No such luck.

“I’ve been living in my car, been trying to find a place to live,” Moore said at the Suffolk National Guard Armory on Thursday. Moore was attending the Homeless Assist Day presented by the Western Tidewater Continuum of Care.

More than 25 agencies and organizations were on hand to help connect homeless in the Suffolk, Franklin and Isle of Wight areas with resources they need. More than 30 people received services throughout the day, Tenishia Peoples, chairman of the committee for the event, said.

Moore and her three daughters — a 2-year-old and 1-year-old twins — have been turned down by numerous shelters, because they have run out of room, she said.

“It’s kind of crazy when you talk to shelters and they don’t even have room for you,” Moore said.

Moore saved up enough money in Texas to make it to Virginia and buy a car when she got here. She got a 1990 Lincoln Town Car for about $1,600, and that was all the money she had.

Moore usually parks in Suffolk for the night, but sometimes goes to Franklin. She washes herself and the children in gas station bathrooms. She gets money from selling things she finds on the online classifieds site Craigslist, using a library computer to post the listings.

Moore said it’s hard to find a job in this economy — but even harder when she has no address.

“They want to know where you live, and I won’t lie to people and tell them I live somewhere and I’m not living there.”

Moore and a friend who is also homeless save up their money to get a motel room when they can, but that is rare, she said.

“I never thought I’d be in a situation like this, ever,” she said. “I put on a happy face for my kids.”

Moore and the other people who came to the armory throughout the day received lunch provided by Chick-fil-A, as well as free haircuts, supplies and health screenings. Supplies donated by area residents and organizations included diapers, toiletries, socks, bus passes, shoes and clothes. Transportation was provided from several pick-up points in the area.

Val Livingston, the director of the Genieve Shelter in Suffolk, said the program achieved its objective.

“People are getting connected to services,” Livingston said. One lady had been eligible for Social Services for years, but never applied. One man had just gotten a job at a fast-food restaurant, but needed shoes for work. A couple of people found out they were eligible for disability.

“It’s working,” Livingston said.