Formerly homeless woman calls for more resources to help people transition into housing
AUSTIN, Texas - A formerly homeless woman is calling for more resources to help people transition from homeless to housed.
"When you spend your entire life in survival mode, you never live, so I’ve always said I’m tired of surviving, I want to live," Kylee Mohr, who used to be homeless said.
Kylee Mohr said she started sleeping on the streets March 1, 2012.
"The day that I had to scrape up the last dollar and 25 for the bus pass at the Arch because we couldn’t afford our hotel room anymore," Mohr said.
She said what led up to that day was drugs, untreated mental health issues, and poor decisions.
"When you first get out there it’s culture shock, extreme culture shock and it’s a completely different world and you have to learn all new rules and stuff to survive," Mohr said.
Mohr stayed in camps in North Austin and then in Downtown Austin.
"I think the worst dangers are the lack of sanitation and the drugs," Mohr said.
She said drugs was a big part of life on the streets.
"Part of the thing, of course the drugs, the self-medicating and all that, but it’s also something to do, it’s something to take up your time, you have no job. I used to joke that homelessness was the pinnacle of freedom because while someone is having a coronary in their cubicle, I’m at the park reading a book, you know, I have no worries except for when I’m going to get high next," Mohr said.
Mohr said it was a survivor adventure, but it wasn’t hard to find places for help.
"The churches supply your food, your clothes, places to wash your clothes, take a shower, do everything," Mohr said.
She said that was good and bad.
"If you’re too comfortable in a situation, you’re not going to be motivated to changing," Mohr said.
After years of being on homeless, Mohr said she wanted out.
"I have grandbabies and when my children started having their grandbabies it got me to thinking and stuff and I had a bunch of friends over the years that had passed and it dawned on me, I didn’t want to leave them with a legacy, my past and stuff is already brought enough damage, I don’t want to compound that with mom died of an overdose," Mohr said.
She said when COVID hit she started focusing on herself and she’s been clean since January 15, 2020. She said it’s been a transition, though.
"I literally slept on the balcony for at least the first month, I would hang blankets over the railing and stuff and just take a blanket and a pillow and lay out under the stars because it felt unnatural being indoors again," Mohr said.
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She eventually became acclimated, but wishes others had help to do so, too.
"I think many more homeless people would be more successful in keeping their housing if there was some classes or something, like here, this is what you do," Mohr said.
She said the homeless problem in Austin is huge.
"When the camping ban was lifted, I think people were finally being able to get a little bit of a better idea of exactly how bad the problem really is," Mohr said.
Mohr said she doesn’t know what a solution would be because the problem is complex with mental health and drugs, but more resources are needed.
Mohr said she doesn’t plan on ever going back to the streets and she wants to help others by sharing her experiences.