AUSTIN, Texas - Seven years without a home to call their own.
“I'm tired of going through this, I don't think any family should ever have to go through this ever in life,” said Sunshine Harper. Harper, who said she's been homeless for seven years, reached out to FOX 7 because she wanted to tell her story.
One thing she learned while on the streets is that the system, which is supposed to help her get back on her feet, isn't working. “I shouldn't be out here; I should be in a place already. I’ve been homeless for 7 years they’ve been working with me but I’m still in the same spot,” said Harper.
Our crews met up with Harper and her family in South Austin, where they were staying on the side of the road.
She said she ended up in this situation when she had her identity stolen and lost everything. “What am I supposed to do, I need some help out here. It's sad that black single families sit out here and struggle,” said Harper.
She said the past seven years have been filled with her family being moved from shelter to shelter, from program to program. “All they do is put us in a room leave us there don't say nothing and then we have to go find another place,” said Harper.
She said the time at shelters varied from 1 month to just 1 day depending on how crowded they are or how safe she felt.
She said this makes finding a stable job nearly impossible as you're constantly on the move.
She takes odd jobs when and where she can. “I clean houses, go clean yards, car wash, do whatever I need to do,” said Harper.
In between shelters, if she can afford it, they stay at hotels. Sometimes, good Samaritans will pay for a room. “I really need help out here,” said Harper.
Right now, with the city focusing on where people can and can't camp, Harper feels they have lost sight of the main issue. “Y’all need to put us up in somewhere safe and not on these streets,” said Harper. Another thing she has noticed is now with the homeless issue in the spotlight, Harper said she gets treated worse by people passing by. “Quit looking at me like I’m a stranger, like I’m a nobody,” said Harper.
For Harper, she said if there was a safe stable long term place for her and her family to stay she could focus on getting a stable job but right now the waiting lists are just too long. While our crews were talking to Harper some APD officers showed up and put them in contact with places to stay for the night.