Those affected by homelessness more and more atypical - New York News

Those affected by homelessness more and more atypical

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PHOENIX -

They're the changing face of the homeless -- older men and women who lost jobs and their livelihoods in the great recession.

Kathleen Lyon is one of those trying to get back on their feet. She doesn't have much -- some clothes, books and keepsakes.

Last year, after dealing with depression and receiving treatment through the VA hospital, she returned to Arizona to find that she'd lost her job.

"When I got off the plane back in Phoenix, I had nowhere to go and that's pretty frightening."

Kathleen was homeless -- an ironic twist of fate, as she was used to being the one helping the homeless through her job. Now she found herself living out of her car.

Kathleen doesn't fit the mold of someone who's fallen on hard times and taken to the streets.

"I would much prefer to still be working, still be working and responsible for myself and comfortable."

That stereotypical homeless person that people might think of, panhandling, maybe dealing with mental illness or substance abuse, those are not your standard residents here. These are people who kind of treat it as a landing pad and hopefully a stepping stone to a better future.

"We really don't want them to have to be on the streets for years and then become chronic themselves and die on the streets," said Mike Bell of St. Vincent De Paul shelter.

Mike Bell said too many older people -- as many as a third of them females -- find themselves in need of a safety net. This housing facility offers just that and they need funding to stay afloat.

As for Kathleen, she's looking for a job and trying to get back on her feet.

"No luck yet, still hopeful," she said.

Online: www.stvincentdepaul.net/PS-OzanamManor.htm

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