This story is a part of Business Insider’s “
Homeless In Silicon Valley” series reported by Robert Johnson and edited by Chris C. Anderson. Jill Klausen and graphic designer Mike Nudelman contributed to this series.
Cecilia and Carol live at an
InnVisionshelter in San Jose, California. The shelter is intended for families on a lower rung of the transitional housing ladder, but they ended up here after a fire forced them out of the shelter for women and kids they were living in.
Their new InnVision shelter is designed as one of the first steps into the shelter system and its rules are meant to help move people along to “next step” shelters like the one Cecilia and Carol were forced out of due to a fire.
“We are the homeless, homeless,” Cecilia says, straightening the neckline of her bright pink shirt.
Both mothers hold down jobs.
Cecilia works at an orthodontist’s office, and while they provided her braces, they do not offer full-time work or benefits. Carol works nights at a local grocery store and stays with her two kids during the day. She walks 25 minutes along a poorly lit commercial street back to the shelter at midnight after catching the bus “home.”
Neither woman can take their kids out to dinner because curfew is 6:00 p.m. and watching movies or enjoying family time is tough with open living areas and the general commotion. Cecilia says it’s most difficult on her 16-year-old daughter who dreams of becoming a pediatrician.
“There are only so many things she can tell the kids at school; so many excuses she can make about why she can’t go places or have them over. It’s hard,” Cecilia says, dabbing the corner of her eye with a tissue.
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