Council Bluffs shelters reaching capacity, affecting women

Published: Nov. 24, 2021 at 12:08 AM EST
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OMAHA, Neb. (WOWT) - People are pitching tents and living in their cars as homeless shelters reach capacity.

The crisis is hitting women like they’ve never seen before.

Leigh-Ann Conyers is living out of her car. Right now, she says there’s no other choice.

“And now we’re here and we’ve got to figure out where we stay every night with our dogs,” said Leigh-Ann.

She and her boyfriend were evicted and can’t find an affordable new home or a landlord willing to take them.

“We go around and try to find where we’re going to sleep every night and figure it out and put up our blankets,” said Leigh-Ann.

Her car is parked across the street from a men’s shelter, at New Visions she can get a shower and some food.

Brandy Wallar heads up the homeless services.

“I have been working in homeless services in the greater Omaha area going on 19 years and I have never seen the need for services for women experience street level homeless like I am today,” said Wallar.

When Council Bluffs Police cleared a tent camp a few weeks ago, the majority of the people were women.

“The need for affordable housing, the need for mental services, for healthcare services, is really starting to affect the women population,” said Wallar.

An RV parked right in front of the shelter caught fire and it’s believed two women were seeking shelter under it and had started a fire to keep warm.

“Having them not knowing where they’re going to sleep, where they’re going to shower, where they’re going to get their next meal is just sending them into a spiral that just makes it harder and harder to get out of,” said Wallar.

Brenda Pulsifer says she’s scared and she’s about to lose her home.

“It’s going to be hard and I am going to be homeless once the lease is canceled,” said Pulsifer.

She’s on disability and says finding a safe affordable home isn’t happening anytime soon.

“I’m on a fixed income and it’s very hard, low-income housing is so far out of reach, it’s a year waiting list,” said Pulsifer.

Her disability payments are simply not enough for the cost of living.

“It’s hard with the deposits and the rent and the lights and the gas and I don’t drive so I have to pay for someone to move me,” said Pulsifer.

As for Leigh-Ann, she’s trying but struggles with mental health.

“I’ve worked every job you can possibly think of,” said Leigh-Ann.

Now that she lost her home, she fears her children are next.

“I have a custody battle right now and they’re trying to take my children away from me too the last thing that I have as a mom. Now that I’m homeless and don’t have my children, so it’s just very hard,” said Leigh-Ann.

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