Hi everyone, this is Den'na, the President and founder of LGBTQ Awareness Group of Arizona, but right now I'd like to talk to you as a fellow senior. One who came up on the streets of Arizona.
I was an Army Veteran who was mustard out of the Army like so many, hooked on morphine, who then turned to Heroine and ended up on the streets of Phoenix. Living in a shanty not 6 miles from the Phoenix VA Hospital. I lived on the Salt River and panhandled for food until my body couldn't go anymore, until I was beaten and raped, not once...but MANY times.
The streets are a cruel master, but finally a social worker from the VA came to the shanty camp looking for Veterans and someone told her to go to the last camp at the end, "no one has seen her, she was beaten and raped, she may be dead by now" they said. The social worker raced to the canvas draped stakes and found me, bloody and disheveled, hair ratted and soaked in blood, clothes ripped, just dirty rags torn off! I remember her yelling for someone to bring her water, I remember her wiping my brow so softly and her soft voice saying, "You're fine now, no one will hurt you again." As I looked up into the softest blue eyes of this older woman I never knew her name but that day I made a promise that I would be like her some day and give back to the LGBTQ community.
I've told you my story because you too may be in need. As a senior you too may be in the streets facing the dangers I faced.
If you need sleeping bags or a tent to keep you warm at night, let us know! We have resources with the local missions as well to get you relief from the streets. We can help with SSI and SSDI applications if you qualify. We can help with VA assistance for housing, if you qualify for that.
This is what the LGBTQ Awareness Group of Arizona does! We reach out to those in our community that are in need and we match you with the resources that can help you get back on your feet.