DENVER (CBS4) – While advocates and volunteers are out counting the homeless population, one Denver woman is just hoping to make it through the next day, unaware of the count.
“We don’t always know the resources. I’ll sit there and be on my phone searching ‘help for the homeless’ but you don’t know what to look up,” said Rachel Miles.
Miles has lived out of her car for the past six months. She’d sleep while her boyfriend would drive around.
“Like $20, I could leave my car running all night,” said Miles.
The pair would find enclosed, heated garages to spend the night or burn fuel cans meant for keeping catering food warm. On Saturday, Miles’s car, with everything she owned in it, slid on ice and was totaled after hitting a mailbox.
“I’m homeless, I’m car-less. I’m about to be jobless if I don’t find a way to and from work,” Miles said.
She considers herself homeless. She’s been couch-hopping at different friends’ houses.
She didn’t know the Point-in Time homelessness survey was being conducted on the 28th and 29th. The Point-in-Time survey is conducted annually to take a snapshot of the homeless population in and around the Denver Metro Area.
Advocates say it’s necessary to get a number for Housing and Urban Development money. Critics of the count say it’s a gross undercount and it’s prohibiting most people from getting the aid they need.
Miles says she’s not comfortable staying at a shelter over fears of safety and health. The Point-in-Time survey only counts people living in transitional housing, shelters, or on the streets. By couch-hopping, Miles doesn’t meet the definition of homelessness from HUD.
“Can the government show me where I live? Because I would like to know,” she said. “Everything’s in my car. I don’t have anything, they won’t let me get anything. I mean I have somewhere to sleep tonight, but I don’t know about the next night,” Miles said.
Since she’s not taking part in some of the resources available to people experiencing homelessness, Miles is hoping a campaign can help her raise enough money to buy a new car, which will become her home.
CBS4 has partnered with the Denver Rescue Mission to Spread the Warmth this winter. We’re bringing the community together for Coloradans experiencing homelessness. Find out how to help at CBSDenver.com/SpreadtheWarmth/.