Women on Ice: Methamphetamine Use among Suburban Women

By Miriam Boeri | Go to book overview

CHAPTER 8
Policy Implications

KAT: IN SEARCH OF SHELTER

Kat was one of the more resourceful women I interviewed, but she was also one of the most disadvantaged in terms of having no material possessions and little social capital. She had not always been in this situation. A hard worker, Kat took a service job right out of high school and held it for a short time until she found an office position. “I worked there until I got married when I was twenty-one,” she said, “And then when I was twenty-two, the company relocated to [Big City], so I quit. I didn’t work for a few years after I got married.”

The city was about thirty miles away, but Kat, like many of the women in the poor suburban communities, did not have a car and did not often venture there. The first time I met Kat she had a home and a job. She had recently left an abusive husband, taking her teenage son with her. At fortyfour, she looked worn out from a difficult life and damaged by domestic violence. But her will was strong, and she appeared to be able to handle emotional issues, judging from her calm recounting of her story.

The next time I saw her, she was homeless. Kat was a proud woman, and she told me she was ashamed of her current situation. Her son was living with friends temporarily. She did not want to tell me where she was living now, but she asked me to drop her off in a deserted trailer park seemingly inhabited only by dogs, cats, and rats. Based on her recent history, I suspected that she was squatting in an empty house near where she used to live. As I mentioned, she was resourceful.

I recounted my third meeting with Kat in chapter 2, describing how I spent twenty-four hours looking for a motel manager who would take her and her son without an ID. I personally paid for her extended-stay room for a week. Although I asked her not to allow other women to stay with her, since the manager might charge more, when I came by I saw another woman living with her and her son in the one room. Kat did not lie. She told me her friend had nowhere to go and that they help each other out. She also told me that the manager would not mind. He had already propositioned them both

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