CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas — Waking up at 4:00 a.m. everyday to sweep the area where she lives in front of Mother Teresa’s Shelter in Corpus Christi, Roseanne Garcia has been living on the streets for about eight years. After leaving her abusive husband, she was left homeless.
“You quickly learn how to survive, and I consider myself a warrior, not a survivor,” Garcia said softly.
She said it’s tough living on the streets because the state doesn’t allow them to make camps, so they have to avoid the police at times. Through it all, she said there’s one saying that keeps her going.
“Like my sister used to tell me. 'We might not have it all together, but together we have it all'.”
She knows all too well living out on the streets can be rough. She said there are many times when life wasn’t kind to her.
“I was just raped last week. And it was around here, my cry and my screams were unheard, so why report it?” Garcia said.
She said she feels the city could be doing more for the homeless, especially during the cold weather.
“They should be able to apply for a grant to at least have an emergency shelter for us, maybe an awning, a pavilion for us for when it rains or when it’s cold, but we’re seen as these trash diggers and low lives,” she said.
However, she said it’s not just city leaders that need to pay attention to the homelessness in Corpus Christi.
“What if it was you as a person? What if it was that congressman? What if it was that council member? How would they feel? Because they’re somebody that somebody loves. We’re somebody that somebody loves. We matter. We count,” she said.
The city of Corpus Christi is offering warming kits with hand warmers and gloves, and there are also a few warming centers homeless people can go to throughout the city. They've also partnered with agencies like the Corpus Christi Police Department to hand out blankets to the homeless.
City staff are also referring the homeless to places like the Good Samaritan Rescue Mission, which allows homeless to do a temporary check in during the cold weather. The Good Samaritan Rescue Mission also offers homeless a permanent stay, food, and helps them get paid jobs.
“No one plans to be in a homeless shelter. No one says when I grow up I want to be homeless,” Carole Murphrey, the executive director said.
Donald Jones has been living on the streets for about eight years and has had experiences going to shelters like Good Samaritan, but said he’s talked with people that don’t take advantage of some of the services the city and shelters offer.
“People out here, including myself, has to want to get off the streets, for any program, whether they do a little or a lot, is able to help, you know what I mean? Without that, there’s no way to get help no matter how much you try and get me help,” Jones said.