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Letter to the Editor: The plight of homeless women difficult in Lebanon

Staff Reports • Updated Jul 20, 2016 at 4:00 PM

To the Editor:

The plight of homeless women in Lebanon is not fully addressed in a positive way. To further categorize, there are disabled homeless women. If a classification of disabled women who are disabled, their chances of receiving shelter and adequate housing arrangements fall into a slim to almost non-existent category.

Due to a disabling condition I went through after working hard on four college degrees, subsequently my work was with diagnosed individuals that were physically, as well as mentally impaired. A set of guidelines called the Americans With Disabilities Act provide sights and promote the well being of disabled individuals. That is why the city of Lebanon now has leveled sidewalks throughout the city, whereas individuals with handicaps, specifically in wheelchairs, may have safe access to the sidewalk without their apparatus turning over.  

In Smith County, a 100-plus-year-old courthouse received an elevator for those unable to climb stairs and/or utilizing a wheelchair. 

Working with government agencies in my life, few to no organizations primarily address homeless disabled women’s needs. I own a service dog, but the local shelter does not consider disabled women who have a service dog, therefore, the ADA promotes the rights of disabled people.

Because my handicap happened 15 years ago, I am deemed disabled and unable to withstand extremely hot temperatures, and due to the shelters not providing the accessibility of my service animal, I have been turned away from homeless shelters. 

I did not chose homeless circumstances placed on me in the plight of looking for safe, suitable housing. My inability to work has put me in the category of not only disabled, but also below the poverty threshold. 

While receiving my master’s degree, as I did internships with individuals with a disabled diagnosis, I fought to ensure needs were met. This was an entirely different state but still these individuals’ needs were overlooked. 

Some city buses still lack the equipment to access a handicapped person in a wheelchair. 

We are in America where all are entitled to laws and equal treatment regarding disability, ethnicity, gender, etc.

Terry Littlepage

Lebanon

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