Former Homeless Woman Disagrees With City Council

4:06 PM, Aug 26, 2013   |    comments
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Columbia, SC (WLTX) -- The South Carolina Coalition for the Homeless reports there are over 6,000 homeless people in our state. An almost 30 percent increase from 2011.

"I'm just going from home to home and these people here accepted me with open arms, not even knowing who I was," Tammarria Mitchell said.

Mitchell, 42, is employed and living in a nice apartment with her husband.

But, it wasn't always that way.

"By me being a grown individual, a grown lady, I choose to be homeless. I choose to not go back home and for me it wasn't easy," she said.

Mitchell says alcohol and hard drugs had a vice grip on her life.

When she left Washington D.C. for Columbia, there was nothing stable about her living situation.

"I always stayed in somebody else's house, but it wasn't my own, so to me that was homeless," Mitchell said. "Everywhere I went, I just found this home and I started staying with these people for a couple months or years, and then all of a sudden I got locked up, then went to another home."

After bouncing from house to house for over 20 years, she decided to try Transitions.

"They welcomed me with open arms, I got everything that I needed," she said.

Lately, Columbia has been on the national radar for it's proposal to send the homeless away from downtown to a center where they'll be offered a wide varitety of local services.

While some think this is a step in the right direction, Mitchell disagrees.

"I don't feel like that's going to solve the situation because if you move them, there's still going to be others who's going to come behind them. You're never going to stop homeless, you're never going to stop that," she said. "To me, what they're doing is shutting them out of life itself."

Mitchell hopes to keep striving to do better.

She's just a couple months away from getting her GED.

"My journey doesn't stop there because I want to go to another program. I want to be a case manager, a drug counselor," Mitchell said. "I want to let people know there's hope, that if I can do it, they can."

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