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“Betty”

July 07, 2010 by Michael

“Betty” once had it all, everything she could hope for. A long time resident of Humboldt Park , who has lived in the Single Room Occupancy-Humboldt Park Residence since 1997,  she relishes the memories of times when she used to come home to her loving family, her children.

But the times she cherished began to disappear some time ago when her relationship partner started to abuse her both mentally and physically.

“Once it was so bad that I had to go to the hospital; I didn’t want to go back.”

Soon she was forced to abandon her life and family to begin a new life in the streets. “I was homeless after I left my house. I was wandering the streets around this building I live now.” She heard that they were building the SRO and, expecting the conditions to be better, she relocated there.

Living in Humboldt Park Residence was far better than living in the streets. However, there were negative aspects to it. For one, sometimes the temperature of the apartment is overwhelmingly hot. “With the windows opened, there is still no breeze coming in. I think it is so hot up there [apartment] because there is a metal piece by the window, which attracts all the heat.”

Another problem is the lack of privacy in the apartments. “I found out a couple of times that my apartment has been invaded, which is the reason I don’t go out much.” As a result, she feels secluded from the rest of the tenants, which causes her to feel isolated. “Living here, I feel that I am misplaced.”

Crime is also an issue. “Betty” stresses with the thought of her children being hurt or threatened when they come to visit her.

However, the building does have a lot of positive attributes.  “I wouldn’t know where I would live if it wasn’t for this building. I really shouldn’t be complaining because the rent is so low. Most of the people and workers in the building are very nice. There is also a lot of space here [lobby] and I can do laundry downstairs.”

Understanding that there have been many improvements since, “Betty” is grateful that she still has her children and is not in the streets.


“Betty” asked that we protect her identity, therefore her name has been changed for this story.