Illustration of various buildings and a taxi for hire.
Patty Smith

I was living at the YWCA and it was February 2014. We had had a house meeting and it was around 6 p.m. The staff told us that they would be remodeling the YWCA. The ladies were saying that instead of 118 rooms we were going to have only 80 rooms. We women didn’t know what to expect. We had talked for months among ourselves. We had made close ties with each other. All of our differences were wiped away. We realized that we were in the same boat. Months later and we still didn’t know if we were staying or leaving.

The women residents got scared and some started leaving. Now it is a year later. So, after the remodeling, some of us might be asked back.

A bit later, my case manager came to visit me at the YWCA. She came with the doctor. The doctor said, “Let’s go in the living room.”

Then they said, “You’ll have to come with us to go to the hospital.”

So they took me to Washington Hospital Center. They made me take a bath and clean the bedbugs off me and gave me medication. Everything was itchy. They kept me there for eight days.

Then the case manager picked me up and took me to a place called Crossing Place in Woodley Park. I stayed there fourteen days to continue taking the medicine. On the fourteenth day the case manager came and said “I can’t find permanent placement for you right now, so I’ll have to take you down to CCNV shelter.”

I had to learn my way around the shelter: get used to the women, the staff, and the whole area. I stayed there for six months.

And then the case manager took me to Woodley House where I stay now.