Homeless cancer patient living in her car in San Jose

Many of you have already read about Giselle McDonald, homeless resident of San Jose and current cancer patient.

The brave 74-year-old has been living in her car, even as she suffers from lymphoma and stomach cancer. The Mercury News article goes on to describe how the county hospital “can’t treat her because she has no permanent residence,” which she needs in order to begin chemo. Wracked by pain and nausea, unable even to keep down water, this severely ill 92-pound woman is stuck sleeping in her car instead of getting the medical treatment she so desperately needs.

Her story is heartbreaking. It’s upsetting that something like this is allowed to happen in America, especially in an area as rich as Silicon Valley.

It’s sad that a lot of people don’t even realize is that homelessness is medically dangerous. Medical debt and disability can contribute to people losing their housing, and then homelessness exacerbates the original illness. Sleeping in cars, exposure to extreme weather and vulnerability to street violence all increase the risk of an early death for homeless men and women.

Homeless man in Anchorage, Alaska

Image via Wikipedia

As a result, 61 homeless people died on the street last year—just in Santa Clara County.

It’s because of people like Giselle McDonald that Housing 1000 is struggling to end chronic homelessness, focusing on the most medically vulnerable. Giselle deserves treatment, and she deserves a home. But she and many others in our community are running out of time.


About K.A. Erickson

I worked with Housing 1000 (http://www.housing1000sv.org/) from August 2011 until July of 2012 as an Americorps VISTA member. I am the ghost of Katherine past! I wrote a couple interviews to post automatically even after I left--from beyond the grave, as it were. ;) My current blog talks about fiction writing, world travel and other adventures: http://feistynotes.wordpress.com/
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3 Responses to Homeless cancer patient living in her car in San Jose

  1. Pingback: Interview with Frederick Ferrer, CEO of The Health Trust | Housing 1000 Official Blog

  2. Pingback: Interview with Leslye Corsiglia, Director of the Housing Department of the City of San Jose | Housing 1000 Official Blog

  3. Pingback: Interview with Jon Talbert, Pastor with WestGate Church | Housing 1000 Official Blog

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