Hidden Homelessness | VideoAmy Fox | 2/5/2013
We wanted to take a look at the situation in Minot. For privacy reasons, some of the people we talked with in the story asked that their faces not be shown.
“He worked out in the oil field making quite a bit of money, you know. And, I just, you know, stayed home and was hoping to make it better. But, it ended up to be the worst,” said YWCA resident Shawna Cook.
After making the move from Utah to North Dakota, life quickly took a turn for the worse when Cook and her boyfriend split.
"I had no money to my name,” she said. “I didn`t even have [any] transportation, no nothing. And, so, I was like, wow, this is going to just get all the main things that you need to get your feet like a vehicle and stuff like that."
With no personal belongings of her own, Cook and her daughter moved in with her sister and brother-in-law in Minot. During her stay with family, Cook worked full-time to help pay rent and childcare. But, that didn`t last for long.
"We ended up getting evicted out of the house,” said Cook. “We had 72 hours to move out.”
Cook and her daughter were now homeless. With no job or car, they were forced to live with one friend and then another. And, after several months, things once again took a turn for the worse.
"I was there to try to get on my feet as quickly as possible and the situation had [arisen] to a domestic violence situation,” explains Cook. “And, it wasn`t much, but it was much to the fact that I had to be out of there because I felt it wasn`t safe."
To escape that domestic situation, Cook made the YWCA her new home, at least for now.
"I try to make it feel like it`s their home and they can be proud of it because it`s what they have right now," said YWCA Resident Director Linda Randolph.
Cook said, "I set here and I think of the days going by and it`s like I only did this much this day and I can only do this day. But, it`s a thrive every day to continue going strong.”
With cold weather, that means more people are going to shelters, like the YWCA. They`re squeezing people in every nook and cranny they can, so people don`t have to live on the streets.
Randolph said, “I didn’t want them to sit outside in their car or live on the streets. We had quite a few at one point. I had 19 women and nine children.”
As Cook continues to apply for jobs, she`s staying optimistic about her future in Minot.
The YWCA is the only shelter in Minot. There are no men`s shelters in the area at this time.