It pains me to write this. A widow and her 16 year old daughter, through circumstance and events beyond their control, will be homeless tomorrow.

Tonight Elizabeth Hughes and her sixteen-year-old daughter Katy are packing. They have to be out of their Santa Clara, California apartment tomorrow. They have nowhere to go. They have nowhere to store their belongings. They’re about to be homeless. Again.

On December 17, 2008, Elizabeth Hughes and her daughter Katy were evicted from their apartment. They had been managing to scrape by on Social Security survivors benefits, but when Katy turned 16 they were reduced to less than $900 per month and couldn’t keep up with their rent. According to Elizabeth, the apartment they had been living in had many problems including bugs, mold and they hadn’t had water in their kitchen for about a year. But it was a roof over their head.

Mom, daughter and two dogs ended up living in their car. Thanks to an auction held by an author and some gifts they were able to get a motel room for a few weeks, and finally found help from a homeless shelter that provides one-time rent deposits and promised the help of an employment specialist. A month after becoming homeless Elizabeth and Katy moved into an apartment, but they never heard from the employment specialist.

“We never heard from them once we moved in,” Elizabeth wrote, “Then that person was let go. So now we are back where we were before we moved into this apt. We are basically facing living in the car again. It is very frustrating, and heartbreaking. It is very hard for me to even ask for any help like we have been doing. It is very embarrassing and humiliating for me. It makes me ashamed. I have always been able to provide, but once my daughter turned 16 last May, I lost my portion of the Survivor Social Security and that is where things got extremely hard.”

According to Hughes, she does not qualify for public assistance because of the Social Security survivors benefit and other agencies won’t help her because she is not working. “I have put in hundreds of applications for employment just in the past few months. I am a good employee, work hard and try to do the very best I can,” she wrote. But so far she hasn’t been able to find a job.

If you, or anyone you know, is near Santa Clara, California, please pass along this story to them. Elizabeth’s resume includes employment by a drug store, a semiconductor manufacturer, and the U.S. Department of Defense. She can be contacted via email to

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