Insecurity on the Streets
Paula has had a heart wrenching life but she keeps going on. She says making and selling beads, earrings and necklaces help her cope with her difficult situation. She says she’s had to leave children she had to the foster care system. She says she now lives in a downtown motel with her current husband, and tries to make some money panhandling while also selling crafts along the Truckee River.
Paula says she often deals with having some of her possessions or even what she is trying to sell stolen. “This is my art, but I have to be careful because people out here can be so mean,” she said. “This morning someone came by and stole almost all of the bracelets that I made.”
She says she’s had phones and book bags stolen in the past.
Motel Life and Missing Children
She doesn’t mind the motel life, with she shares with her currently ailing husband, who looks for odd jobs as best he can during the day.
“[The motels are] loud and old but to be able to have a place to sleep is all I could ask for,” she said. “You know I want to make something of myself,” she said. “I want to be somebody you know, I want a roof over my head.”
Does she have regrets not seeing her children anymore? “I don't want to see them suffering,” she said. “I see a lot of kids on the streets and they need better places. If you can't take care of them, then they have to go to foster care. I feel sad. I miss them but I also don't want to see kids on the street.”
A Typical Day and Fears of Being Targeted
“ My typical day is waking up, having breakfast, going to the library, making some beads, and trying to get money for something to eat. If I make a little money, I go to lunch…. [At night,] I like I listen to music a lot, then I go to sleep.”
She is wary of proposals for new anti-vagrancy ordinances for downtown Reno.
“I don't think it’s fair targeting the homeless like that,” she said. “They should target everyone not only the homeless. People should have peace, love and togetherness to help the homeless people, handicapped people. If it was me, I would make the world a better place.”