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Local Woman Sheds Light On Homelessness

Posted at 10:30 PM, Feb 05, 2016
and last updated 2016-02-06 15:37:38-05

Sergeant Cecilia Whitfield is often judged her by the clothes she wears or the car she drives, but don't let that fool you. The belongings in her car is all she has and among the stacks of clothing packed in the back is her Army uniform.

Whitfield and her 9-year-old daughter, Erica are homeless. "Last couple of days we were at the Waffle House," said Whitfield. 

Whitfield said they fell on hard times after her divorce in 2013. Since then she's never been able to get back on her feet. "Just barely making it," she said. 

Now she's hit rock bottom.  "I am so tired of being homeless," she said with tears in her eyes. 

She spends her time searching for work, the work she's had never paid more than $11 an hour.

"It's so hard out here. Its so hard to make it, it takes two incomes," said Whitfield. "If I can get enough to cover the rent I can clean houses to do everything else."

However, her story is like so many others. "There are many soldiers out there that are experiencing the same thing I'm experiencing," she said. 

While the veteran unemployment rate has dropped bellow 4 percent, veterans make up nearly 30 percent of the homeless population and are more at risk of becoming homeless than non-veterans.

One of the primary causes according to experts; a limited education or little to no transferable skills. However, Whitfield is a certified phlebotomist and is currently trying to further her education. "I need somebody to say hey let's just give her a chance," she said.