WUFT News

A homeless woman’s hope for a better future

By on February 8th, 2013

Morgan Falcon / WUFT

Donations left for the homeless at Bo Diddley Community Plaza.

Jennifer Watson was kicked in the back while she was asleep in Bo Diddley Community Plaza.

The 45-year-old forgave the drunk man.

“I am going to let the Lord deal with him,” she told a woman who was with the man. “Even though I went through that pain, I still forgave him.”

Jennifer Watson is a person with little material belongings but still manages to smile and laugh when thinking about all of the good deeds people have done for the homeless.

People come directly to Bo Diddley Community Plaza to give donations to Jennifer.

City officials said clothing and other donations that do not get used by the homeless get strewn about the plaza and end up in the trash.

They are trying to reroute donations to local shelters, such as the St. Francis House, to combat this problem.

Watson said she would rather people come directly to the plaza so all of her friends can get something.

“When they donate to places like St. Francis, a lot of people don’t get to see what’s been donated for them,” she said.

Occupy Gainesville and similar groups have been fighting the city to allow donations to come directly to the plaza, Watson said.

She said a lot of people don’t agree with it, but her faith in the group leads her to believe that they are doing the right thing.

“These are a group of people who have been out here and understand,” she said. “They’re trying to help the homeless as best as they can to have them where they can sleep anywhere instead of everywhere you go, you are woken up by the police saying ‘you can’t lay here, you can’t lay there.’ Where are we supposed to go?”

She said the lack of understanding from people hurts her the most.

She applied for jobs, but employers refuse to hire her because she has nowhere to bathe, clean her clothes and has no roof over her head.

“Mainly we are looking for employment and shelter,” she said. “Those are the two main things I believe would help us out. If they have those two things then maybe they could have a little more encouragement to try and get off the streets.”

Chris Kirschner wrote this story for online.


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