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At Twin Oaks Shelter for the Homeless in Darien, Shelter Manager Elizabeth Knapp Spooner said in 2017, 207 people called Twin Oaks home. 97 of were children. People are allowed to stay for 60 days.
“We’ve had people from all walks of life. We’ve had people with master’s degrees that something medically went wrong,” said Knapp Spooner.
“I used to be one of those people that would judge someone that would ask for spare change,” said Drost. “We used to have a nice big house and two cars in the garage and great jobs. Just one thing after another led to us losing our home and my husband losing his job, and we just didn’t have the means to live like we were living Things started going downhill, so we stayed with family members. It becomes like a snowball effect that you can’t stop and you’re spending all your money on gas or paying people to stay on their couch. It’s a vicious cycle and you can’t get out of it,” said Drost.
Drost is a hotel housekeeper, but said it still isn’t enough to pay the bills.
“People are like ‘oh get a job’ and I’m like, ‘I have a job,'” said Drost.
“Yeah, it’s extremely difficult,” said Long.
“It hurts, especially knowing the fact that I’m not the one necessarily providing for my family. It hurts me every single day knowing that we are in this shelter,” said Long.
During the Rock County count, 10 people were found spending the night outside. This is just a fraction of the at least 300 homeless people at any given time in Rock County, according to the Rock County Homeless Intervention Task Force.