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No Place to Call Home: Rural Homelessness

Pete Springer/OPB/OPB

Mickie Laird lives in Central Oregon. She gets up and goes to work in the morning to a local restaurant where she bakes pies. She works between 10 and 18 hours each week, but Mickie doesn’t make enough to afford a permanent place to live. Instead, she camps. She’s been in the same spot for about a year and it’s been three years since she lived inside. Her campsite is not exactly legal and she could be forced out at any time. She says her employer is aware of her situation, but can’t afford to give her any more hours. Mickie is just one of many homeless people gearing up for another winter without much shelter. The next in our No Place to Call Home series takes a look at homelessness in rural areas.

Homeless people living in rural areas tend to be less visible than those sleeping on city streets. Instead of curling up in doorways or under bridges, they sleep in tents or in their cars. Shelters may be harder to find — or too far away — so they often look for places to camp out until they’re asked to pick up and move on.

Do you live in a rural area? What does homelessness look like in your community? Have you ever been homeless outside of an urban center? What challenges did you face?

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