“A MOMENT OF INSPIRATION” – Ventura county Board of Supervisors Meeting – November 9, 2021
At age 94, Rose Burgess had already lost two military veteran husbands, and was legally blind. Her daughter had just died unexpectedly, and she would soon have no place live. Police Deputy Chris Dyer was on duty when Rose walked in with nowhere else to go. He knew homelessness was dangerous enough for the young, but would be a death sentence within weeks for Rose. He also knew just where to turn for help, and immediately sent an e-mail to GCVF – Golf Coast Veterans Foundation… “All Hands On Deck!”
The charity in Camarillo, known for rescuing the most damaged homeless veterans, jumped into action. But they quickly found that virtually all public or private agencies providing housing assistance were prohibited from helping Rose. According to government rules, she was plenty rich enough to fend for herself.
The annual income needed to afford a 1 Bedroom apartment in Oxnard is over $60,000, and Rose’s income was $3300 a month. Although twenty grand short of the real-world need, it’s above the government’s low-income” threshold. Rose had also leased a Subaru for her daughter to use for errands. She had several storage units, and storage for a vintage travel trailer that may have co-starred in a movie with Lucy and Desi. These expenses put her even further away from being able to pay rent.
“We’ve helped thousands of veterans and family members, and rescued 87 from homelessness,” says GCVF’s Director Bob Harris: “but this is the first time we had to rescue a 94 year old blind widow because 12 social service agencies refused to help her…we never saw that one coming.” He adds, “Of course the system doesn’t want to cause harm to people like Rose, but that income threshold was gonna put her out on the street regardless.