Homeless, sick and “thanking God for this wonderful place to live”
Reuters Boston Photographer Brian Snyder spent a very long and claustrophobic day in the tiny dark hotel suite where a homeless nurse, Tarya Seagraves-Quee, and three of her four children have been living in Massachusetts for nearly two months.
A record number of families are now being put up in motels due to high unemployment and the rising number of homes going into foreclosure, costing taxpayers $2 million per month but providing a lifeline for desperate families.
Seagraves-Quee has found refuge in a motel after losing her job in Georgia more than a year ago and going without health-care for about 10 months. She suffers from multiple sclerosis, Aspergers syndrome, anemia and lupus, and now is scared she may have cancer. Two of her children, aged 16 and 6, are autistic. After losing her job, and facing repeated physical abuse from a boyfriend, she spent $700 – almost all her savings — on airline tickets for her family to stay with relatives in Boston.
Being homeless has actually helped Seagraves-Quee get the healthcare she needs. Everyday she makes phone calls for and fills out applications for public housing in an effort to get out of the shelter/motel. Some of the towns in the area she contacted are simply not taking any new applicants; in others, the “wait list” for housing is 10 or even 40 years.
Brian’s audio slideshow on the life of the Tarya Seagraves-Quee and her family follows. It is narrated by Seagraves-Quee, who is also a gospel singer: