For the past ten months, Dorothy Brown has endured a rough and rocky road.
“Never thought it could happen to me,” says Brown. “It was hard going from a safe, warm home with a cozy bed to spending the night on the floor.”
After losing her four-bedroom home in Cooper City, Dorothy moved in with her sister in Hollywood until her home went into foreclosure and shortly thereafter, became homeless.
“It is an endless feeling knowing you have no place to call home,” shares Brown. “Imagine waking up in a new place every day, sleeping on someone’s couch or in your broken down van or a new shelter. My tears became my pillow.”
Her days would start by getting up, grabbing her belongings and then she would just start walking.
“You have no place to go, but you keep moving,” she says. “My stomach would be growling and I would feel sick from the heat of the sun, but you just keep moving.”
Many times Brown felt belittled, being treated as if she weren’t a human being. “Close friends would look down at me and act like they didn’t even know me anymore but I keep moving on. What else is there to do?”
Brown eventually found her way to the Broward Outreach Center at 2056 Scott Street in Hollywood.
“I am blessed to have the faith that I do. Never once did I give up on life or felt the emotional pain to the point of numbing myself with drugs and alcohol. Prayer and laughter was my outlet to escape from the darkness and pain. I always held hope to the fullest knowing that better days were soon to come.”
Hollywood Beach was a safe haven for Brown
“The Beach was a place to go and breathe. I felt free there. It was a place that I could just blend in with society, walking around the beach, watching nature and kids play. No one could ever tell I was homeless, it was my safe place.”
Finding a shelter was also a big relief for Brown, if she followed all the rules.
“It was nice to know I have a pillow and cot to lay on at night. I have seen some of the best and worst of humanity since I became homeless. People are quick to steal your only belongings and argue with you over the littlest things. I have dealt with women recovering from drugs and alcohol, and let me tell you, living with them daily is complete torture.”
Brown also stayed at the Broward Outreach Center in Pompano Beach, the Salvation Army and the ACT Shelter. Her strong faith is what carried her through and she met some amazing people along the way.
“People stopped me to ask if I was okay, if I ate that day, or to provide me with a basic need. Housing is a basic human need,” shares Brown. “Maybe more people would sympathize with the homeless if they could only realize how close they could be to homelessness themselves. Like they say, ‘we are all just a paycheck away’.”
Now living in Hallandale, after a ten-month journey to finding a home, Brown is finally home. “I have traded my shackles for a glorious crown and am free. Free at last.”
The Broward Outreach Center has been serving the homeless and needy of Hollywood since 1992. Call 954-926-7417 for more information.
If you would like to contact Dorothy, you can reach her at 954-816-0146.