Katherine “Kaye” 50

Kaye was born on March 15th, 1967, in Cullman, Alabama. She grew up and graduated high school in Columbus, Georgia, eventually finding her way to Grand Junction, where she has some family, before moving to Aurora, Platteville and, finally, Loveland – two years ago. “I like Loveland. It’s nice here. The weather was a bit dryer in Grand Junction, though. But you don’t have to take ten showers a day like I used to in Georgia.”

She worked most of her life in sales, and once sold Phil Michelson a home warranty contract. “He was real nice. A nice guy to talk to. He offered to get me tickets to the Masters in Augusta. I told him I wasn’t interested in watching golf, but I’d take him one-on-one in putt putt.” She smiles. “I liked that job. I was making over $50K a year.” But she had developed PTSD from a childhood incident that got worse as she got older. “It got really bad after I moved to Colorado. I can’t remember things. A social worker asked me the other day if I could work -physically – and I said I could, but I couldn’t do the work mentally because I can’t get through the training. I just don’t remember very well now. That’s my issue.”

Fortunately, Kaye met a man, got married and began a new phase in her life. “He meant everything to me. His name is Jon. He was an honorably discharged vet who fought in the Iraq and Afghanistan wars. 100 per cent disabled. He fought for our country. I was very proud of him.” They were fixing up an old RV that she and Jon were going to live out of, when bad news came suddenly. “We found out in February that he had blood clots, and he passed away March 18th (2017).”  Kaye begins to cry. “I was devastated. Had to sell everything to pay the bills.” And then she was living on the streets of Loveland.

Being suddenly homeless was a traumatic situation to be in, considering all the circumstances, but Kaye is coping. “It can happen to anybody. I didn’t think it would happen to me.” Kaye was able to make some friends and avoid trouble, but she worries. “There’s good and bad people out there. But if it wasn’t for the homeless, I don’t know what I’d do. Everybody has a heart. They’ve helped me more than anyone.” She’s spending time with another homeless woman her age who has a little more experience, and Kaye’s learning the ropes. “I don’t know what I would have done without her. She’s my best friend now. I love her. She’s great.” Kaye’s eyes light up and her smile returns.

When asked what her greatest need was, Kaye said, “Right now I really need a bicycle just to get around with my stuff.” The smile fades. “I need a home.”

When asked what her wish would be for dealing with being homeless, Kaye’s eyes began to water. “The hardest part is seeing people stare at me when they’re driving by. It upsets me. I shower every day at the (137) shelter. I’m a sober person. I don’t do drugs, don’t drink. People offer them to me, but I say ‘no’. My dad, he was an alcoholic… It just upsets me when they stare. That’s the hardest part.” Tears come easily now. “Things have changed a lot since I was a little girl.”