Community Raises Funds for 48-Year-Old Woman With Masters Degree Who's Been Homeless Since 2017
Romana Peet has had a difficult past few years and is looking for a little help to get back on her feet.
The 48-year-old from California, who holds a Bachelor of Science in Mathematics and a Master of Science in Industrial Engineering, has been homeless since December 2017 when the house she rented went up in flames in the Thomas Fire, according to a GoFundMe campaign she started
Peet said her boyfriend, Dan, unexpectedly died a few months later. Adding to the difficulty of the situation, Peet said she couldn't get access to FEMA and Red Cross funds for victims of the Thomas Fire since Dan's name was on most of the documents regarding the home.
Peet packed her things and drove to Los Angeles with her dog, Johnnie, who lived with her in a car until he died in 2019. Peet then lost the car a short time after Johnnie's death, she explained.
"I was one of the fire victims who slipped through the cracks," she wrote on GoFundMe. "I need some help getting back on my feet."
A report released by the Los Angeles Homeless Services Authority last year estimated over 41,200 people are living on the streets — or in shelters or vehicles — in Los Angeles, a 14 percent increase over 2019. The number of homeless swells to over 66,000 when measuring Los Angeles County.
Peet's story recently went viral after she was featured on Invisible People, a YouTube channel and nonprofit that shines a light on people struggling with homelessness.
Today, she is living out of a tent in Westminster Park near Los Angeles International Airport, and has undergone mental health and substance abuse programs, KCBS reported. She also started a relationship with a man she met at the park.
Peet has since raised just over $18,000 through her GoFundMe campaign, which she hopes to use to pay six months of rent and utilities.
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She hopes she'll soon be able to rebuild and move forward with a new chapter of her life, one step at a time.
"While I would love to begin working immediately, it does not seem like a practical option until I am a housed person once again," she explained on her GoFundMe page. "The logistics involved with simply showing up on time and showered each day would likely be overwhelming if not impossible."
"We plan to use any donations received to pay for housing; healthy, healing foods; utility bills; possibly a little doggie if we are lucky," Peet added. "We should be able to stabilize during that time and become self-sufficient, productive members of society."