Monday, August 21, 2006

Living ... and dying ... on the street

Tara Cole wouldn't stay on her medications because she didn't think she needed them. "Her illness just wouldn't allow her to make good choices," her mother Pearl Cole said.

Tara was homeless, despite her family's desire to help her. Lost to her illness, then lost to violence on the streets.

Tara's case is horrible and far too common. And it reminds us that for people with untreated mental illnesses, a group that makes up conservatively about a third of the total homeless population, homelessness is more than not having a home. Tara's family were there for her, with shelter and clothing and food, and she refused because she was so lost to mental illness.