My name is Yaas. I, and my 9 year old sister, are residents at the Oasis Hotel, which is now a family shelter. It isn’t a matter of if this property should be permanently purchased, but when. For families like mine, it is the last option and for many, a safe haven making the name “Oasis” very fitting.
My sister and I are former foster youth—members of an oppressed class that makes up the majority of both homeless and imprisoned populations. With that comes increased risks of more traumas such as: self harm, sexual violence, substance abuse, domestic violence, (survival) sex work, mental facility institutionalization, criminality, etc.
As the eldest sister of three, fathered by different men but born to the same alcoholic mother who suffers from mental illness, I’m no stranger to all of the aforementioned experiences. In 2020, I was given the opportunity to make a difference & embarked on what has now been a three-year journey to guardianship of my youngest sister, Kali.
Kali is a bright child, who loves unicorns and has taken up the violin at her Montessori school. Having private shelter at the Oasis has given me the safe space to provide that for her. That would’ve never been possible with our mom or with my paternal family who abandoned us after I stood up to them, speaking against their history of violence toward children, the people who’ve helped cover it up, and those who attempted to silence victims.
This shelter is one of many first steps toward our liberation from a life destined for many unhoused people and has provided the means to protect us from the people who shielded our abusers. Without this shelter, we’d have nowhere to go and I’m confident that there are thousands who can relate.
Housing is suicide prevention. Housing is harm reduction. The harsh reality we face is that this is life or death for so many people who will never get the chance to sit at the table, to speak directly with those who have a say in their fate. It isn’t a matter of if, but when.
I think you and I share a goal of being able to provide solutions to the housing crisis. It has been a lifelong dream of mine to be able to own properties just like this one in order to house many like myself. I realize you currently have that very power to bring that goal to fruition.