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Thursday, December 1, 2011

Photo Essay: Homeless Families in Seminole County

I was recently asked to photograph a homeless family located in Seminole County for an article in LMHW.  The 5 person family was living in single room in a Budget Inn when I photographed them, soon to move to a homeless shelter.  For photography, we decided to go in a documentary/photo essay style.  Below are the photos for the article with a bit of the article text.

Home is Where the Heart is:
Families in Transition eases stress of homelessness for Seminole kids
By Kristin Harmel
Photography by Betsy Hansen
Just a few years ago, life for Christina and Hannon Queen was going well. They were living in Charlotte, N.C. They had a successful beauty supply store and they owned a four-bedroom ranch house with a finished basement. Daughter Kimberly, now 12, got to go roller-skating whenever she wanted. Tyler, now 13, had an enviable collection of video games. Destiny, now 15, didn’t have to worry about whether her family could afford a $5.99 on-sale T-shirt at the mall.
Then Christina’s mother was diagnosed with liver cancer and she needed someone to help run her thrift store on 17-92 in Longwood. The economy crashed, the beauty supply store was failing and it seemed like a good time for the family to head south. So two years ago, the Queens moved down to Christina’s mother’s mobile home in Sanford, a situation that was meant to be temporary.
But the economic downturn soon forced the closure of Turnaround Thrift. Christina, 34, and Hannon, 43, couldn’t find other jobs. With Christina’s mother growing sicker by the day, staying in the mobile home was no longer an option. The home was falling apart. The halls were so stacked with boxes that there was hardly room to move and the kids had no place to sleep. Tyler had to make do with a La-Z-Boy recliner.

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