Washington State Magazine

No Room of Her Own: Women’s Stories of Homelessness, Life, Death, and Resistance

by Desiree Hellegers :: Palgrave Macmillan :: Reviewed by Jessica Bailey ’13

No Room of Her Own cover

“As a form of social punishment, homelessness is far sterner in many respects than sentences handed out in court for most criminal offenses,” writes Desiree Hellegers, an associate professor of English and founding co-director of the Center for Social and Environmental Justice at WSU Vancouver, in her introduction. In presenting the individual stories of 15 women in Seattle collected over two decades, Hellegers offers a view into the struggles and hardships that homeless women face in their daily lives.

One of the most compelling stories is of Mama Pam who has had to deal with domestic violence beginning with her father and then continuing with her husbands. At the time of the interview, Pam had been sober for just over nine years. She has turned her lifelong struggles into something positive and her story can be an inspiration for other women who have lived with and survived abuse.

The author takes the reader into these women’s worlds with the gritty details of their personal stories and life on the streets. Even though interviews were conducted in the Pacific Northwest, this book gives insight into homelessness across the nation.

Categories: Social work, Public affairs | Tags: Homelessness, Social justice