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Mother of four dreams of finding a home and starting her own business

Janetta never expected to become homeless, but the middle-aged mother of four is currently living at a Shepherd’s House shelter while she patiently waits for housing. After eight years in Bend, she recently quit two jobs she was working here to return to her native state of Tennessee and help her aging mother.  Three months later, she moved back to Bend and discovered she had lost her apartment here.

“Here I am, trying to start over with life,” Janetta says. Her children are now grown, and on their own, so Janetta is looking for housing for the first time as a single woman with no kids in her household. She says it’s harder to find housing now than when she had young children. She thinks it’s because more people want to help a single mom with kids than one without kids.

Janetta is thankful for the assistance she’s getting from Shepherd’s House. “The staff here, they are so helpful,” she says. “I’m so grateful that I have a roof over my head and my own bed and meals.”

But still, she longs for her own home and doesn’t want to move back to Tennessee. “Like I told my mother, I can’t live down there. You can’t even go to sleep without thinking a bullet is going to come through the window. That’s why I’m in Oregon.” She says Bend is peaceful, with none of the violence she saw in Tennessee.

Eight years ago, she moved from Tennessee to raise her girls in Oregon, to give them “a different experience in life” and a chance to grow up in a peaceful place without violence.

When she first moved here, she said she picked a place on the map about as far from Tennessee as possible. “I told my kids, ‘Pack up, let’s go.’ I didn’t tell ‘em where we were headed.”

She loves to clean and hopes to someday own her own housekeeping business. She already knows what she wants to call it: Double D’s Cleaning Service, named after the nickname her friends call her.

Janetta’s father died when she was 11. She wanted her kids to have a father in their lives, so she kept them in touch with their biological father even after Janetta wasn’t with him anymore.

She shares some advice for people when they encounter the homeless. “Try not to judge the person because you don’t know what situations or circumstances got them to become homeless.”

Her situation is precarious, but Janetta hopes to return to the life she once had in Bend, living in her own home, where she can cook, relax and entertain herself. “I just love peace and quiet. I just want to stick to myself and watch a Western movie. I love John Wayne,” she says with a laugh.


Story By:
John Swenson
Volunteer Journalist