The American homeless population and the stigma associated with persons living on the streets in the United States has always been associated with the irresponsible, neglectful mother of five with no spousal support, the horrible family drunk who was destined to fail, or the drifter who travels from city to city begging for handouts on every street corner.
On the contrary, the face of homeless America also includes senior citizens who have battled a chronic illness such as Alzheimer’s, savings are depleted and find themselves in a home without utilities, food or medication and are facing eviction.
Homeless Americans includes middle class families living behind the neighborhood store in a car because of a company layoff followed by a foreclosure. In addition, the homeless citizen could very well be the unemployed veteran returning home from Afghanistan with PTSD and consistently fails to show up for treatment at the VA clinic.
The mentally ill family member who refuses to take the necessary medication is also part of this unique group. All in all, homelessness can and often occurs because of a change in income, natural disaster, debilitating illness such as cancer, a company closure or the death of a spouse.
One of the leaders serving the homeless in Ft. Worth, Texas is Selarstean Magee Mitchell. Mrs. Mitchell is currently the Vice-President of Assisted Housing at Fort Worth Housing Solutions (formerly Ft. Worth Housing Authority) where she is responsible for providing housing assistance for low-income residents to lease units in the private rental market.
Mrs. Mitchell is no stranger to the sudden transitions that occur in all our lives. She has served in this capacity since she relocated to north Texas from New Orleans in 2005 following Hurricane Katrina. Prior to her relocation, she worked as the Director of the Housing Choice Voucher Program for the Housing Authority of New Orleans. Her background and experience in the New Orleans area has given her a different perspective on the needs of displaced populations and the practice of public service in her private life.
Upon her relocation, Mrs. Mitchell immediately became active in various professional, social, and civic organizations in the Fort Worth area. She has served as President of North Texas Housing Association. She is on the Board of Directors for the Texas Housing Association and the DRC, formerly Day Resource Center for the homeless. She serves as Chair of the Homeless Advisory Committee for MHMR of Tarrant County. She is an Advisor to the Barbara Holston Education Fund Board. Mrs. Mitchell is also President of the Progressive Alliance of Cultured Women’s Club, a chapter of the Fort Worth Federated Women’s Clubs. She serves on the Trustee Board and Finance Committee of the Prayer Tower Church of God in Christ in Grand Prairie.
Ms. Mitchell earned a Bachelor of Arts Degree and a Master of Business Administration Degree at Tulane University. She is married and has three sons, two daughters-in-law, and four young granddaughters.
We applaud Selarstean Magee Mitchell! She is a dedicated wife, mother, and professional who continues on her journey to provide hope and housing for the homeless!