When Susan Peake moved to Austin from Denver in 2018, she traded one kind of safety net for another.
In Colorado, she’d received state-funded health insurance coverage, which she credits with saving her from financial ruin after she suffered a heart attack requiring double-bypass surgery. In Texas, though she did not qualify for free health insurance, she had a room at her sister’s house, where she hoped to save some money while she recovered.
But after a disagreement with her brother-in-law, things spiraled out of control for Peake, 52. She moved out of her sister’s house, she said, and began staying on friends’ couches. Before long, she was camping in parks and sleeping on bus stop benches.
Now Peake lives at Gov. Greg Abbott’s temporary campsite for people experiencing homelessness, in a tent pitched on an unmarked patch of asphalt between parking spots 61 and 62 at a state-owned lot.