She survived the September 11 attack at the Pentagon and put her life on the line in Iraq and Afghanistan. Now, Alicia, a retired Air Force staff sergeant, is living out of her car. She says she's been homeless for about a year.
Every month, Alicia is paid $700 for her 10 years of service, but because of debts that are withdrawn from her payment, she says she only gets about $200. On a day-to-day basis, Alicia lives on about $13, and for the past six weeks, most of that money has gone toward a car, which she rents for $10 a day.
At night, Alicia sleeps in this car...if she sleeps at all. "I have slept in the most dangerous of places with attacks and everything else," she says. "So it's very easy for me to sleep any kind of way." There are times, however, when Alicia says she doesn't sleep for days.
See what a typical day is like for Alicia.
Years of military training helps Alicia survive on a limited food supply. "I probably eat off of $1 a day," she says. "My stomach really is geared toward battle." She calls a box that she keeps in the trunk of her rental car her "kitchen," and she stocks this box with food she can heat up easily. "Microwaves are very easily accessible all times of night," she says. "So a lot of my food is microwaveable."
To shower and freshen up, Alicia goes to a local gym. "This is where I can take a shower, do my hair, put on my makeup," she says. Then, it's off to a cell phone waiting lot at a nearby airport. "I come here because it's close to a lot of hotels," she says. "If I need to go to the restroom, I can go in there."
Alicia may seem strong, but during quiet moments in her car, it's obvious that her spirit is broken. "The word I have trouble saying is the fact that I'm...homeless," she says. "The moment I turn the key, and I take those blankets out of the trunk, it hits me."