FORT COLLINS COLORADOAN - Twila Freel used to sleep with her head at the door of her tent, pepper spray clutched in one hand and a knife in the other.
Freel, 51, lived more than a decade on Fort Collins' streets since fleeing from domestic violence in a neighboring city years ago.
Her journey started in a domestic violence shelter. She slept in cheap motel rooms. She spent nights at area homeless shelters. Much of her final years as a member of Fort Collins' homeless community were spent tucked away in that tent on the outskirts of society, hiding in bushes and groves of trees from police who might give her a ticket and other homeless individuals who wanted to do her harm.
But for the past month, Freel has slept in her own home, a townhouse on the northeast side of Fort Collins.
"I wake up at night saying, 'Is this actually real? Do I actually live here?,'" Freel said. "I found myself pinching myself to make sure I'm awake."
Freel's decade-long homeless journey is more than triple the average of 40 individuals who have gained housing since mid-October, according to self-reported data collected by the Sister Mary Alice Murphy Center for Hope.
Read more at the Fort Collins Coloradoan: http://noconow.co/2qJ3oBm
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