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Great piece in the Bee, today, about the sad life and death of a Sacramento homeless woman

There's a great story in the Sacramento Bee, today, "Homeless in Sacramento: A death on the streets," about the sad life of Genevieve Lucchesi who was homeless for the last two decades of her life, dying at the age of 77 last February.

Reporter Cynthia Hubert was able to assemble an astonishing collection of information from people who had modest interactions with Genny Lucchesi in her last years and last days. As well, Hubert was able to contact the old woman's daughters to come to know what Genny was like as a mother and young-to-middle-aged woman.

The story is an especially sad one because Genevieve Lucchesi was mentally ill. Her daughters remember Genny as being paranoid and emotionally unstable, and as a disruptive and scary presence in their lives who brought them misery.

Homeless in old age, Genny was a presence in midtown, She was isolated, unwilling to interact much with others -- including those who strived to help her.

It's a great, touching, somber tale, tenderly written by Ms. Hubert.


Every life is unique, of course, but there are many homeless people in Sacramento whose lives have aspects that align with much of what Ms. Lucchesi seems to have experienced and suffered. And there are mentally ill homeless people who became disruptive presences in the lives of their families which led to them becoming homeless.

There are tragic situations all around. It is often hard to perceive how much any apparently mentally ill person is suffering since many, like Ms. Lucchesi, seal themselves off from the world, choosing to live in isolation to a great degree.

Ms. Lucchesi was fortunate in a modest way to have had some interests -- crossword puzzles; romance novels; coffee; food -- such that her mind remained active and such that there would be moments of delight during her day.. Some others you see on the street seem to have no interests at all.

I didn't know Ms. Lucchesi, but I do recognize the woman from pictures in the Hubert article. There were occasions when I've seen her on the streets.


After the country fell into the Great Recession that had its beginnings in 2008, VOA's homeless outreach program was discontinued. I believe I am correct in saying that about a dozen people were laid off. These are the people who would have been tasked to find lost Souls like Genny such to do everything they could to get the person evaluated by a psychiatrist and then to foment a plan to place the person in a situation where life could be healthy and less stressful.

I don't know what is being done, today, to aid people who fall through the nets and don't get a rescuer.

In an email I received from the Bee about Sunday's paper, questions were asked. [Click on the graphic at the top of this blogpost.] One is "...why did [Genny] die alone?" That question needs to be answered such that tragic mistakes aren't made in the future; such that people at their wits' end have a chance to be rescued.


NC, Sacramento said…
This is a powerful story and very well done. It is one that those who have troubled family members or loved ones will read more than once.

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