Brenda Deckman had lots of jobs in her life. Nurse’s aide. Manager of a Subway sandwich shop. Home health care aide. Laundromat worker.
But after a turbulent marriage that ended with her losing custody of her 5-year-old son, she fell into a deep depression, spiraled downward and ended up homeless, living in a tent in the Pogonip Open Space Preserve, a 640-acre wooded park on the northern edge of Santa Cruz.
She had no car. No bike. Not even one photo of her son. Adrift, aimless and lacking self-worth, she survived on food stamps, panhandled and bathed in a creek.
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