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Dec. 16, 2019

Homelessness in L.A. with Zawadi

Homelessness in L.A. with Zawadi

Zawadi's Belly story illustrates the transformative journey caused by unintended homelessness due to the loss of her 14 year life partner. Zawadi found her voice and helps others see the light.


- In 2013, Zawadi’s life partner of 14 years died from cancer

- With no place to turn, Zawadi found refuge with a narcissistic abuser

- Zawadi finally escaped but with nowhere to go, ended up homeless

- She lived for six months in a homeless shelter that felt more like a jail

- At her lowest point and contemplating suicide, Zawadi found her voice and purpose

- Skid Row in Los Angeles was the ‘first level of hell’

- An old friend helped Zawadi learn about finances and more

- Stigma of homelessness and media portrays wrong -- every time Zawadi goes to speak at corporate events someone tells her they are living in their car

- Zawadi is grateful and living a meaningful, purpose-filled life



“But from there I was looking for refuge and I ended up in the arms of a narcissist abuser. I was in such a dark place, but there was still a little bit of light, you know. And that journey let me into the belly. And so that's where purpose began in the belly.”

“Actually I've only been housed two years. And even that homeless journey was a nightmare. But here, through that whole process, the trauma that I went through. I lost my voice. I couldn't speak. Because of the trauma was so dark.”

“It was a homeless shelter, but it felt like we were in jail.”

“But what he didn't know that I was about to commit suicide. And because I'm a woman of my word and my integrity is very important to me. I went ahead and went to that writing class and that was the day that my life changed. Eyvette (Jones-Johnson) was up, she's the founder of Urban Possibilities. And she began to speak, and for the first time, it was like she was chipping at the reservoir. Was chipping at my heart. And that was the first time that I was able to let a little tears come out. I remember how the tears were burning my face. And that was the first light that I saw while in that belly.”

“Those three years of being homeless was very humbling. And it stripped every ounce of pride that I've ever had.”

“But part of me living in that shelter, I had to get up. I had to get up. I had to have purpose every day to get up. Because if not, I would still be there. You have to get up every day when you're in that situation. You have to have purpose. If you don't have a purpose you're not going to make it out. I was in survival mode. And I know what it feels like to be hungry. I know what it feels like to have to look on the ground for pennies to try to scrape up a dollar. And I know what it feels like to be judged. I had a lot of shame. A lot of shame. I will be on Facebook watching everybody else's lives. You know, this person is in Hawaii, this person's in London, Paris. And I'm in an abandoned building. Hungry. And no money. But I knew there was a purpose behind it. Skid Row is the first level of hell.” 

“It was just a very humbling time, but it was just stripping me. I had to go through this transformation.”

“My transformation began when (my partner) died. My transformation began when I had to escape for my life. My transformation began when I was homeless. My transformation is.. I'm still transforming.”

“And now I'm light. I know I'm light. I'm light in dark places.”

“I'm on this quest of just being open and you know, just being available and surrendering. I'm in a place that's surrendering to the process. I just surrender.”

“But when we go out to speak in in corporate America, I'm always approached by someone that's working in corporate America that lives in their car.”

“But the beauty about it is that I got. And the beauty about it is that I wake up every morning kissing the sun. I wake up every morning knowing that I have purpose and I am destined for destiny.”


Learn more about Zawadi



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David All

Creator, Storyteller, Producer


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