Craig F. Walker
The Denver Post
"THE DORSEY FAMILY: SEEKING SHELTER IN SUN VALLEY"
Denver's Sun Valley, the poorest neighborhood in Colorado, is a welcome shelter for Shawnette Dorsey, 32, and her three children, ages 13 months, 8 and 13. She and the children, who had bounced from apartment to shelter to friends' homes, finally landed a three-bedroom apartment at Decatur Place, which aids single parents willing to enter a two-year program that helps them get back on their feet. She and the kids say grace at dinner and go to church on Sunday. Still life isn't easy. Both of Dorsey's sons, Shonquez, 13, and Shawnwunz'a, 8, have been in and out of trouble at school. In September, she lost her job, so now the family lives off unemployment checks, food stamps and Medicaid. There are 191,725 Colorado children living below the poverty line. The state's 73 percent increase from 2000 to 2006 was the nation's highest rate of growth, according to the Colorado Children's Campaign.
Shalisiana sits quietly as her mother, Shawnette Dorsey, does her hair. Shawnette was singing along to gospel music. The song was fast and upbeat, repeating: "I'll get by with what I got, I'll get by with what I got." Shawnette added, "Amen to that."