After two years of homelessness, Lori Teresa Yearwood returns to reporting

After two years of homelessness, Lori Teresa Yearwood returns to reporting

After being homeless for two years, she returned to reporting, covering those experiencing economic hardships.

She later returned to journalism, calling on her experiences to cover the ongoing homelessness crisis.

Lori Teresa Yearwood, a journalist who returned to reporting after an excruciating spiral into two years of homelessness, died on Sept. 17 at her home in Salt Lake City. Sherry Long, a close friend of her husband, said her death, in hospice care was caused by ovarian cancer. She referred to myself as a 'trauma-informed journalist'. Mr. Wallis, 58, said in a phone interview he was preparing to speak at a news conference.

Before she covered others' stories, Ms. Yearwood wrote about herself. But in fact it was a slow-motion fall, one she couldn't see coming. It took 14 years, and it began with the decision to leave The Miami Herald in 2000, where she had been a reporter for seven years.

With a gift from her father, she started a nonprofit organization that aimed to help low-income children write, but it didn't make enough money to pay its employees. She moved to Oregon, where she raised horses. While there, she founded a business that makes sugar-free treats for horses. After five years in a small carpentry shed, she moved to a cottage that burned down two weeks after she moved in. Her mother, who died in a car crash, was rushed to hospital. She was expelled from her next residence. She moved into Salt Lake City, but her stay ended when she was unable to pay for her room.

From late 2014 to early 2017 she was in and out of shelters and slept on the street. She was repeatedly sexually assaulted by a man who worked for a homeless Outreach Center, where Ms. Yearwood collected her daily hygiene kit. She was incarcerated for six months for public lewdness after she bathed naked in a river, she said, and she couldn't tolerate cleaning herself in a shelter's shower stalls, which were littered with tampons and used toilet paper. She was taken to a psychiatric ward at a hospital for 'bizarre behavior', which led to diagnoses of bipolar disorder and schizoaffective disorder, and she was forcibly medicated. The multiple traumas made her largely mute, and she did not tell doctors about what had transpired in her life until then. She gradually recovered, with help from a pastor at Salt Lake City Mission and from Journey of Hope, a nonprofit organization that helps abused women start new lives.

A lot of our women are getting assaulted, Ms. Miller-Cox said, then Ms. Yearwood told her, Honey, you're going to write again. And you're going to be powerful. Yearwood was born in Denver on Sept. 22, 1965, and grew up in the suburbs of Palo Alto, California. Her father, Vernon Yearwood-Drayton, was a Panamanian immigrant who served as a microbiologist at NASA's Ames Research Center. Marlene Yearwood, the mother of her mother, was an administrative assistant at Stanford University. She worked for The Herald, The St. Louis Post-Dispatch, The Syracuse Post-Standard, and The Fresno Bee. She also wrote articles for Tropic, The Herald's Sunday magazine.

Beyond articles about her plight and others', Ms. Yearwood wrote articles in which she recommended that shelters relieve the constant fatigue that worsens the trauma of homeless people with better residential designs that encourage sleep, and that supported increased investment in government-subsidized housing. Defying assumptions about being homeless, she addressed the Supportive Housing Conference keynote address last year. Two, they said, Ms. Yearwood had been working on a memoir - Mr. Shroder said she had written a lot of it but didn't have a publisher - and was consulting on a homelessness project for the Opinion section of The Times that is scheduled to be published this fall. The Opinion section's Special Projects Editor, Meeta Agrawal, wrote in an email that Yearwood had the full power of her brilliant thinking, hard-earned knowledge and deep passion to bear on our ideas, and in doing so she shaped the direction of the project.