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Bernis Andrew

Nick St. Oegger

Bernis Andrew


Andrew Takes it a Day at a Time

Homeless Senior Battles the Elements, Hunger and the Limits of a Social Security.


If a midnight craving for a fresh-baked donut took you to Spudnuts in the wee hours last week, you may have seen a tall, elderly woman sleeping upright at one of the tables—or trying to anyway.

This woman has been taking refuge at Spudnuts one or two nights a week lately. Her name is Bernis Andrew and she’s a few months shy of her 71st birthday. She gets a Social Security check each month, but even though she says she worked the better part of 40 years, it isn’t enough to cover rent. She’s been homeless off and on for 15 years, she says, but the last two have been particularly grueling.

Andrew has daytime hangouts too. Borders Books and Music is one of them. The tables in front of Borders were the perch from which she would people watch. But they’ve been sold off because Borders is closing, so she rests on the sidewalk bench in front of the store. Spudnuts is part of her night-time routine, the place she retreats to when the temporary floors she sometimes has access to aren’t available, and police shoo her from the half-hidden bench she uses to stretch out on. To read more, see homelessinsb.org.

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