(NewsNation) — An Oregon mom was in her backyard when an intruder broke into her home, crawled into her son’s bed and fell asleep.
Home security footage shows Kelsey Smith discovering a homeless woman asleep in her son’s bed. Smith took a minute to figure out exactly how she was going to respond to the situation but eventually backed out of the room to help guide the woman out of her house.
Smith told NewsNation she definitely wasn’t expecting to find a stranger in her home.
“I wasn’t sure what I was looking at, at first. In fact, I was a little confused. I thought maybe it was my husband curled up in my clean laundry. But that didn’t make a lot of sense,” Smith explained.
She said her brain was just trying to fire off all the different potential reasons for a person to be in her son’s bed. Once she realized it was a homeless person, she backed out of the room.
“I told her she needed to leave. And at that point, she hopped off the bed and picked up the ottoman at the foot of the bed and rushed at me, and threw it at me. And then walked out the door,” Smith explained.
Smith called the police and said the woman was actually picked up about four houses down, trying to break into somebody else’s house.
The homeless issue has grown into a larger problem in Portland, Oregon, over the past few years. Smith said that the reality of the situation is that the incident speaks volumes about what society needs to be doing differently.
“I mean, I’m glad in a way that she picked my house because I have a medically fragile child and I’ve had my share of stressful situations. You know, being a parent to a child with disabilities as well, as a foster parent, I’m acutely aware of the repercussions of the gaps in services to these communities,” Smith explained.
Smith believes this is a national problem. She hears stories every day of incidents such as this happening all over the country. In fact, Smith is currently a part of a group that’s fighting for systemic change with an organization called Advocates for Disability Supports.
“We’re crafting a bill with Sen. Tim Knopp that will be coming forward next legislative session that’s going to start removing barriers to support for the youngest and most vulnerable, which is important to me, because it’s children with disabilities like mine,” Smith said.
She continued, “But you know, it’s easy to see this situation and see a woman with a history of institutionalization that just walks in to take a nap. But we have to look at the bigger picture, you know, our support systems have visibly failed her.”
As a mother with a child with disabilities, Smith said she can speak to the importance of stabilizing and providing adequate mental health support to families experiencing disability, whether it’s physical, mental or behavioral.