Henrietta Hughes

Feb 10, 2009 3:05pm

ABC News’ Yunji de Nies and Sunlen Miller Report from Ft. Myers, Fla.:

At President Obama’s town hall meeting in Ft. Myers, Fla., today, one questioner stood out. Henrietta Hughes took the microphone and in a wavering voice, asked the president for help.

"I have an urgent need, unemployment and homelessness, a very small vehicle for my family and I to live in," she said. "The housing authority has two years’ waiting lists, and we need something more than the vehicle and the parks to go to. We need our own kitchen and our own bathroom. Please help."

President Obama gave her a kiss on the cheek, telling her, "We’re going to do everything we can to help you, but there are a lot of people like you." He said his staff would meet with her after the town hall.

Hughes says she and her adult son have been homeless for "a long time." She says her son lost his job in computer programming, and they in turn lost their house. She says she has been looking for a job, although she is on disability for cancer, but so far has not been able to find work.

Hughes was visibly moved by the president. "I’m just grateful to have him to acknowledge and for him to hear me," she said. She would not give specifics about the type of help White House has promised her, only saying she was "satisfied."

Hughes says she was not able to vote on election day because she does not have an address. She said without a vote, she prayed that Mr. Obama would win. "I said, ‘Lord please have mercy on Mr. Obama." and the Lord did so.’"

After the president left, reporters crowded around Hughes, doing one interview after another. People in the crowd handed her business cards and cash. Florida Rep. Nick Thompson has offered her and her son a home in La Belle, a town about two hours from Ft. Myers.

– Yunji de Nies & Sunlen Miller

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