Recession Costs Miss Colorado USA Her Home

PHOTO Miss Colorado, Blair Griffith.PlayFuture Production/Miss USA Pagent
WATCH Land of the Free, Home of the Broke?

The smile, the walk, the poise and the Miss Colorado USA crown would make you believe Blair Griffith has it all.

But, since being chosen to represent her state in the Miss USA pageant, Griffith has lost her permanent shelter.

"I am currently homeless," Griffith told a classroom of students during an interview with KUSA-TV. "I do not have a house to go home to."

Griffith and her mother are among a growing cadre of homeless families across the United States. The number of homeless families rose from 131,000 in 2007 to 170,000 in 2009 due to the recession, according to the Annual Homeless Assessment Report to Congress

The 23-year-old who won the crown of Miss Teen USA back in 2006 has been struggling with financial hardships since winning her Colorado title. Her job at a retail store is expected to end soon and her mother has been unable to work after suffering a heart attack three years ago.

"I wanted to be there for her," Griffith told the TV station about her mother. Now, Griffith and her mother don't have a place to call home.

A long road of strength and support has been required of the 20something, who in between tweets about pageant requirements has written about her mother's various stays at the hospital.

"Well hello again twitter: Quick update- Mom was in hospital, but is getting out today, it's snowy in the CO, & I need to find a swim suit," she wrote on the social media Web site back in October 2009.

In the weeks leading up to the Miss Colorado USA competition, Griffith found herself again in a hospital room. "Slept at the hospital the past two nights w/my mom. They sure like to wake you up all through the night right when you finally fall asleep," wrote Griffith on her unofficial Twitter page in September 2010.

The state winner began her pursuit of beauty queen at the suggestion of her father, who died from prostate cancer when she was 14. She has balanced familial health and pageantry since she was young and doesn't regret her choice. When she was crowned Miss Teen USA in 2006 Griffith said, "I cried because I wished he'd been there to see it."

She will continue her work on the pageantry circuit when she vies for the title of Miss USA in June. Griffith told the TV station that a friend has stepped in temporarily to keep mother and daughter off the street.

And, the beauty queen says she is at home in her cramped room in her temporary residence with only a few belongings, including her crown, at the house.

"It's almost a test to see if you can handle it, and what will you make out of your situation," Griffith said.

How is she keeping on?

"I meet people that give me strength... I feel like there are so many people going through the exact same situation."