[NEWS] Homelessness is on the rise in Kensington
Ilza Padua bathes her 500-pound ex-boyfriend in exchange for a shower, or a $10 bill she could use to buy a bag of heroin.
Homeless for years in the madness and squalor of West Kensington, Padua, 46, is weary and nearly toothless, her leathery skin marred with scars from knife attacks and repeated spikings from dope needles.
She carries a clutch of novels with her - Robin Cook is popular among the homeless for some reason - and has survived by staying awake at night and prostituting herself only to men who seem safe. "Doctors and lawyers are OK," she said.
An astute observer, Padua says Kensington has been getting crowded lately with more homeless people flooding the neighborhood, known as the epicenter of drug crime in Philadelphia.