Kept From Homelessness By Caring Friends

It has been a long time since Lita Williams had a home of her own.

For most of her adult life, Ms. Williams, 52, has moved from one friend’s apartment to another so that she would not have to go to a homeless shelter. By her count, she has stayed in more than a dozen places, mostly in Brooklyn, where she grew up. Sometimes it is for a couple of days, sometimes for a couple of months.

“I’ve lived everywhere,” she said. “People are nice to me and say I can stay with them.”

For now, home is the Flatbush apartment of Elaine Coles, 82, whom she met through a friend at a bingo hall 15 years ago. Most nights, the two women sit down together for dinner. Ms. Coles cooks for them, and Ms. Williams washes the dishes. They have become so close that Ms. Williams calls her Ma.