A True Gem
Meet Carrie, a guest who recently spent about six months living in both the Haven’s adult and family shelters. Here’s a bit of her background:
Carrie spent almost 30 years as a state administrative worker, had an apartment, colleagues, and friends, and was part of a community. Carrie has had custody of her grandchild, with whom she is very close, since her granddaughter was two years old. She has been actively involved in her granddaughter’s education and the parent teacher association. Carrie has a lifelong passion for civic engagement and politics, and enjoys participating in lively discussions about the issues that matter to her. Life has not always been easy by any means—she has faced violence in relationships and struggled with health issues—but Carrie is resilient and has remained a stable and positive presence in her granddaughter’s life.
Chances are this may not sound like someone you would expect to be living at the Haven. What happened? How did Carrie go from being self-sufficient with a full-time job to not having enough food or a place to live?
The truth is that many of us are just a few crises away from being homeless. Even those of us who have a support network of family and friends are at risk. The elements of Carrie’s story are familiar—in a short period of time, she faced a series of crises and major decisions that altered her life circumstances significantly. She was injured and had to leave her job. She left her home and traveled across the country to help her family after a relative died. The plans she made with a longtime friend for temporary housing fell through. Her health suffered as she went through these stressful events. She struggled to meet her granddaughter’s needs. Soon she was out of money and options with a teenager to care for. Finally, she had to rely on others for temporarily care of her granddaughter while she got back on her feet. She came into Hixon Adult Shelter, and then her granddaughter was able to join her and together they stayed in the Byrne Family Shelter.
During her time at the Haven, Carrie identified several key goals and worked toward them successfully with support from Haven staff and other service providers in the community. Being at the Haven meant not having to worry about basic necessities like food or a place to stay and this enabled Carrie to focus on getting the rest of her life back on track. Carrie now has stable housing and is managing her health issues. Her granddaughter is in school and doing well thanks to a plan created by a team of professionals invested in her success. Early this month, thanks to a generous individual in the community, Carrie met another major goal: she secured transportation by receiving a donated vehicle from the Haven.
Margeaux Duclos is one of the service coordinators who has worked closely with Carrie. The day that Carrie received her car, Margeaux shared the good news via email along with a photo. She wrote, “An emotional and joyous morning for Carrie! She is one of those true gems in this world, with beautiful perspective and the will to keep on going. Here she is, with her new ride. So so happy for her!”