It seems my life really started on June 7th, the day my son was born. That day was the best and worst day of my life. I couldn’t go home and I had nowhere to turn with this precious baby. My biological family had their own issues to deal with. As I looked at my baby, I knew that no matter what, I would do whatever I could to provide for him.
My name is Kathryn and I spent 6 months at the Friends Emergency Housing Program’s Shelter. I had never faced not having a home. Many months ago, I had left my husband because of his substance abuse issues and escalating temper and moved back into my childhood home. When I left him, I did not know that I was going to become a mom. I worked; I have always worked, paid my bills and lived in my own apartment. I would have considered myself middle-class.
During my stay back at my stepmother’s house, I became sick and was put on bed rest. All the money that I had saved over the last 6 months was almost gone when I went into the hospital to have Jae. He was born by an emergency C-Section, and I was going to need all the help I could get for the first few days.
I made the hard decision to call the Friends Emergency Housing Program to see if they had any space available for us, and they did. I was so scared thinking “I know what a shelter looks like. I am going to be stuck with a bunch of scary people and sleeping on a cot.” When I finally got to the Emergency Housing Program, staff kindly sat me down and helped me with all the paperwork, carry my things up to the room and made sure that I had everything that I needed.
I was so happy to see that there were other people here like me. It was nothing like what I have seen on TV. It was a relief. You couldn’t even tell it was a shelter. Kids were playing, woman laughing and offering to help. Staff made it clear that they were here to help me but that I would need to also help myself. They taught me how to budget, work with creditors, find resources in the community and most of all they taught me that just because I was homeless that wasn’t who I was. Within the first 6 weeks I secured daycare for my son, and found a job. It took 6 months for me to secure safe, affordable housing for my family.
If not for the wonderful staff at the shelter I would not be the person that I am today. I have become stronger. I know that we will be ok. I know that there is help out there. The staff will help you learn the ways to become self-sufficient if you want to learn. They will help you learn how to help yourself.
Today I work full time for a nonprofit agency, I am finishing my degree, my son still attends the same daycare and I have a home. Thank you to the Friends staff for being there for those in need and thank you to the wonderful, caring people that donate to help those in need.