Post originally published on Change.org
We have written quite a bit about the struggles of homeless people. Today we wanted to take some time to write about a success story. The successes help provide much needed hope in this fight to end homelessness.
Elizabeth has been working with a woman we’ll call Gina who was released from prison over a year ago. Upon her release, she was transferred to a halfway house. She has a history of drug addiction, mental health issues and other medical concerns, so she was enrolled in a program that helps her address these issues. Gina did not have a home to return to upon her release. She has some supportive family, but they have families of their own to care for. She was in need of supportive services to assist her in finding a place to live.
Gina is 57 years old and has been in and out of prison for most of her adult life. She has been addicted to substances for longer than that. She has never had a home of her own. About six months after being released, her housing voucher came through. She was on her way to finding a home. In what was to be one of the greatest moments in her life, Gina was overcome with anxiety. The reality of having a home and all the responsibilities that come along with it were having a significant effect on her. Elizabeth assisted Gina in working through her anxiety. She did not turn back to drugs to ease her discomfort. Instead she found new ways to cope with her emotions. Soon Gina was able to see this as a wonderful opportunity to be on her own and to succeed.
After a few more months of apartment searching and jumping through some administrative hoops, the day finally came for Gina to move in. The next day, she came to see Elizabeth. Through tears in her eyes, Gina spoke of the pure joy she felt at having her own apartment. She felt truly free and alive. She had accomplished a dream that she never thought would come true for her. She spoke at length about the incredible feeling of having her own key and a door to open with it. She said, “I always hoped I would have my own key to my own home. Now I have it. Putting that key in the door of my apartment is the best feeling.”
Gina went through many hardships, yet she never gave up on herself. She had the hope and the dream that she would one day have her own home. We continue to have hope that more people like Gina will one day get the key to their own homes as well.
To read the post on Change.org, click here.