From "Helpless" to "Hopeful"
Stacey was just another mom trying to provide for her family, when life tripped her right into rock bottom. “I do not drink alcohol or do drugs. I became homeless because I couldn’t keep up with my job, because of my health condition.” She also went through an abusive relationship, forcing her and her daughter to flea toward less than ideal conditions.
“I felt helpless, hopeless. I felt less than a mother, because I couldn’t provide for my daughter.”
At times laying on a friend’s couch, a homeless shelter cot, and a hotel bed, Stacey and her daughter fought for a long time to feel like they mattered. Faced with neighbors who profusely smoked crack, Stacey’s daughter suffered from worsening asthma. No income, and no job, meant no health insurance. Broken hands from abuse meant no work prospects.
Facing the prospect of sleeping outside with her daughter, Stacey had nowhere to turn. They were afraid of lying susceptible to coyotes, proving just how life threatening homelessness can be. Yet, hope found a way to slowly meet Stacey right where she was.
Love Our Community found out about Stacey and the struggles she was fighting, through a referral from ICAN Housing. There were no beds in any shelter that were appropriate for Stacey, but LOC met with her, and helped with some short-term solutions to remove her and her daughter from the dangerous and dehumanizing conditions they were living in. Through financial support and relationships in the community, we provided hotel nights for Stacey and her daughter.
A bed did finally open up in a shelter, but Stacey and her daughter weren't struggling with drugs or alcohol, so they were very low on the placement list. They were facing a long time in the shelter, were the atmosphere was extremely rough.
Through a collaboration with another non-profit, LOC helped place Stacey and her daughter in secure housing with a bridge to becoming self-sustaining and stable. During this time a local family donated a van to her and Ramsburg Insurance worked with Stacey to secure insurance for her new van. The simple gift of transportation is often taken for granted, but for Stacey this van represents her move toward independence.
“They have helped me a lot. They are people who understand, and who do not treat you like inhuman. They don’t look down at you because of your situation. They want to help and understand you.”
Stacey and her daughter began volunteering with LOC shortly after they got connected with us. This has been one big step toward a path of resiliency and giving back to their community. After helping Stacey and her daughter find an immediate, more suitable living arrangement, LOC was able to hire Stacey at the LOC Thrift Store at the Hartville Marketplace and Flea Market. It’s not a full-time job, but it is a sustainable starting point for Stacey to continue her path toward Hope.
“If it weren’t for LOC, I would still be stuck.”
LOC has also taken up a love offering for Stacey and her daughter, and we are continuing to walk with them and help them connect with more opportunities to restore hope in their lives.