L is vibrant, joyful, and full of life. She has experienced different traumas and hard times in her life, but she hasn’t let them define her nor dampen her positivity. Her story of homelessness began in 2019 when she was involved in an abusive relationship. She describes that she “checked out” and at one point got a gun and shot at her ex boyfriend, thankfully not killing him. She was arrested and went to prison for a couple of years.
After 2 years, when she was released, she came “home to nothing” and was homeless. However, she did her due diligence while in a prison program and was able to transition into a homeless shelter. This shelter was a 6 month program where she had free 3 meals a day, free room and board and was able to wash her clothes for free. She shared that although she was grateful to have a place to stay, it was still very difficult to witness the mental health and substance abuse that others around her were dealing with.
During this time, she married a prior boyfriend and obtained a job through a friend doing janitorial work. Her friend allowed her to set her own hours and pretty much be her own boss. He even offered her his car to use. Although the job only lasted a few months, he was generous and sold her his car so she would continue to have access to transportation, which she describes as a blessing. Around this time, L’s husband took her out of the shelter and moved her to a hotel. However, after about 3 months, the hotel became too expensive so she got herself back into the shelter and another 6 months of assistance. L took this time to focus her energy on getting all her paperwork and health related information (her health issues require her to have an in-home caretaker) together and started to look for permanent housing, with the help of her caseworker.
Searching for housing was hard and scary because of her criminal background, low credit score, and an eviction she had prior to her incarceration. Because of this she, at times, became hopeless and couldn’t see the “light at the end of the tunnel.” However, “by the grace of God,” the owners of her previous apartment, in which she was evicted, heard of her situation and chose to remove the eviction. She stated that they acknowledged that she was a good tenant and didn’t know the circumstances surrounding the eviction and wanted to help. She again said it was a huge blessing and was “blown away” by the gesture.
Even still, she continued to be turned down for housing about 7-8 times. She applied everywhere and got discouraged. When she connected with the manager of the apartment complex in which she is currently living, her situation began to change. The manager was committed to seeing her application approved and worked with L towards this goal. The process took a couple of months and L was coming to the end of her 6 months at the shelter. She was anxious and concerned that the apartment wouldn’t come through on time and wondered where she would go. Her friends came through for her and offered their home to L in the interim. After a couple of days of staying with her friends, the call came through saying her credit application was approved and she would be moving in!
L’s caseworker then connected her with Inspired Spaces Foundation as she moved into her new apartment with nothing but an air mattress on the floor, paper plates and a couple of pots and pans. She was so grateful to the foundation for coming in and fully furnishing her home. She describes her new home as amazing and beautiful, with “top of the line, good stuff.” L cannot wait to invite her girlfriends over and is just deciding on the timing of that and what she wants to cook.
She is now focused on taking things day by day and working towards finding part-time employment. She wants to be able to save money for emergencies, but also just wants to be productive. She is now looking forward to getting out more, traveling, maybe going to Disneyland. She never did that before. L wants to enjoy her life and is looking forward to living life on life’s terms, appreciating the hard work she did to get here and loving herself more.
Her message to others in similar situations is to believe in yourself, ask for help, and fight. Keep fighting if you find that nothing is going through; don’t give up and show up no matter what. She believes that if you are not productive in life, you won’t go anywhere. She finished by saying to do the best you can for yourself and it will pay off in the end.