P is a single mother of 2 adult daughters and one teenage daughter. She found herself homeless after the 2017 Sonoma County fires, not because she lost her home in the fire, but because her place of employment had to shut down for a couple of weeks due to poor air quality, and she got behind in her rent. P also had substance abuse issues which caused Child Protective Services to become involved, and lost her right to have her, then, 2 teenage daughters live with her.
P has suffered from substance abuse for many years, before becoming clean and sober over 2 years ago. She wonders if part of why she began using drugs was due to the fact that both her parents are recovering addicts, her father now sober for over 25 years and her mother sober from hardcore drugs for almost 2 decades. She also credits part of the reason for continuing to use was that her children’s father supplied her drugs, which she described as a “free supply.” She had quit when she found out she was pregnant with her middle daughter and went to rehab. However, when her children’s father got out of prison, she started up again.
The catalyst this time for becoming sober was becoming homeless. After getting behind in rent, she just wasn’t able to catch up. She was evicted from her home and moved into her father’s small apartment, sleeping in the living room, with her two teenage daughters. Her father noticed her drug use and reported her to CPS. Although this was a tough thing to go through, P describes it as a “blessing in disguise” as it started her on the path to getting clean. She had wanted to get sober and knew it was time, but just hadn’t taken the steps to do so. In order to get her daughters back, she was required to do, among other things, parenting classes, random drug testing for over a year, and meetings 3 times a week. The last step in the process of regaining custody of her daughter was to acquire housing.
P connected with Interfaith, which assisted her through the housing process. She had difficulty finding a place to live because of the eviction on her record, and not having the benefit of a housing voucher. However, she did finally find her new home and has some financial help from Interfaith. They pay for the first month’s rent and security deposit, and then supplement each month’s rent, paying less and less as the months progress, until P takes responsibility for the entire sum.
Her youngest daughter is now getting ready to move into her new home. Her other daughter turned 18 last year and aged out of the CPS process. She has decided to continue to live with her grandfather. P holds down 3 jobs to support herself and her daughter and is motivated to maintain her sobriety.
P is very happy with her newly furnished home and said that it was an “awesome” experience working with the Inspired Spaces Foundation. She has told many people about the experience and showed friends her new home. She described their reactions as “everybody was in awe about what you did.” P was so touched by what she was given, that it has inspired her to want to volunteer. She says she wants to give to others what was given to her.
When asked if she had any words of encouragement or advice for others experiencing what she went through, P said to do it for your kids. Her daughters are what got her through this time and what kept her motivated. She said that it was “tough, but not tough” once she realized she was making these positive changes for them. She knew that even if she wasn’t necessarily doing it for herself, her kids were important enough to go through it.