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A Day in the Life

a-day-in-the-life1My three children and I had been living in a domestic violence emergency shelter for about two months when an opening became available at Home of the Sparrow’s transitional living shelter.  I am 26 and had been living in an abusive relationship with my children’s father for a very long time.

I had many different feelings the day we moved into the shelter.  I felt that my children and I had found a place where we would be safe and supported while I worked to become self-sufficient and create a stable new life for us all.  But I also felt nervous and a little afraid about what it would be like to live in a communal living situation with people that I didn’t know.   I was met by the Shelter Coordinator and a case manager who showed me around the shelter and introduced me to other staff and residents.  They were very kind and explained the rules of living in the shelter and answered my many questions.  My children and I were given a nice bedroom that we share with two sets of bunk beds and a small closet to store our clothes and other belongings.  There was a lot to know and remember about everything I would be doing in the Program in the coming weeks that would help me to start over.  But when I settled into bed that night I felt that with hard work on my part and the support and resources that Home of the Sparrow offers, I had an opportunity to create a better life for myself and my children.

a-day-in-the-life2Days in the shelter have a routine and are organized around working on goals for self-sufficiency.  I am up early to feed my children and get them off to school and daycare.  When I first arrived at the shelter I met with my case manager two to three times per week.  She helped me to find and apply for community and government resources, search for jobs and apply for permanent housing.   During the first few weeks I spent a lot of time job searching.  It was difficult at first because I hadn’t worked in a long time.  But my case manager was very supportive and knowledgeable.  She helped me to write a resume, referred me to job fairs and staffing agencies and made suggestions about local businesses where I could apply.   After several weeks and a lot of focus and determination, I got a job.  It was a great day and I was proud of the progress I had made.

Our day-to-day life in the shelter is pretty similar to what it would be if we were living in our own apartment.  I pick my children up from daycare after work and return to the shelter.  If the weather is good, they are able to play outside in the yard or we might go for a walk or bike ride.  In the evening, I make dinner for my family and spend time talking with other shelter residents who are doing the same.   We catch up about the day and share stories and successes.  After dinner I finish my assigned chores and spend some quiet time with my children in our room.  Next comes showers and our day is done.

Thursday evening is educational programming night at the shelter.  I look forward to the weekly classes on parenting, budgeting and financial management, wellness and healthy living that help me build the skills to live well and independently when I leave the shelter and move into permanent housing.   I work with the HOS Adult Therapist.  She provides counseling to help me recover from the domestic violence situation I left and she works with me on managing the many challenges and changes of going from homelessness to self-sufficiency.  Maids cleaning the kitchen in apartmentMy children love spending time with the HOS Child & Family Therapist.  Of course they love playing games and drawing with her, but I know that they are learning to express their feelings and move pass what we’ve been through.   Lately they’ve been telling me what they want instead of acting out.

Shortly after moving into the shelter, my case manager helped me to search and apply for permanent subsidized housing.  Now that I am working and have saved some money, I will soon be able to move into an apartment of my own.   My journey from homelessness to self-sufficiency continues.  I know that someday soon my children and I will be living independently in a home of our own.


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