A Resident's Story
, age 39, divorced seven years ago and was devastated. He struggled for quite a while but was just coming to terms with it when life threw him another curve ball. As part of company-wide layoffs, Graham lost his long-time job at a surveillance company and was evicted from his apartment. Graham stumbled between odd jobs and living in a hotel for almost a year. He finally thought his problems were over when he joined his stepbrother in a painting company and moved in with him, but that didn't work out for him either, and he finally wound up living under a bridge in Plano for several weeks.
A police officer told him about The Samaritan Inn. Graham sees the Inn as a jumping off point for the rest of his life. He completed our Job Readiness Class and said it truly improved his attitude. He interviewed and received a job offer last week and started yesterday. "I am going to change from mere survival to actual living now," Graham told his caseworker.
David, a widower, and his two teenaged children moved into The Samaritan Inn on February 1. Last year David's wife became gravely ill. He did everything he could to make sure she received care but after significant medical attention, she passed away.
The medical bills were daunting and David was only able to pay for her funeral by selling most of the families possessions. Placing pride aside, he took his brother's suggestion about coming to The Samaritan Inn. David says it has been very difficult working full time and raising his children without the support of his wife, while dealing with his own grief.
David's caseworker says, "Every meeting we have is about his children. It is critical to him that they are safe and adjusting to their new environment." The entire family attends weekly grief counseling and David recently started a new job.
"It's been a long road, but I have to get my family back on track," says David.
Terry and Janine moved into The Samaritan Inn last month after having been evicted from their apartment. They had gotten themselves into a difficult financial situation and made it worse by going to a payday loan office and borrowing money. So often this appears to be a "quick fix" for people in trouble, but it inevitably compounds their problems. The couple was assigned a caseworker and a program was being put together for them, but it quickly became apparent they were not able to follow our rules.
All residents of The Samaritan Inn are expected to do daily chores and meet with their caseworker on a weekly basis. Classes (that are part of their program) are mandatory. Two weeks into their stay they had not completed their chores, had not attended classes, and broke curfew three times. At the weekly caseworker meeting, it was determined that this couple had not committed to our program, and they were asked to leave. We are always disappointed about situations like this, but the fact is, though we supply all the tools needed to re-establish independence, personal accountability is key and in this case, there simply was none.
At last week's gala, a seven-minute video was shown about Christina, a graduate of The Samaritan Inn. Christina, mother of three boys, found herself homeless and sleeping in her car in the parking lot of a local Albertsons grocery store. On a whim, she went into The Samaritan Inn thrift store and noticed a sign that stated the store supported The Samaritan Inn. She asked our cashier, Janice, about our program and then went directly there to see if she and her sons could get in. Christina and her boys spent four months living at the Inn and then graduated to a transitional living apartment. Today Christina has a management job, her boys are happy and successful students, and she is fully independent. "The Samaritan Inn saved my life," Christina said. "In the video, I want to tell my story so people can understand it can happen to anyone like it happened to me."
We applaud Christina's strength and courage. The video will be on our website soon.
Henry and Stacy, both age 30, and their daughters, ages 7 and 3, relocated to Texas from New York. They came in search of better jobs and planned to stay with Stacy's family. Space quickly became an issue when four more people were added to the home and tempers flared. The environment was unhealthy and Henry and Stacy felt they had to leave, but they couldn't afford a place of their own yet. A friend mentioned The Samaritan Inn, and they nervously applied for intake.
Stacy says, "I never imagined we would be in this situation, but I'm convinced my girls will be better off in Texas. In New York, the schools were failing and the neighborhood was full of gangs. I am so grateful this program is available because it has truly meant the world to my family."
Since their intake in early November, both Stacy and Henry have found full-time jobs. They have paid off their bills, established a budget, and are making good progress with their savings. They attend counseling sessions, parenting classes, and the Dave Ramsey Financial Peace University course. The girls are in school, read with the therapy dogs, take onsite art lessons, and are looking forward to our upcoming Valentine's party. Their caseworker says, "Both parents are actively working to improve their lives and giving 100%. I have no doubt that they will succeed."
The family recently appeared on camera to speak about their experiences at The Samaritan Inn to a reporter from Channel 47. This segment is scheduled to air tonight at 9pm.
Kevin and his wife and young daughter lived in Virginia. He completed five years in the Army and was preparing for the next phase of his life. Kevin's wife wanted to return to Texas, where she had family, so they made the move. Soon after arriving in Collin County, they had marital problems. Despite counseling, they divorced. Kevin's wife and daughter are now living with family, and Kevin entered The Samaritan Inn on December 31.
Kevin says that the cost of the divorce and the accompanying emotional impact is what made him homeless. He has already secured full-time employment and is saving every penny for a place of his own. He works diligently during the week, but spends every weekend with his daughter. Kevin has been seeing our counselor and attending the Dave Ramsey Financial Peace course.
"I finally have a plan," Kevin told his caseworker, "and because I am here, I can see it come to pass. I really want to take advantage of this opportunity so I can get my own place and spend more time with my daughter."
, age 40, was a heavy drug user for a decade, as was her husband. After several stints in rehab, Linda finally got clean and stayed clean, but her husband did not. When they were evicted from their apartment, she decided it was time to leave him and create a healthy life for herself, so she moved into The Samaritan Inn with few belongings and no money.
Linda completed our Career Development Program and soon after found a full-time job in McKinney with good benefits. She saved her money and started looking for an apartment. Affordable housing is hard to come by in Collin County, so Linda eventually settled in North Dallas. She commutes to McKinney each day and often stops by the Inn to visit with staff and remind them how grateful she is for their help in creating her new life!
Last Wednesday evening
I attended our residents meeting, so that I could distribute the gift cards that so many people generously donated this year. It was a privilege to be a small part of the joy that was apparent when they received their gifts. As I was leaving, a little boy cornered me and said, "Does Santa Claus know I am living here this year?"
I said, "Absolutely." Then he looked up at me and said, "He knows that me, Jacob Tompkins, is right here?" "Yes, he does," I replied.
Moral of the story: The next time you hear homeless statistics or national trends, remember that they are not just numbers, they are Jacob Tomkins waiting for Santa while living at a homeless shelter.
is 46 years old and came to The Samaritan Inn in September. He had lost his long-time job and depleted his savings by living in a hotel following an eviction. Nathan told the intake caseworker he only wanted food, and he didn't want to take the place of someone who might be in worse shape than he was. Our caseworker told him that he was qualified and we had an opening.
Nathan got a job soon after he moved in and will be ready to graduate this month. Nathan told his caseworker, "I never knew places like this existed, places where people really care about you." Nathan's caseworker says, "Nathan has been a pleasure to work with. I think our financial class was very beneficial to him. He really needed to learn how to budget!"
"People need to know," Nathan says, "that The Samaritan Inn is not just a place to sleep but a place to get your life together with programs and services that really help."