After cutting ties with an abusive boyfriend, 36-year old Sara (a single mom with a teenage daughter) tried to make it on her own but unfortunately, the cost of living in Collin County coupled with the debt accrued during that relationship was more than she could financially handle. Thankfully Sara’s landlord was willing to work with her so she could avoid adding an eviction to her troubles and together she and her daughter set out on a path they had never envisioned for themselves…being homeless.
Needing assistance from a homeless shelter was not where Sara thought she’d find herself at this stage of her life. She had earned both an Associates and a Bachelor’s degree and was fully employed with a good company, but after depleting all her resources and she had nowhere else to turn. Sara and her 16-year old daughter arrived on the Inn’s doorstep in early March of this year. Her bravery and persistence to do what was best for her daughter led the way. She determined to meet and complete the program requirements with drive and positivity.
Sara met with her caseworker to set goals for herself and her daughter and to lay out plans for their future. In her counseling sessions, she began to recognize not only where she needed help but also where her strengths lie.
She excelled in her soft skills and interviewing knowledge and it became quickly evident obtaining and maintaining employment were strengths for Sara, but being paid enough to live in the area would be an area to work on. Although she did not need any further educational opportunities, Sara was able to receive assistance with getting her certification updated and successfully obtained a promotion at work. She learned strategies to reduce her debt and tips to budget wisely so as to avoid overwhelming debt happening in her future. During her stay at the shelter, she was able to pay off over $3000 in debt while at the same time, saving an equal amount in order to qualify for the Inn’s Gateway Apartment program.
In working on herself Sara was able to fully support her teenage daughter, allowing her daughter to excel while at The Inn as well. Together, and with the support of key staff members, they worked through the emotional experience of a fellow student’s suicide; and as the school year came to a close, her daughter was selected to join an elite cheer squad and finished up the year with a 3.5 GPA.
In July Sara and her daughter moved into their own apartment – a mere four months after entering the shelter. They hope this will be their final stepping-stone on the pathway out of homelessness. Sara plans to continue saving money for a down payment on a house and to continue working on herself mentally and emotionally. Her daughter is ecstatic about having her own room as she begins her senior year and is equally excited to be applying to her top pick college, The University of North Texas.
With the support of The Samaritan Inn, and by building their own support network from within the community, there is no doubt of this family’s future success.
Overall, Sara’s drive and effort, supported by the right resources and key information, is our wish for every resident at the Inn. Four key instruments for change are needed to help others rise out of poverty: education, employment, a building of relationships with those different from themselves, and a future story. With the power of the Inn’s four pillars as instruments for change, each resident path is set to achieve success and reset the trajectory of their lives.