I became homeless after fleeing an abusive and alcoholic family living situation. A lot of the prejudice and violence occurred because my family couldn’t understand — or accept– that I am a transgender woman.

After leaving, I lived with different friends, sleeping on their couches for over a year until all those connections got burned out. I found myself alone in the world, with no money and no one to turn to. I had a deep understanding that I needed to learn to survive on the streets. I called 211 and they told me to go downtown to a referral center and that’s where I literally ran into Sandra, a former staff person from Elizabeth Gregory Home. She saw that I was bewildered and needed help, and told me that the best place for me to rebuild my self-esteem and feel safe was Elizabeth Gregory Home’s Day Center.

The staff at Elizabeth Gregory Home (EGH) made me feel welcome and asked what I needed. I felt a connection, and for the first time a sense that I wasn’t alone. In addition to meals, I was offered essentials such as a blanket and hygiene supplies. To me, EGH was a place of refuge and sanctuary.  It was a place where I could feel safe in order to rebuild and recuperate.

After coming to EGH for two years, I applied for and was accepted into the Transitional House. Now I have new friends and work, which I found only through the help of EGH. I have regained my confidence as well as a feeling of hope that I thought was lost for good.

After years of wandering, I now have a sense of direction. I have this great sense of gratitude and appreciation for not only the value and potential in my life, but for all women who are in a similar situation as me.

Looking back, I can see how true that the saying, “What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger” is!  Though it has been a challenge, I feel that I have overcome a tremendous struggle and am very optimistic.

My dream is to be a small business owner, perhaps an entrepreneur. I would love to sell my own line of natural beauty products. I also want to travel the world and give back to my community along the way. I would love to go to the Galapagos Islands, to see the Great Wall of China, and the pyramids. You name it, I want to go there! I have big dreams again, thanks to EGH.

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