I never imagined I would ever end up homeless. I worked for twenty years for the City of Seattle in the Human Services Department. As a divorced single parent, I raised five children – three daughters and two younger brothers. All five children grew up and now live productive lives, including one daughter who has blessed me with a grandson!
In 2006 I was injured on the job, which led to a long series of challenges. I was in constant pain and couldn’t work which led to not being able to pay the rent on my apartment. Thankfully, my aunt invited me to live in her house. What I intended to be a two-month stay to get back on my feet turned into ten years! Over those years, I was caught up in a series of health issues. Surgery on my back was unsuccessful and I still live with pain. In 2014, I was diagnosed with breast cancer. After months of treatment, however, I am now cancer free. The final malady was in June 2017 when my seasonal allergies caused chronic nosebleeds. My doctor recommended surgery, which ended up damaging my vocal cords.
In October of 2017, my cousin told me that the family home was being sold and I needed to move out. My children were in no position to help. I had no one to turn to. The only thing left was my car, which became my full-time home. My physical health crumbled further. I developed irritable bowel syndrome, a bleeding ulcer, and high blood pressure. I was tired and ready to say goodbye to the world.
I knew nothing about homelessness from this side, only from the other side at my job at the Department of Human Services. I mustered the energy one day to call 211 for help. One of those referrals led me to Elizabeth Gregory Home. When I went inside, one of the staff met me right where I was. Karen was the light – the candle – that shined.
Right off the bat, I began to see that people who are homeless are part of my world, they’re part of me. We are all someone’s grandmother, son, daughter, mother, or sister. I now feel compassion and connection.
I’ve just been offered a spot to live in Elizabeth Gregory Home’s transitional house! Thanks to this opportunity, I’ll be able to heal and get back to good health. And although I may not be able to work, I can write! That’s my dream and passion: to become the great writer that I am.
God is my rock, but EGH has been my anchor in the storm. I will be tied to them for the rest of my life. I am grateful for everyone’s support of this life-saving organization.