“It was my time to heal, regroup and come up with a game plan for my future.” Sandra
By Sandra Katowitz
Four years ago, I found myself in a position I thought I would never be in. I was on the streets of Seattle with no place to go. The stigma, the shame and the fear of being homeless hit me. The desire to stay stuck in a state of despair was overwhelming, but I had to get help. At the very least I needed to find a safe place to sleep. I found a spot in a WHEEL (Women’s Housing, Equality and Enhancement League) shelter that was located in the basement of University Lutheran Church.
I soon discovered that it was almost impossible to do anything quickly when I was homeless. Something as simple as doing a load of laundry can turn into an all-day affair. Every day I hurried to stand in line for a shower, food, laundry or other services.
Eventually, I discovered Elizabeth Gregory Home’s (EGH) drop-in Day Center, which is located in another part of University Lutheran Church. I found that I could come to EGH and access things that I had been running all over downtown to do. It didn’t take hours to get food, do my laundry, and get answers to questions about housing and benefits. EGH had people that helped me. They had computers I could use. I could get breakfast and lunch and get some groceries to take with me.
I started helping out around EGH: unloading and stocking the food, taking out the garbage or whatever needed to be done. The next thing I knew I was asked to interview for an opening in the EGH Transitional Housing Program. Although at first skeptical, I jumped on the opportunity when offered the room. When I got to the house, there was a gift basket with all the household stuff I needed to start over again. I even got to pick out my own handmade quilt. I was blown away!
I can’t tell you why I was picked for that spot in the EGH house and given the opportunity to get my life back. But I can tell you that I was, and am, incredibly grateful.
Part two of Sandra’s story to come…