Army Veteran Fights for Hope
Desiree is an Army veteran and a single mom of four. She had full-time employment and advanced in her company from Assistant Manager to Retail Manager. However, after a year in the new position, she lost her job due to issues with the corporate office. Eventually, Desiree couldn't pay her rent, and in the summer of 2019, she and her four children were evicted. Not long after, she was offered a position with the same company in Miami, and she relocated, having made arrangements to stay temporarily with family members while she settled into her new job and area.
Adding five people to a small house created a very stressful and unhealthy situation, and when Desiree's family turned her away, she used her savings on a motel waiting to start her job. Two weeks later, her financial resources were exhausted, and her family spent their first night ever sleeping in a car. Now homeless and destitute, she had no choice but to return to New York.
Desiree got connected to services at The Salvation Army and was a prime candidate for the Pathway of Hope program. When the program director, Cheryl, reached out, she found Desiree waiting with her four children at the bus stop to return to our shelter. Cheryl happened to be in the area, and she offered to transport the family back to the shelter.
Desiree's vehicle was still parked at a local motel she had been placed in until shelter space opened up. It was still full of most of the family's clothing since she had been unable to carry her belongings on public transportation. Cheryl took the family to gather their personal belongings from their vehicle on their way back to the shelter.
Cheryl worked diligently to help Desiree reach her two primary goals: employment and housing. During her first job interview, we supervised Desiree's active 4-year old daughter while she completed her initial half-hour phone interview, and then transported and supervised her daughter during the face-to-face interview. The Salvation Army's Pathway of Hope program supplemented her phone bill during the job's on-boarding process, accepting calls from the employer as it was turned off for non-payment.
Desiree's job started in December 2019. She managed to work full-time, taking public transportation while residing in the shelter. The Salvation Army's Pathway of Hope program supported her housing search efforts during this busy time. For instance, Cheryl spoke with the property manager several times while Desiree was unable to access the phone during her full-time training schedule. This family successfully moved into her apartment on January 17th, 2020.
For over a week after moving into the apartment, and not atypical of families moving out of a shelter, Desiree and her children had no stove, hot plate, or even a microwave. The family was living on cold cuts/sandwiches! Cheryl helped by purchasing a slow-cooker for her and transported her to pick up some donated household items. Cheryl also provided the family two beds, with comforters and pillows from another local nonprofit that builds beds for those in need. She provided various donated items, including children's clothing and household items. Desiree recently used her earned income to purchase a couch and additional beds for herself and her oldest son, and she is getting "back on her feet" day-by-day.
This family is just one excellent example of the vast difference that The Salvation Army's Pathway of Hope has in the lives of families. Desiree is extremely grateful for the help she received at The Salvation Army's Family Shelter and Pathway of Hope. She is eager to "give back," and recently had the opportunity to do so: Desiree spoke on the phone with another Pathway of Hope client, a young mom, and provided some sound advice on overcoming obstacles, self-sufficiency and parenting.
The Salvation Army's Pathway of Hope
If you're a family receiving public assistance that feels stuck in your situation and is ready to take steps to pull yourself out, consider The Salvation Army's Pathway of Hope program. The Salvation Army's Pathway of Hope initiative provides personal coaching services and referrals to families with children who desire to take action to break the cycle of crisis and vulnerability that repeats generation after generation. It seeks to address the root causes of poverty in addition to The Army's history of compassionate serving. By helping families overcome challenges like unemployment, unstable housing, and lack of education, we are leading families down a path toward increased stability and, ultimately, self-sufficiency.