Patricia put her adult daughter’s needs ahead of her own and found herself homeless on March 17, 2017, her 69th birthday.
Many years earlier, Patricia left her home in Georgia where she had a small business to move across the country to help care for her mentally ill daughter and her newborn grandson. Patricia supported the three of them by working two jobs for many years.
When her grandson turned 12, he moved to Texas to be with his dad, who was newly able to care for him. However, Patricia continued to care for her daughter, earning income as an Uber driver. In January 2017, Patricia suffered a traumatic knee injury. Between being unable to continue her daily driving and manage mounting hospital bills, she and her daughter faced becoming homeless. In a gesture of kindness, her former employer offered a room in a building he owned. But, he said, it was only big enough for one person. Patricia didn’t give it a second thought.
“I couldn’t bear the thought of my sick daughter being out on the streets. I insisted she take the room. I could find a way to survive but, because of my daughter’s mental illness, I knew she would face a more dire fate.”
“I would park in the rest areas at night. I took showers at a gym and had all my belongings in storage,” Patricia said. “After clearing out my car each morning, I worked as an Uber driver to make money. I was still healing from knee surgery…The nights were very cold and I never felt safe. It was the hardest thing I have been through.”
Patricia found her way to Samaritan House’s Safe Harbor Homeless Shelter in August 2017. Her Case Manager, Melissa, made sure Patricia received some nice clothes, so that she could go on interviews for jobs that wouldn’t require her to drive. Within one month, she found full-time work in the office of a nearby storage facility.
Melissa also helped Patricia get back on her feet emotionally by encouraging her to meditate and participate in the shelter’s weekly yoga class. “It’s hard to find positive things when you’re experiencing homelessness. Without that sense of hope, perhaps I would have given up.”
“I have a warm bed, a good job and my new landlord is like family to me. For the first time in decades, thanks to Samaritan House, I can breathe again.”
With the help of Samaritan House and its comprehensive services, Patricia finally found a place of her own. Her new residence is only 15 minutes from work and Patricia has hope for the future.