Ms. J's Story
Ms. J is a 40-year old black female. She was shy, frightened, and drained both physically and emotionally after arriving at the YWCA Sojourner’s Shelter. Ms. J had become homeless due to a lack of income as a direct result of domestic violence in another state. She fled the state and entered Sojourner’s Shelter since she knew she was not in imminent danger.
The Shelter Assistants eased her fears and pre-conceived ideas of a “shelter” while making her feel comfortable and welcome. They started her initial intake process into the shelter. Ms. J completed her initial intake with her assigned Case Manager. Together, they developed a Service Plan which would provide her with the tools and skills needed to reclaim her life and guide her toward self-sufficiency. She decided she wanted to find a job and a home of her own. She began to apply for housing while attending the YWCA Education/Job Readiness Center. She continued to have weekly meetings with her Case Manager and Counselor.
During her registration at the Readiness Center, Ms. J disclosed that she had a GED and was a certified phlebotomist, but she had not worked in at least six months. She signed up to take classes such as upgrading her basic skills, budgeting, computer classes, self-esteem building, and Career Development Classes. The Career Development Classes help sharpen employability skills, resumes, and improve marketing skills through mock interviews. After numerous applications, interviews, and consistent encouragement, Ms. J obtained employment at a plasma center where her rate of pay was well above minimum wage. The Readiness Center assisted her in getting the scrubs she needed for work and provided bus fare to and from work for a period of time.
Her next goal was to save money so she could afford her own place. After many long weeks of saving and searching, she still did not have enough money for rent and deposit. Ms. J’s Case Manager referred her to a Rapid Re-housing program with one of the YWCA’s partnering agencies which would assist her with either the deposit or rent. Within three months, she had enough money to move into her new home. The Case Manager provided referrals and vouchers for household items, furniture, and food pantries in the area.
Ms. J continues to work and stay in touch with the staff who provided a “hand up” rather than a “hand out” and thanks the YWCA Sojourner’s for being there when she needed help the most.