I moved to the Pacific Northwest from Cleveland, Ohio, to be near my sister and for my children’s education. Five years ago, I gave up my apartment when I lost my job and rented a room from a friend. When that didn’t work out, I tried to rent an apartment again, only to find out that someone for whom I had co-signed on a car loan had filed for bankruptcy. Even though I was now working as a Sales Manager with ample income, the loan had fallen on my shoulders. Not only would no one rent to me, I was fired because my company found out I was homeless.
I heard about Jean’s Place through a client of mine, and had an intake appointment with Dora. She gave me the first glimmer of hope, and helped me get on the wait-list. I felt like she really cared about me, and the resources available through Transition Projects opened my eyes to so much. I really believe Transition Projects and Jean’s Place saved my life. Their help afforded me the time to go to meetings, go to counseling, and do the self-care necessary for me to return to work and get housing.
I have now taken Transition Projects’ Rent Well, Peer Mentor Specialist, and Peer Health Navigator classes. By volunteering at the Willamette Center, the Resource Center, and Jean’s Place, I realized that there was a place for me after all. I went from Jean’s Place to the permanent housing I am in today. I started working as a Residential Adviser at SAFES (Salvation Army Female Emergency Shelter) in November of 2017, promoted to Administrative Assistant in February of 2018, and am currently the Safe Harbor Program Manager of 34 SRO Units (Single Room Occupancy). In my current position, I have the opportunity to give to others what was freely given to me. I can only hope that as I continue on my journey, I can be as inspiring to others as Dora, DeWanna, and the Transition Projects family have been to me.
My experience with homelessness, and the support I received through Transition Projects, was pivotal to my changing career paths. I look forward to taking drug and mental health counselor training, and continuing to work with Transition Projects. I love being a part of something that makes a difference in people’s lives.