Homeless Mothers Who Turned Their Lives Around
Being homeless is hard but it’s even more so for single mothers. They not only have to look out for themselves but for their little ones too. With no husband or relatives to turn to, homeless single mothers often have to brave insurmountable odds alone.
According to studies, 60% of homeless families in the US are headed by single mothers. Though unfortunate, this data isn’t surprising. Single-parent families are among the poorest households in the country with more than a third living below the poverty line.
This statistic is also due to the fact that most women who find themselves in this situation are lacking higher education degrees and certifications. With dismal employment prospects, getting their own place in a very competitive real estate market can be difficult.
With these challenges, what are the chances of a single mother getting out of homelessness? As it turns out, it can be done. And these homeless single mothers’ inspiring tales are a testament to that.
In the space of four years, Jennifer Deuel went from being a homeless single mother to being a homeowner.
Trapped in an abusive relationship for eight years, Deuel decided she finally had enough. With her two-year-old special needs son in tow, she left her husband while pregnant with her second son. She had nothing except the clothes on her back, a stroller and a garbage bag full of her children’s clothes.
Deuel ended up at the House of Mercy, a local shelter for women run by the YWCA. Most women in her predicament would have lost hope but Deuel was determined.
She began taking classes to further her education – she hopes to become a nurse one day. She also works full time as a certified nursing assistant. Aside from her work and studies, Deuel also sees to it that she spends enough time with her kids.
According to Deuel, her kids saved her from going into a spiral descent. If not for them, she would have become a drug addict or worse.
With the help of NGOs and the local government, Deuel was able to get a low-cost apartment. But it did not stop there. When she saved up enough for the down payment, Deuel brought her own house. She said that, for the first time in her life, she finally has something she can call hers.
Despite praises for her determination and courage to turn her life around, Deuel believes she did nothing special. She says she was just trying to take care of her kids and do something with her life.
“Even if life beats you down, you can’t afford to give up. If you want it to happen bad enough, you will make it happen.”, she added.
She lost her mother at an early age and a few years later, her father was sent to prison. In 10th grade, Hurricane Katrina flooded her hometown and washed away the hopes of a better future. At 16, she was living in a house full of drug-addicted relatives. To make matters worse, she became pregnant and the father of her child abandoned her.
It seems like happiness is always out of grasp for Creionna, a teenage single mother from New Orleans. Not only was she abandoned, her father and relatives also forced her to abort her child. Defying everyone around her, she chose to keep the child.
After giving birth alone in an emergency C-section, Creionna decided never to set foot in that house again. Bundling up her six-week-old son and carrying nothing but a well-stocked diaper bag, she waited for a bus outside a Walmart parking lot.
Out of the blue, an elderly couple approached and asked her what’s wrong. Mustering up her courage, she asked them to take her to a local shelter she heard about while at school.
Creionna admitted that she never imagined herself living in a homeless shelter. But her circumstances left her with no choice. Raising her son in a shelter is much better than raising him in a house full of drug addicts. (Related: How Important Are Moral Values in Children?)
At the shelter, Creionna worked hard to improve her situation. She found a job and started attending money management and parenting classes. She also went back to high school and finished the two classes she needed to graduate.
It wasn’t an easy journey. Her days typically start at 5:45 in the morning and end between 7:00 to 8:00 at night. She has to take seven bus or streetcar rides, pick up her son at the daycare center, cook dinner and do her homework.
After two years, her hard work paid off. She got promoted in her job which allowed her to take university courses for free. It also afforded her a small apartment where they now live. The future is finally starting to look bright.
Second chance – these two words sum up Jennie Galindo’s life. Sexually abused at a young age, she turned to drugs and partying to cope. As a result, she struggled with meth addiction for 20 years.
Her drug addiction also took a toll on her personal life. She went through a string of abusive relationships from which she bore four sons.
With no stable relationships, Jennie and her sons moved around the country for years. They even lived in Mexico for a time. She worked in low-wage jobs and committed minor crimes such as forgery and petty theft. She was also very familiar with homelessness as most of the time, they either slept in their car or in a shelter.
It all changed on a cold winter night in December 2015. Jennie said she became tired of living that kind of lifestyle. More importantly, she didn’t want to put her kids through it anymore. She wanted out.
Leaving behind an abusive partner, Jennie and her sons traveled to California from Las Vegas. There they sought shelter at a local CareCenter. She was also able to get a job in telemarketing.
The NGO also helped her find a cheap two-bedroom apartment and even assisted with moving-in costs. She also started going to church and attended group therapy sessions.
In addition to her part-time jobs, Jennie also serves as an overnight logistics coordinator at the local CareCenter that helped them. She does not consider it as a job though but a labor of love. It’s her way of expressing her gratitude for all the help she and her family had received when they most needed it. (Related: 14 Great Quotes About Giving Back and Helping Others)
If there’s one thing these stories of struggles and triumph tells us, it’s that everyone has their own battles to fight. These people did not choose to be homeless. They’re just victims of poor choices and circumstances beyond their control. Instead of condemnation, let us practice compassion. Rather than turning them away, let us help them get back on their feet. Together, we can make this world a better place to live.