The gift of hope: Wanda’s story
We are thankful for many things as this year’s holiday season approaches. Home, health, and the love of family are at the top of many gratitude lists.
Wanda treasures these gifts too, but for her, the greatest blessing is hope, a hope reborn almost two years ago after heartbreaking losses and six terrifying months of homelessness.
Her hope is a gift given by people like you who support the DRC and its services, proven programs that offer more than a hand up. Together we can offer a solution to homelessness—permanent housing, not just emergency shelter—a solution that works better for families like Wanda’s and our community as a whole.
You’d want nothing less for someone like Wanda, a woman more at home on the college campus where she is now a full-time student than in a homeless shelter.
While some who find themselves homeless struggle with challenges like mental illness or substance abuse, many are like Wanda—different from you and me in only one heartbreaking way: they have lost part of the social fabric of lives, often their anchor.
For some, it’s a job, or a husband or wife. For Wanda, it was her mother.
Through the years, years in which Wanda was a self-sufficient, mother of a happy little boy, her mother was her anchor, her sounding board and safe harbor in times of trouble or uncertainty.
Then her mother died. Wanda’s grief was overwhelming, and her loss was made worse by a relationship that spiraled into violence. She and her son fled, and with nowhere to turn, became homeless.
At one point, they turned to a local homelessness shelter, but Wanda was told her son was too old to stay with her in the women’s section. Instead, the 11-year-old boy would have to sleep in the men’s dormitory. Horrified and desperate to stay together, Wanda and her son walked away.
Luckily, that is when Wanda met the first of three DRC team members she call angels today.
“They swooped me up and took me in their arms,” she said.
Working together, members of our team offered Wanda an array of DRC solutions that follow a three-step process we’ve proven to be a solution for homelessness. It’s simple: the DRC prepares, places and supports people experiencing homelessness in permanent housing—not just overnight shelter—linked with the help people like Wanda need to emerge from homelessness with new strength.
Soon Wanda had an apartment and help to get back on her feet. She found a home—and so much more. Wanda found a friend, a new sounding board and anchor in her case manager. It wasn’t long after that her hope was reborn.
“I wanted more,” she said. “I have a lot of skills and work experience, but I wanted more than a regular job. I wanted to go for a career, to be a better role model for my son, and not stay stuck.”
Today, she is a straight-A student halfway through a four-year degree in the same field her son dreams of entering.
Wanda couldn’t have done it without the help of people like you, people who make DRC solutions possible. Renew your support of DRC solutions that put housing first to end homelessness for people like Wanda and her son. Together, we’ll prove homelessness is not a manageable problem. It’s a solveable problem.