It’s hard to focus on the big picture when you are living in trauma

When Linda was referred to our Family Permanent Housing program, she was sleeping at the Salvation Army emergency overflow shelter with her 2-year-old daughter. When we first started to work with Linda she felt hopeless and scared for her daughter’s safety. Linda has severe Post Traumatic Stress Disorder so she could barely speak without stuttering and was very timid the first time we met with her. She had clearly experienced trauma and was living in constant fear and crisis.Lonely child with a suitcase and a teddy bear on road  

The love and compassion she had for her daughter was her reason to move forward in life. Even though she was experiencing homelessness and living in fear, that didn’t stop her from working a part-time job.  Linda worked through a temp agency 5 days a week. She kept her daughter in the same daycare to provide stability for her during this tough time. Linda was also looking for housing when she wasn’t traveling on the bus to work or daycare. 

The time came for her to exit the Salvation Army. She had tried to find housing and was turned down time and time again. Things that may seem normal to you and I were overwhelming and near impossible for Linda. She suffered years of abuse and trauma which made it difficult for her to hold a conversation, and filling out a housing application was a barrier for her. Speaking to landlords was no easy task either. Keeping her daughter safe and warm at night was her main concern. It’s hard to focus on the big picture when you are living in trauma.

She was unable to find anyone willing to work with her even though we were willing to pay her move in costs. She ended up going back to her abuser because sleeping on the street was not an option for her.  Choosing the lesser of two evils is a choice no one should have to make. Her abuser ended up taking her daughter and kicking her out of the home. She was devastated.

That is when I called Loretta at Garden Park Apartments. I asked Loretta if she had anything available and told her Linda’s story. She told me that she would get her into a unit right away. 

Loretta and the Garden Park apartments literally saved this family’s life. They looked past Linda’s barriers and treated her like a human being. That is not the experience she received from other landlords.

“It is hard enough to be homeless, and in fear for my life,” said Linda. “I already felt less than. To be treated like an alien when I go look for a place to live is degrading.” Loretta took her in with no questions asked. 

Within a week Linda was able to get her new home furnished by Northwest Furniture Bank.

“I feel safe for the first time in months,” said Linda. “I am getting my daughter back this weekend and we get to start our lives over.”

The look in her eyes and the change I witnessed in her over the last couple of months was a miracle in itself. She is able to speak clearly and advocate for herself. It feels like I am talking to a completely different person.

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