Becoming homeless in late 2019 came as a complete shock to Xiomara who with four children and with another one on the way, this one a high-risk pregnancy, it meant she couldn’t work. Her abusive partner at the time left her and so finding herself in unchartered territory, she called the Homeless Hotline.

“I spent 45 consecutive days trying to find a bed. They told me there was no space but when the police came to evict me I went straight to Camillus House on my own,” she said.

Thankfully the staff at Camillus House was able to place her and her children at Homestead Inn where they lived for six months. It was while living there that she gave birth to her fifth child. Federal CARES Act funding was instrumental in helping families in distress like Xiomara’s during a heightened time in the world due to the pandemic.

After Homestead Inn she went to Chapman Partnership for nine months. While there Xiomara started making phone calls to jumpstart her life. Unfortunately, given this was at the height of the pandemic; things were tough all around. “At Chapman Partnership, they had rules where you could only leave once a day for a maximum of two hours. There was also very little daycare and I couldn’t work due to the pandemic,” she said. Her time at Champan did still play a positive role (a testament to the continuum of services with The Homeless Trust being a model system).

Eventually, did Chapman help her find a job at McDonald’s and that’s when things started opening up. She says, “the people at Chapman were great about communicating with employers about being accommodating to their employees and they were helpful with my time at McDonald’s.” However, her salary at McDonald’s just wasn’t substantial enough to support her family, something the Camillus House case manager told her when she was preparing to transition out of Chapman Partnership.

“The case manager submitted paperwork to the State for me but also told me the road would be difficult because there was not enough evidence to prove any kind of abuse. This caused me to keep getting rejected by the State,” Xiomara said. Her case manager persisted.

Finally, in March 2021 she got approved and shortly thereafter moved into Verde Gardens with the children, where she is still currently living and thriving. There she receives help with paperwork for childcare and they also “helped me get into school and be eligible for loan forgiveness, so I could attend culinary arts school at no cost,” she said.

She is part of our Workforce Development/Rehab Vocational Program which has helped her pay for school as well as for books and uniforms. She became a full-time student at Robert Morgan Educational Center and will be graduating in early 2023.

With her eyes set on lofty goals, “Once I finish school, God willing I will move forward and buy a house,” she said and, “thanks the Lord for this opportunity”, which she knows not everyone gets. “I told my case worker that I wanted this kind of help with rent and the opportunity to get an education. They even told me that I was taking full advantage of this program and going in the right direction. It’s a great feeling to get that support and confirmation.”, says Xiomara.

She states, “Camillus House has been a lifesaver for me. However, my ultimate goal is to move to be independent. I’d like a place for me that my three girls and two boys (ages 2 -17) can be proud of.”

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