Wednesday, February 1, 2017

Homeless for the First Time | Here’s How Your Gifts Changed Joanna’s Life

Alone. Afraid. Abandoned. Joanna never expected to be living on the streets, homeless, with her young daughter.

How does it feel to try and fit your entire life in a few grocery bags? Joanna can tell you:

“It feels awful to be homeless, trying to carry everything you can around with you.”

Nearly a year ago, she and her daughter were evicted from their apartment. They left with only the items they could carry.

Joanna and her daughter ended up sleeping in a park.

“I didn’t shut my eyes the entire night,” she remembers. “I was too scared.”

During that time, Joanna also discovered a large lump in her throat — and knew she needed immediate medical attention.

It was by the grace of God that Joanna heard about our Family Housing Program in Los Angeles. She arrived a few hours later.

“As soon as we walked in, I felt peaceful,” Joanna remembers. “Like everything was going to be ok.”

Staff at our Family Housing Program sprang into action. Joanna needed immediate medical attention. Her case manager took her to get a biopsy on the lump in her throat — and it turned out to be a tumor.

“I didn’t have insurance,” she says. “But St. Vincent made sure I was taken care of.”

Joanna’s daughter needed attention too. She was enrolled in school so she wouldn’t fall behind in her studies. And another Social Service agency provided counseling and childcare for her daughter while Joanna was hospitalized for her tumor removal.

“It was a comfort,” Joanna says, smiling. “To know my daughter was being taken care of meant I could focus on recovering.”

Joanna’s next step was finding a home. With our guidance, she began saving money and working to find secure and affordable housing.

It was truly a joyous day when Joanna moved into an apartment of very own with her daughter!

Today, Joanna can smile again.

“St. Vincent de Paul completely turned my life around,” she says. “I can’t even begin to thank them for how they’ve helped.”


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