My homeless path started in Indiana. I worked for Amazon in Indianapolis and had to leave my job and home after having my head bashed into a window frame by the abuser I was living with. I landed in the hospital, and they gave me a ticket to go to Chicago. I went to a hotel for a couple days but still felt dizzy, like there was water sloshing around in my head. I went back to a Chicago hospital and had a CAT scan that came back positive for a concussion.
Once discharged, I went to a women’s shelter for four weeks. The perpetrator/abuser from Indianapolis showed up, and they let him in the door because he is a religious person and a person of power. I was able to escape again, though, and came to Seattle because I used to live here. I knew the climate of the people, activism, and the humanitarian outlook.
In Seattle, I found a shelter for women only called Hammond House, and several women told me to go to Elizabeth Gregory Home because it wasn’t like the other day shelters. I keep coming back because the staff is great and it’s obvious they care about what they’re doing. They go above and beyond to treat their clients as equals and to treat them as worthwhile human beings. They don’t judge those who are drug addicts and they are all-inclusive. They also connect you with other agencies for services that EGH doesn’t provide.
The first staff person I met who directly helped me was Ms. Val. She invited me to come in every Wednesday to volunteer in the kitchen. I rearranged the pantry a few weeks ago, and I help vacuum.
I feel like I’m learning the other side of the coin. I’ve worked in social services and coursework I’ve taken in the past was in social services, but I’ve learned so much more since I’ve been “in it”. Experiencing homelessness makes me aware of challenges I never dreamed of before, such as thinking about how am I going to get across town to a job, or to shower, do laundry or to get to a night shelter when I don’t have bus fare. The normal things people take for granted every day are simply not there. I rely on EGH to help me meet all of my basic needs in one place: Food, clothing, showers, computer access, and bus tickets. I’ve also used EGH’s dental and medical assistance. They have a mobile dental van that comes every three months and nurses that come every other week.
The folks at Elizabeth Gregory Home offer a way to get up and move out. The stability that they work so hard to maintain is what does that. The stable environment. If there is a situation such as a conflict that needs to be addressed, it actually gets addressed immediately, which doesn’t happen at other shelters.
My hope and dream is to finish my bachelor’s degree in psychology and start my own transitional home for people with learning disabilities. I want to continue to be an activist for social justice, particularly in the area of racism and its effect on other social problems.