I grew up in Maine and couldn’t wait to move to a warmer climate. After my boyfriend heard about a lead for construction work in Las Vegas, we packed up the car and drove out west. He took a construction job and I started waitressing.

Then my boyfriend got injured at work. He began drinking heavily and taking opioids every day to deal with the pain. Eventually, he started to become violent with me. I remembered what my mom told me when I was younger: “If a man hits you once, he’ll keep hitting you. Just leave, because it will only get worse.” I knew I needed to get out of that situation. I had also gotten mixed up with drugs in Vegas and wanted to get clean.

I decided to reach out to my best friend for advice. She said, “If you want to get your life together, come stay with us,” so I caught a ride to Seattle. I was only able to stay for a few weeks with my friend and her partner, so I had to find a bed at a local women’s shelter.

That’s when I started going to EGH. It was helpful to have a place to go to get out of the weather during the day. Everyone there was welcoming and caring. At other day shelters, I felt like I had to rest with one eye open or my few belongings might be stolen; at EGH, I felt safe and could relax. The staff at EGH knew I was trying to stay clean and keep away from people who were bad for my recovery. They gave me a safe and sane place to stay where I could begin to heal.

I’m now off drugs, and my life has changed. I feel like I can walk down the street without people looking at me like I’m “less-than” because I’m homeless.  I have a lot of hopes and dreams. One of those dreams is to someday have my own place where I can breed dogs.

Being homeless is the hardest thing I have ever been through, and I’ve been through a lot. But places like EGH make it much easier to cope. I am so grateful for the help they have given me and the care the staff has shown me. I just got a Section 8 housing voucher and hope to soon find a place in Seattle that I can call home.

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