You never expect these calls. You can only be prepared to help. So when a young homeless woman rode on her bike through a storm to ask a local church for aid, they answered her call. They welcomed her and provided a hot meal, but weren’t sure where to go from there. When the church called me in July of 2017, our organization was ready to help.
While it was easy for her to get employment, her Asperger’s made it hard to maintain a job. Since she couldn’t contribute to her family’s household expenses, she was told to leave. Just like that, she was on her own. After running out of money from her last job, she left the hotel she had moved to with nothing but a backpack and a bike. She was alone and scared, not sure where or who to turn to.
Before reaching the Upstate Family Resource Center, there was no advocate to work on her behalf, no one to apply for the usual supports for an individual with her challenges. She had no connection to services or financial resources (such as disability) to help her maintain a semi-independent lifestyle.
So, this young woman joined us on a two year journey to find housing and supports that would help her stabilize and live a productive life. For 14 months she shuffled between hotel stays and homeless shelters before we were finally able to find her a home with the help of the SC Autism Society and the Charles Lean Center.
Next step was to help her find an attorney to file for disability, which was denied the first time around. As of September 17, 2019 I am happy to say that she has been awarded disability to help her live the productive life she’s been fighting for.
This is just one story. Recently, in a matter of a few days, we were introduced to eight families who were homeless. Some are facing eminent eviction, some sleeping in cars, some living with others until they could make it on their own. Homelessness is complicated. It isn’t something that happens in another part of the county or state. It takes time to unravel the tangle of circumstances and consequences surrounding the issues that bring families to this place. The systems that our society has in place do not make it easy to recover. There is no quick fix, but with time and resources families can overcome.
We do our best to provide the homeless with resources, but we can’t do it alone. If you could help us provide assistance, you can aid in our efforts to get families back onto the path of self-sufficiency.
You can help families here. You can do it today.