At 23 years old, Melissa found herself homeless with her three children under the age of 5. With no transportation, no job and without a strong support system, she was alone and on her own. The children’s father plays no active role in their upbringing, nor does he pay child support. For several years, Melissa and her children have been bouncing between friends’ houses, sleeping on floors. Melissa knew she had to step up and make some changes in her life for the sake of her children. She called Home of the Sparrow and entered into the program four months ago.
With the support and advocacy from the HOS staff, her life has already made dramatic changes. Melissa now has a full time job in retail where she is doing very well and the business is happy to have her as an employee. Staff connected Melissa with 4 C’s Childcare, which provides childcare while Melissa goes to work. Her transportation problem has been resolved by using the PACE bus to get to and from her work. Melissa thinks the biggest misconception the public has about homelessness is that people do not have a job because they are lazy, when really finding a job or going to school is much harder for a single mother. “You can’t exactly take kids into an interview,” she said.
When asked how she feels about living at Home of the Sparrow, Melissa states confidently, “I feel like I’m at home. After moving here, it was the first time we had beds in a long time. I remember when I saw my room, I had tears in my eyes that I had a bed and all my kids had their own beds.”
Melissa has a gift with food and hopes to run her own restaurant one day. “I love to cook for others, and I want them to enjoy the things I create,” Melissa says. “I really want a place of my own, and to be able to send my children to college.”
As fate would have it, Melissa’s grandmother was a big supporter of Home of the Sparrow. “She used to donate money when she was alive,” Melissa said. Maybe good things in life are full circle, and they just have a way of coming around again.