Face to Face has been working with Chris for the past nine months. When he first started coming to SafeZone he was living with his ex girlfriend’s family, which was not stable or safe. He was working but all his money was going into the home so he was unable to save for his own apartment. His goals included getting rental assistance and getting his own place. Chris and his case manager Marlon started to search for an affordable apartment that he could move into. However, when his ex-girlfriend found out that he was trying to move she attacked and stabbed him several times. He was found barely alive in the middle of the street. Chris has no family in Minnesota and did not know where his mother was.
Marlon’s business card was found in Chris’s personal belongings so he was called to the hospital. He was able to go to the duplex to pick up the Chris’s belonging and advise the family that there was a no contact order on not just the ex girlfriend but the entire family. This was an important step taken by Marlon to ensure that the court included the family so that they would not be able to pressure him into not pressing charges. Chris was released from the hospital only seven days after the stabbing. He had no where to go. Marlon once again stepped in. He was able to put him up in a hotel until a shelter bed opened up. With the help of the Director he was able to secure a bed at Hope Street, where they were willing to make special accommodations for him to stay during the day so he had a chance to heal. Finally, Marlon went to Chris’s job and spoke to his employer who was willing to hold his job. Once the client was able to work he went back. His mother’s friend decided to let him move in on a permanent bases and he will be starting school in January.
Chris is first and foremost alive, and has a second chance at life. SafeZone was there for him when he had no one else, advocating and pushing for him to get better.
Mia was 18 years old when she came to Face to Face. She lived with her aunt, sister, multiple cousins, and all their children in a soon-to-be-condemned house, with as many as 30 people staying there at a time. Mia was a child of the foster care system, and, while she had some extended family, her only stable immediate family support was an older sister. No one had ever taught her how to do basic living skills, such as find housing, interview for a job, budget her money, or practice safe sex. She had never held a job, didn't have education or stable housing. She had an infant son she was trying to raise by herself, and suffered from health issues and low self-worth. Mia needed help.
Mia began to come to SafeZone and soon enrolled in case management. She began to learn how to plan and organize her life in a more productive way. SafeZone taught Mia how to make a budget, so she could begin to seek affordable housing. SafeZone taught her to make a resume, and soon she had her first job. And, as Mia learned to do these things, she gradually changed, becoming a more confident, assertive person. Having her own apartment and a job gave her pride. Raising her son taught her responsibility. Her older sister moved in with her for a while, but when she sat around, refusing to get a job or contribute to the household, Mia stood her ground and put her out, refusing to be taken advantage of.
Not that there haven’t been bumps in the road. Mia lost that first job quickly, initially unprepared for the experience. She had to leave her first apartment because the landlord did not keep the building up to code. But Mia learned from these experiences. She was able to effectively find new housing, without having to become homeless in the meantime, through wise planning and hard work. Mia has been continuously housed for a year and a half now, self-sufficiently. She is now enrolled in a job training program through Goodwill Easter Seals which will not only pay her wages, but will help prepare her for work. Mia graduated from high school this spring, an accomplishment she takes real pride in. Her son is healthy and happy. Mia is now planning her college education, and is leaning toward pursuing a nursing degree. But for now, she spends about 15 hours a week volunteering at SafeZone. Partly, she does this out of a desire to help others that she sees in a similar situation to the one she came from. Partly it is from a sense of gratitude. But mostly, she does this work because SafeZone has become a place where she feels like she belongs, where she knows she is valued and respected, where she can celebrate her accomplishments and receive support with her struggles.
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