About three years ago I lost my job due to the recession. Suddenly I was collecting unemployment and looking for a new job and no one was hiring. I always did pretty well by sustaining a stable home for myself and my son. Collecting unemployment and not working was something I was not used to. And to make matters worse, I got a letter from the State of Washington that due to budget cuts our unemployment benefits would be cut. With no job and no benefits, I lost everything – my home, car, I mean everything.
I was searching not only for a job, but I was applying everywhere to different shelters. I was fortunate to meet a woman who told me about Vision House, so I applied and got on their waiting list. Still, there were no openings anywhere.
We moved to a small room that was the size of a closet, which was the only thing I could afford. And then the rent went up for that little room and I had no money to pay it. At that point we became homeless. There was an abandoned house nearby, so we lived on the back porch. I would stay up at night in the cold, watching over my son to keep him safe.
Feelings of despair washed over me and the spirit of heaviness was just overwhelming. I felt like I had failed my son. I knew it was hard on him. Sleeping outside on a cold porch was not something he was used to. My happy-go-lucky son was quiet and withdrawn. Never had I imagined that we would be in this position – I had worked my whole life. Being homeless took a lot from me. My self confidence was gone. I felt ashamed.
And then I got a phone call that changed everything….changed my situation….changed my life overnight. It was a call from Vision House. They had accepted us into their program!
I thought we would be staying in just a room, but when my son and I saw where we would be living, I nearly fainted. It was like walking into a palace. Wow, from a porch to a palace! It was a beautiful fully furnished apartment and we both had our own bedrooms. When my son saw his room he hugged the bed, and we both cried tears of joy. It was nothing I had ever imagined it to be. It just felt like home.
Since being at Vision House nothing but good things have happened to us. During our moves we had lost most of our belongings and my son had grown so much he only had a few articles of clothing that fit him. Vision House stepped in and bought him new clothes.
School was starting and Vision House threw a Back to School bash for all the families and gave each child a backpack full of school supplies. And Michelle, who is the Vision House Child Advocate, worked with the school to get my son’s PE uniform for free. They’re also holding a Harvest Party and at the end of the month they’re starting a new Women’s Bible Study, which is optional for the moms to attend. Vision House also has a resident store that has shampoo, toothpaste, clothes, etc. where we get to shop for free!
We have house meetings once a month for the families on how we’re doing and sometimes we have guest speakers. For example, Jessica a Financial Advisor from Key Bank, talked with us about financial issues and she motivated me to pay off 3 debts! Yes 3! It’s an awesome feeling. At our monthly meetings, volunteers cook dinner for the moms and kids. They’re just as wonderful as the Vision House staff. Once a week we meet with our case manager. I always look forward to it because it opens up avenues to different ideas of how we can better ourselves and it encourages me to talk to someone who wants nothing but the best for me.
I sometimes feel like I’m on the football playing field for the Seahawks, and behind me is Vision House rooting me on saying ” Come on you can do this!”
I will always be grateful for the love and support I get from everyone at Vision House and their commitment to making sure that every child has a home. In my time of trouble they have rescued me and my son. And now I can accomplish the things I need to do to find a full time job and get another start in life.
You know all the gifts that I have received from Vision House are so wonderful, but the greatest gift of all is that I have strengthened my relationship with my Heavenly Father. You know in the Bible the scriptures say that when the people asked Jesus what was the greatest commandments Jesus said “To love God with your whole heart” and the second is “To love your Neighbor as yourself.” That’s what Vision House does. We are their neighbors and they have come to love us.
The late Reverend Martin Luther King said many profound things, but the greatest one that stuck with me is “To be Great Is to Serve”. That’s what Vision House brings to the world. They make the world great because they serve.
If it had not been for Vision House I don’t know where we would be. They saved our lives in so many ways. Thanks to Vision House, my son’s confidence is back and he’s doing well in school. My self confidence that I had lost was restored thanks to the support of all the loving people at Vision House. I look at the future differently now. I welcome it with open arms!