I was born in 1972 into addiction where my mother was a victim of human trafficking. She was also a heroin addict and struggled greatly with mental health issues. I was passed around the system for 3 years and was eventually adopted by my bio mom’s best friend. I grew up mostly in poverty and in an abusive environment. I began my journey with drugs and alcohol when I was 12. I was mostly on my own since at 16 years old and worked in the local music circuit and had a pretty successful run there, but the drugs and alcohol began to get in the way.
In 1998, I was 25 and pregnant with my oldest daughter and decided to enter treatment. I remained clean for 12 years and had a stable family, had my son, and ran a business from our home that we owned. The sudden death of my little brother and my son’s father also brought a relapse-which basically ripped apart everything that I had worked hard for, including my family. Eventually, we ended up losing our home and I was not able to care for my children.
I also had given birth to my youngest son, who is now 6. They went to live with my sister while I was homeless, hopeless, desperate, and eventually near death. I eventually chose life, and I entered treatment again in 2014. When I finished treatment, I ended up at The Women’s Gospel Mission because I did not want to return to the streets, and had nowhere safe to go. I also opted into the Family Drug Court Program in an effort to rebuild my life and have my children returned home.
While I was living at the mission, I met a woman who would become my case manager named Kathryn. She had formerly worked at Housing Hope, and after I was able to prove that I was trying to change my life, she put me in touch with Lee Tam- who after a year of my hard work and efforts, and proving that I was ready to change, was able to get me into an apartment in Sultan. This was the last piece of the puzzle of getting my children returned home- which was my driving force the entire time- my kids. I had already done everything else- stayed clean, taken care of my mental health- did the work, but because I had done so much damage during my relapse, there was no way anyone else would have rented to me. I was not going to be able to have my family together again unless I had a stable home, and HH took a chance on me and allowed me show through my success and actions that I was ready to change and ready to amend my past mistakes. With a year and a half clean and after much hard work, moved into our place and my kids came home. We didn’t have much at first- the kids had their beds and I slept on an air mattress, but we had a roof over our heads, and we had each other.
About a year later, I met Rachel who was my employment specialist and entered into the Training Program at HopeWorks as an Intern at Renew which gave me something to do everyday. I would take the bus from Sultan to Everett and began to have more of a purpose. It helped me to rebuild my confidence and get used to being back in the workforce. When the time came for me to graduate that program after 3 or 4 months, they asked me if I would be interested in joining their team, of which I accepted. I was hired on as a sales associate, was the truck driver, and now almost 5 years later- I am the assistant manager. This has assisted in me being able to become self-sufficient. I get to give back, also, and help others who come through our program re-build their lives, and that’s the biggest reward, other than being able to provide for my family without assistance.
Today, I have over 6 years clean, and my family is happy, healthy, and thriving. I honestly do not believe I could have done it without the love, support, and opportunity from everyone at Housing Hope and Hopeworks. They believed in me when I wasn’t sure I believed in myself.
From early on at the Mission up until today, I still have tons of support from the staff at HH and HW who are invested in changing lives and instilling home in families, as well as the community. Housing Hope has been more than “housing” for me. It has played a crucial role in my journey back to myself, and I will forever be grateful.