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Steps Out of Homelessness

We often call the system of programs at Homeless No More “steps.” So it seemed especially fitting to share Mary’s story of the steps she’s taken on her journey out of homelessness.

“Everything is about steps.” Mary said as she began to tell her story. “Life is about steps. I appreciate everyone who took them with me.” Steps, like life can be hard, but Mary demonstrates they are simply obstacles that can be overcome with a plan.

Mary found her way to Family Shelter after having a disagreement with family members she and her daughter had been staying with.  “I always worked,” she said. “But at that point I didn’t have enough saved for a down payment for my own house. Then one day I came home, they told us to leave, and we had nowhere to go.”

She reached out to Family Shelter and she along with her teenage daughter were able to move in immediately. Mary began working with case managers to pool her resources and begin the important task of deciding what would be next for her family. With the guidance of the Homeless No More (HNM) staff at Family Shelter she began to increase her hours at work while her daughter stayed in school and made the move with minimal classroom disruption.

After thirty days at Family Shelter Mary and her daughter transitioned to St. Lawrence Place (SLP).  There, she started working on her long-term goals – or family plan.  “I wanted a house, and I want to retire. So I started working more and saving more.”

Mary’s case manager at SLP says she is a perfect example of how a family is responsible for making and eventually achieving their own goals. “Mary made it clear that she was only interested in positions that had 401k options. She’s saving more a month than I am!”

Mary’s daughter is a freshman in high school and has stayed on the Honor Roll for the past two years. Mary told her, “Your job is to do good in school.  I’ll worry about the other things.“ Mary laughs and smiles. “Of course, that means she talks with her friends on her phone and texts. A lot. But she’s a really good kid.”

Mary and her daughter will move into a three-bedroom house next month. She proudly talks about the spare room for when they have family over. “We’ll have room for anyone who wants to spend time with us. It’s a real home.”

When asked about the HNM programs and team, Mary says “It’s a good place. If I hadn’t been able to come here, I don’t know where I would be.”

Mary says that she’s taking the idea of a family plan with her as she leaves St. Lawrence Place.  “I want to save more, hold down my bills, live comfortably, and retire. Soon.” 

“My life hasn’t been perfect,” Mary says. “But this world isn’t perfect. You take it as it comes. And you work hard for tomorrow.” 

One incredible step at a time.

Dr. Lila Anna Sauls, HDFP
President and CEO | Homeless No More and a Founder of SC Women in Leadership 
phone:  803.602.6379 ext. 105
website:  www.homelessnomoresc.org
email:  lasauls@homelessnomoresc.org
address:  2411 Two Notch Road, Columbia, SC 29204

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