Hope and Safety in an Uncertain Time

“My mom was a single mom. My dad really wasn’t in the picture. He left really early on. We lived in Massachusetts for a few years. And we moved to Vermont when I was around 6.

It was hard growing up for me. The whole time I was growing up.  I was poor, I didn’t have the right body type, you know, my hair was different. Everything about me was different. My grades plummeted. I struggled with depression, I had really bad mental health issues. I don’t remember a time in my life where I wasn’t sad. 

I was 18 when I had my daughter. She was literally at my high school graduation, two days old. I was 24 when I had my son. 

I did start going to CCV after high school but  I dropped out because I was still with my daughter’s father at the time, and he didn’t want me to go to school. He never even finished ninth grade, so I guess it was kind of intimidating for him. He was abusive. He started to lock himself in the house with my daughter and like throw me on the ground. It took me five years, but.. I finally left. I was homeless for seven months after I left. We couch-surfed for a while and then rented a room. 

I had a job, I did programming, I went to substance abuse counseling, I painted two 30-foot murals, and I took parenting classes. So, I did a lot with my time. I was really productive with my hours.  I was doing the most of what I could to better myself.

And I think it’s important to say I was sitting in jail for a lack of residence. I was just sitting there because I had nowhere to go. My time was served.  More of the population in jail, like more of the percentage, is due to a lack of residence than people still serving time. It’s terribly depressing.”

The current pandemic the world is facing is highlighting the fact that housing is healthcare. Helping people off the streets and out of congregate settings is saving lives and Pathways Vermont is helping to combat this crisis!  Koren (pictured above) recently moved into her new home and says her service team has been working hard to provide essential services and supplies to help her stay safe and secure in her home.  Last week Koren received a grocery delivery from her team which she said was a huge relief and allowed her to remain at home.

Koren was referred to Pathways Vermont and was quickly released from prison where she was being held due to lack of resicence and housed in a spacious and sunny apartment in Barre. She has enjoyed decorating her new space to make it feel like home and is hoping to go back to school in the near future. Koren shared that she makes a lot of art in her free time. She is currently working on a painting for her son.

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