“My name is Kristine. I’m 32 years old and I’ve been a participant of the Pathways Vermont Housing First Program for three years now.
I’ve had a lot of setbacks that made my life feel unmanageable. I became pregnant when I was 16 and I gave birth to my first daughter on my 17th birthday, and I dropped out of junior high soon after. During that time, I was with a guy who was abusive and I overdosed when I was 25.
I have three daughters now, ages 15, 12 and my baby will be six. It was difficult losing custody of my children. It’s been eight years since I’ve seen my oldest daughter and about five or six years since I’ve seen my middle child. But my baby, I have her every other day.
I ended up homeless when I was pregnant with my third child and remained so for about five years. Then Pathways Vermont came along and everything changed. Corbin (Pathways Vermont Service Team Lead) was the first person I met and I loved him right away. He reassured me that I would never lose my support, which was really important to me. Daryl, my landlord, means so much to me because she was the first person to rent to me. She had a two-bedroom apartment, so my daughter even has her own room.
Before becoming involved with Pathways Vermont, my goal was so small; I dreamed about working at McDonald’s. Now, I’m an honor student in college and I have a 4.0 GPA. I also volunteer at the Great Falls Regional Chamber of Commerce.
I never wanted to be a drug addict. I didn’t want to be a drunk. I didn’t want to be that person.
I just knew it was time to move forward. My kids are on my mind every day. Changing your mindset is the first step. My advice to others that may be in a similar place as I was is to be aware of your situation and know what you want to change. Use your resources, if people are offering you help, take it.”