Renee* never imagined that her family would be without a home of their own.
When she had to go on bed rest due to pregnancy, Renee lost her job. Then her boyfriend of three years decided that he didn’t want to be a parent and ended the relationship, leaving Renee heartbroken and without income or support as the bills stacked up.
Eventually, Renee and her 12- and 14-year-old sons were evicted from their apartment.
Desperate, she slept on the living room floor of her friend’s one-bedroom apartment with her sons while she diligently searched for resources, knowing that their arrangement couldn’t last. Unable to work, she felt stuck and helpless. What’s worse, as she called one resource after another, she found that many shelters wouldn’t allow her sons to stay with her because they were teenage boys. Every day, she worried herself sick over what would happen to her sons—and the baby that was coming whether or not she had a home. “I felt so alone—that I was going to be judged,” Renee says.
After a weeks-long search, at 8 months pregnant Renee found Nicholas House and was able to move into our emergency shelter with her family intact. Given the safety and support she needed, she gave birth to a healthy baby boy. Only four weeks after giving birth, she got a job at Hartsfield-Jackson that allows her to support her family. With the help of her case manager, Renee paid off her debt, secured childcare for her newborn and moved with her children into their own apartment.
Renee has decided to come back to volunteer at Nicholas House to share her story and help uplift and inspire other women in the shelter program.
“Giving back is my way of sharing my gratitude,” Renee says. “The volunteers at Nicholas House made a difference—they talked to me. I realized that I don’t have to be ashamed to ask for help. Now I want to raise my babies and teach them to give back.”
Renee’s strength and tenacity in the face of adversity reminds us of the power of a mother’s love—and the courage of the clients we serve. We salute her achievements and look forward to seeing her empower others as she moves into her new life.
*Name and likeness changed to protect the privacy of the client.