Homeless 600 nights, woman now has a place to call her own
The story of two families and their seasons of hope
"We've been trying (to find a place), but it's hard when you don't have a car, don't know how you'll pay," she said.
She said they want to wait to find work until they know where they will be living, so they can manage transportation. That's actually the way the homeless are helped in Salt Lake City — home first, job second.
Michelle Flynn, associate executive director of The Road Home, said employment is absolutely "the end goal" for those they work with, but that it's very difficult for those who are homeless to find and keep jobs.
"It's not easy for folks to get a job without a great work history, and it's even harder when they're in crisis and living in a shelter," Flynn said. "They are much more concerned with making sure their kids are off to school and have a place to study and that they have enough food for their children."
She said there are numerous programs to assist homeless families in their efforts to find homes. Getting in the home is the first priority, followed by employment, Flynn said. Without the stress of homelessness, finding jobs becomes much easier.
"Once they get in their own home and get settled in, they can take a deep breath and see what bus and TRAX are available to them," she said.
Since returning to the shelter, Darren Williams said he's seen a spike in his stress level.
"My anxiety, it tears me up," he said. "You feel like the walls are caving in. Your chest gets tight. You just have to think of a happy place and put blinders on."
By a week before Christmas the family still had not made plans for Christmas this year.
"We haven't even gotten that far yet," Darren Williams said. "I'm just trying to focus on what I'm doing that day and then trying to plan for the next day."
"We're going to spend it all together. I know that much," Theresa Williams added.
Little things have changed in their family, going through this and being away from Sterling. Theresa Williams said she doesn't think that homelessness was totally necessary to prompt the changes, but it's a positive that she'll take.
"(Sterling) being apart from us brought us so close together," she said. "We appreciate each other."
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