Ethel gets an apartment of her own

Hope House helps her add last pieces to the puzzle

“Ethel” had been carrying the weight of homelessness for years—literally.

Because she had nowhere to go, she often walked around for hours, carrying everything she owned on her back. The effort disfigured her leg—leaving her physically disabled in addition to mental-health and chemical dependency issues that crippled her in other ways.

When Ethel decided to get clean, she knew she could do it—if she was in a supportive environment.

“She had an amazing drive to stay clean and sober,” says Hope House director Rusty Barnett. “And she was going to do whatever it took to make it happen. If you are worried about where you are going to sleep or how you are going to stay warm, getting sober is extremely difficult. That is why getting housing is the first step to stabilizing your life.”

After several months in Hope House’s emergency shelter, Ethel applied for permanent supportive housing in one of the twenty-five apartments above the shelter. These safe, affordable apartments offer women committed to working on the causes of their homelessness a supportive transition to living on their own. Ethel’s case manager connected her with resources and helped her make decisions that supported her desire to do good things with her life.

She continued attending addiction recovery support groups and began mental-health treatment. They even arranged reconstructive surgery for her injured leg—a possibility now that she had a safe place to recuperate. Ethel has now been clean and sober for five years—a wonderful accomplishment.

“Once she had the basics of food and shelter," continues Barnett, “Ethel started connecting the dots. It can be scary when all your issues start showing up, but that’s when you start looking at things and figuring out how you can make your life support you. Hope House helped to make sure that all those things were identified and that treatment was put into effect. Once she was doing it all the pieces came into place. The puzzle became an actual picture and she could see where she was going.”