Before moving to Garden Park Apartments, Cat had moved from shelter to shelter, trying to find a safe, secure place for her then 4-year-old son. Having survived domestic violence and been on her own since the age of 16 , Cat’s ability to provide for herself and her children was tenuous. She had lost custody of her daughter and feared losing custody of her son as well.
Cat’s first night in her new Hope Solutions unit wasn’t restful. “I couldn’t sleep the first night in my new apartment; I was too excited. I finally had a door that I could close.”
To most of us – doors are taken for granted – we don’t realize the stability, safety, and peace that comes with having your own space. More than 9,000 of our neighbors in Contra Costa County are without housing – 20% are families with children, and 20% are survivors of domestic violence, like Cat.
Knowing where she and her son would sleep each night gave Cat the stability that created space to grow and begin healing from the early traumas that precipitated her homelessness. A common misperception of homelessness is that people must overcome their burdens before being provided housing. At Hope Solutions, we believe that housing is where the journey begins. Then, with individualized supportive services, our clients are empowered to make lasting transformational change.
“Being able to have something to call my own was an amazing experience and being able to utilize the services that they had, the parenting classes…the homework club for my son. I went from using every outlet they had to becoming self-sufficient. It gave me the confidence I needed to realize I can do this.”
The stability of GPA allowed Cat to regain custody of her daughter and have her family back together. After several years Cat felt ready to further her education and went to Diablo Valley College (DVC) for her degree.
“My experience at GPA was that you get out of it what you put into it. If you put in the hard work, you are going to be successful. Once you get to that point where you believe you can do it, it’s that much more meaningful.”
Like many of our clients, Cat’s transformation ended the cycle of poverty and benefitted her entire family. Cat’s son, now 16, is thriving in high school and her daughter is balancing working and going to community college. While attending Diablo Valley College herself, Cat met her now husband, a retired Veteran who is also working towards his certification as a Medical Assistant. .
After years of rebuilding her life, Cat and her husband reached a major milestone this year. They were able to save enough money to purchase their own home! “I went from being homeless, to living in low-income housing, to being a homeowner in a little over ten years. Never in my wildest dreams did I ever think I would be a homeowner, ever.”