When Rachel, a 37-year-old mom with three children, came to us, she already had endured a lot. Fleeing the violence in Sierra Leone, she and her family came to the United States, where she struggled to find employment.
Then, Rachel faced a different kind of violence – her husband threatened her and became increasingly controlling. He ended up leaving the family, and they struggled to survive. She and her children became homeless and took refuge in a family shelter.
Things began to change when they found Interfaith Works and our Interfaith Housing Coalition, which could provide the family with affordable housing and the support of a case manager. Initially, Rachel concentrated on feelings of anger and resentment towards her ex-husband for leaving the family. But then, she decided she must move forward and focus on achieving stability for herself and her children.
After the family moved into a tidy townhome, she told us, “The most amazing part is my kids having their own space.” Rachel has big dreams for herself. Working with her case manager, she has set goals: finding a permanent job; improving her English and computer skills; obtaining her high-school equivalency diploma; and applying for U.S. citizenship. When asked where she sees herself in five years, Rachel’s answer is simple: “Free.”