Linda is a 59-year-old woman who was experiencing chronic homelessness due to a domestic split. She spent eight months in and out of shelters when she fell ill. She was admitted to the hospital, treated and then needed a place to live other than the street to fully recuperate. Fortunately, the hospital had a partnership with Barrett Foundation and was able to provide a shelter respite bed designated for homeless women who need a place to recover after being hospitalized.
Linda entered the Barrett House Shelter on October 31, 2016. She arrived with limited mobility and was dependent on a walker. She received 24-hour shelter, housing case management, three meals a day, transportation assistance and weekly onsite evaluation with hospital staff.
On December 7, Linda’s illness was deemed under control and she exited Barrett Respite into a regular Barrett House Shelter bed. She continued to work with Barrett’s Housing Stability Advocate to create and implement a Housing Plan. The goals of the Housing Plan were to secure the necessary documentation, including birth certificate and identification cards; participate in coordinated assessments for housing; apply for entitlements, obtain disability verification, and secure her own home.
Linda’s coordinated assessment (a needs assessment for housing and related services) demonstrated that a permanent supportive housing program with intensive case management would best suit her needs and successfully end her cycle of homelessness. She worked diligently on her housing plan and on January 17, 2017 she was accepted and placed in Barrett Foundation’s Milagro Permanent Supportive Housing program.
Through this program, she receives leasing assistance, plus supportive services which ensure that she has access to medical care and social service programs. She is currently receiving support in applying for Social Security Disability benefits as well as self-advocacy and daily living skills. The Barrett House Shelter was the first step in Linda’s journey to a renewed sense of self-worth and independence.
My name is Juanita and I grew up in New Mexico state custody and have lived in several foster homes, shelters, residential treatment centers and even the children’s psychiatric hospital. At 20 years old I was homeless. The shelters in the past could not accept me because I was considered an adult. I had no life skills; I was institutionalized and told I would never make it in the real world.
One day, I was sitting on a curb. I didn’t know what to do or where to go. I walked to a gas station and asked if they could contact a homeless shelter for me. The employee at the gas station was a very nice lady, and she gave me a ride when she finished her shift at 3 a.m. She drove me to a local overnight shelter where I slept with my shoes on because I did not feel safe. I was right. It was one of the worst places I have ever been. Then someone suggested I get on the list for The Barrett House. I finally did and it was so clean and safe, I was able to get out of survival mode. They had a housing program where an apartment is provided for you, and they assist you with your rent. I only had to pay 20% of my income towards rent each month. I had my own place for the first time in my life. When I got the apartment they gave me a care package. I used everything in it and kept the basket until it unraveled. One day I happened to walk into Fred Astaire’s Dance Studio, just because I was curious about taking lessons and how much it might cost. They told me they were hiring and that they would train me. That was my first real job. The housing program enabled me to take an entry level position and work my way up the ladder of success to become a dance instructor which I still am to this day. Dancing taught me so much, and I wouldn’t have had that opportunity had it not been for Barrett. I have never been homeless since.
It is my hope that you will understand how important of a role Barrett Foundation played in my life. Barrett enabled me to have an opportunity to grow and prosper and to find my way out of the cycle I was in. I am forever grateful.