“Jane”, a young, single parent who made a successful journey from homelessness to self-sufficiency during a pandemic. It is a story of resiliency. Jane is a single mother with a young child with special needs. They were forced to leave their apartment when she and her partner ended their relationship. She had no car, no driver’s license and no job. After staying with a friend and then at another shelter, a school social worker referred her to MATS, which was closer to her daughter’s school.
When Jane moved into MATS she got busy meeting her many challenges: she practiced driving with the help and support of MATS Program Manager Susan Howard, obtained her license, and soon purchased a used car. MATS helped her pay for these expenses through its Hope Fund. She applied for government benefits and health insurance for herself and her daughter and was able to work out a parenting and child support plan with her ex-partner. She found a job at a local bakery, using her skills as a culinary school graduate.
Jane’s situation continued to stabilize. At MATS she learned strategies to manage her daughter’s behavior. She also learned self-advocacy skills, which enabled her to independently manage her own healthcare needs. She obtained a new job with good benefits; this expanded her knowledge of the food industry. Though Jane became independent, she still could not find affordable housing. Finally, after 2 years and multiple applications with support from MATS she was notified that an apartment was available. Now she and her daughter are on track to living an independent and fulfilling life. Because MATS offers free support and consultation services for its former participants, Jane can always call on staff for advice on a wide range of topics.
When Jane reflects on her stay at MATS, she shares that she was initially concerned about the stigma of staying at a shelter. But then she says, “I hit the jackpot. It was totally worth it” to get the comprehensive support services that MATS provides.
“I can’t give up on my dreams”, a resident at the Monadnock Area Transition Shelter (MATS) announced with determination when we spoke with her recently. “Now that I have shelter for myself and my child, I feel that I am moving in the right direction”.
When she could no longer stay with a family member, this enterprising young mother went online and found MATS.
A few years ago, our guest realized that her dream was to be a nurse. “I love helping people.” Again she turned to the Internet, and learned of a program that would help her reach her goal — the Health Professional Opportunity Program. Through it, she has obtained a scholarship that will pay for her schooling as well as her child’s day care. The child’s father has also assumed some parenting responsibility and is giving her financial support.
Still, our guest knows that achieving her goals won’t be easy, but she is committed to providing a brighter future for her child. She will earn her LNA this summer while also retaking some science courses even though she did well in them years ago. In the fall, she will work part-time and begin her Associates Degree in Nursing. Following that, she will continue towards her full R.N. degree. Her long-term goal is to own her own home someday.
Clearly, this young woman is extremely motivated, and she is also very appreciative to be at MATS. She told us that our program manager has been a great help to her, assisting her with thinking and organizing her thoughts about her future and being “more like a good friend”.
Originally from New Hampshire, our guest has lived in other states when her family relocated during her youth. Having attended a fine arts high school, and further studied the arts at a community college, she plays flute as well as likes to sketch. She volunteers at her church.
We cannot say enough about this delightful and very wise young mother, and know that she will do well as she pursues her dreams. Her cheerful personality and self-confidence will ensure that she is a wonderful nurse. Certainly her beautiful smile will make everyone in her nursing care, or anyone she meets along the way, feel much better. We wish her a happy and fulfilling future.
“I want people to know that losing a job is not the only reason that can cause someone to become homeless,” a current guest at the Monadnock Area Transitional Shelter (MATS) told us. In fact, this guest has a full-time job that she has maintained for many years. However, during the past year, family obligations required financial help – and she was there with that help, depleting her resources and her self-esteem. Simultaneously, a relationship ended abruptly and she was asked to move out. Briefly, she slept on a family member’s couch but she was unable to stay there very long.
”Life can change in an instant”, she noted. Now realizing that help is available she hopes that her situation will help others know it too.
Our guest learned about MATS from a colleague at work. “Taking help doesn’t feel right to me. It is hard”, she said. However, she is very grateful to be in such a safe and warm place, and to begin to build her savings again even while still helping her family member with on going financial issues.
Susan, the MATS program manager, has been a tremendous help to her. This guest looks forward to her meetings because Susan provides the emotional support and sound advice she desperately needs right now. “She offers a different way to think about things,” we were told. In short, being at the shelter has given our guest a renewed sense of self-confidence.
This woman is now planning a different kind of future which may involve leaving the area. “It won’t be easy, but I feel I must do this for myself even while continuing any necessary financial assistance to my family. In the past, I have always done what others wanted me to do.” As we spoke with our guest, it was clear that she will succeed, and we wish her well.
“All we need is a chance”. This was the determined and positive comment from the newest residents in the Monadnock Area Transitional Shelter when we interviewed the couple. Despite the downward spiral of their lives the last few months, they continue to be motivated and now that they have the temporary security of MATS, they look forward to a better future, committed to “getting back on track”, which means a job for him and their own home. They are expecting their first child shortly.
Since returning to new Hampshire after a few years in another state, they have been living with friends and relatives. The young woman works at a nearby day care center and will be able to return to the job, taking the baby with her when he is old enough. The young man had been employed, but hurt his knee shortly after beginning the job and was unable to work. Since then he has been unable to find employment. Reviewing his teenage years, he admitted he had made some mistakes, mistakes he will not make again. “I don’t want to go down that road again ever,” he affirmed. “I want to do something positive with my life. I want a chance to prove myself”. He is a welder by experience, but will work at anything, he said, as long as it can lead to a better life for his family. He hopes to return to school eventually too. One day he’d like to pursue a career as a physical therapist.
Residence at MATS has been very helpful, as our program manager offers guidance to job searches, budgeting, and encouragement for which the couple is very grateful. Our program manager has also provided information about opportunities the couple was unaware existed. We were impressed with this young couple. They are articulate and positive, and look forward to a better life.
UPDATE: The young man did prove himself – he not only secured a good job, but he received a raise after just three months due to his dedication. Now, he is taking advantage of a program through his employer to take courses on his way to getting an associates degree.