This is the story of when my children and I had no place to call home. My story begins when I was 17 years old and my family was split up due to my mom's mental illness. I was left to fend for myself; this was my first experience with homelessness. I had little experience with real life skills and found myself in a viscous downward spiral of drug addiction and living on the streets. For seven years I lived on our local streets (in Billings) jumping from couch to couch, and sleeping in church doorways and parks. I felt hopeless and destined to live this way. Then I found myself expecting my first son. I wanted something for my children, so I tried to improve my situation on my own by working an entry level job and finally renting an apartment.
I wanted so much to provide a home for my child and be "normal" like everyone else. Well, with a minimum wage salary, no skills, and bills piling up, I ended up back on the streets, this time with two children in tow. Finally, one day I looked at my children and realized I needed a major life change and reached out for help to achieve sobriety and permanent housing.
After being accepted in the Family Promise Network, I was brutally honest with the case managers about where I was coming from, but instead of judging me, they accepted me with open arms. After a few weeks, with my immediate housing, food, and transportation handled by the organization, I was able to emotionally relax enough to work on a case plan. In the most loving and direct ways, the program taught me how to successfully start to learn the life skills that were totally foreign to me. Family Promise taught me simple resume skills, budgeting,