Vonnie’s Story

I lived in Bellevue for the past 20 years and over that time worked for a couple of public accounting firms. There came a point when I wanted to try something new with less stress. I was offered a job at a toy store in a mall near my home. After about 6 months, the store owner decided to retire, liquidated everything, and the employees lost their jobs.

I found another job in a small retail outlet and had new employee orientation scheduled, but wasn’t able to attend because I came down with pneumonia. I was pretty sick for a while and fell behind on my rent. I thought the landlord would work with me since I had been a tenant in the same complex for 10 years. Instead, they started eviction proceedings. So there I was with no job, no car, and 10 days until I had no home.

Early on I spent some time at a shelter in Bellevue where you had to be off-site during the day and had a mat on the floor to sleep on in the evenings. After 6 weeks, I advanced to another program where I had a cubicle and a bed.

My perception of homelessness changed when I became homeless. I was concerned about things like where I would shower, could I shower at the same time every day so I could accept a job and return to work, and where would I put my stuff while working.

After another 6 weeks, I applied for and was accepted at Jubilee. I no longer had to worry about where I put my head at night, or where I put my belongings, took a shower, or got meals. I could have my own room, get dressed up, print resumes, work on my job search, and live like anyone else.

Jubilee has been so good to me: I have housing, clothing, support from my care manager—and a shoulder to cry on—and women in the house I can relate to.

The biggest surprise was the classes offered at Jubilee. I took all the required courses plus electives so I could update my skills, thinking, approach to interviews, and how to share my story without providing too many details.

I may be homeless, but that adjective does not define me and it will not stop me. I’m getting all of my ducks in a row. I’ve paid off my debts, enrolled in a savings plan, and can now work toward paying the judgment against me. Once the judgment is settled, the apartment doors that are now closed to me will start to reopen. I’m interviewing for jobs, and I’m getting closer to having a home of my own again (and hopefully a cat to replace the one I had to relinquish when this whole process stared).

Without Jubilee’s program, it would have been a whole different story. Jubilee saved me!

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