I had planned to retire and was going to be done in February 2018. I’d downsized and moved into a small studio three years ago in preparation. Everything was moving toward that goal when a family member had an accident. I had to liquidate a significant amount of my savings to pay the medical bills, leaving me with very little.
I went to the city’s coordinated care center for help. I was told if I was honest on the assessment, I would be placed at the bottom of the list since I’m not in crisis. Since I didn’t want to fudge my answers, I would have to look elsewhere. It was disappointing. I have tried to live a certain life, pay my bills, be responsible, with no addictions, but I met with resistance from housing services. Someone even told me, “You don’t look like you are homeless.” So I alternated staying in a hotel and in the storage unit I rented while looking for a roommate and other housing options. Then I remembered learning about Jubilee years before when I used to run by the building, and I applied.
Jubilee’s two-year program distinguishes itself from others. It gives you more than enough time to get things together. It gives you dignity you can’t get in another place with a quality environment that shows respect for the resident. It not only helps a person establish or re-establish themselves, it also elevates self-esteem. It has a diverse group of people. Everyone has their own room, so if you have a problem in a public space, you can retreat to your private space. I was especially drawn to the holistic care and the fact that Jubilee really has a pathway that leads you out with classes, savings, school, and jobs. I took the core classes and rolled on into employment. And I have had the time to breathe while getting through all these things.
I have been humbled by my experience at Jubilee. Now I see women from a whole different point of view. Everyone has their own story. This experience has fully opened my eyes, and I’ve made some interesting observations about people experiencing homelessness. I volunteered at one shelter and saw that when people had only shorter-term housing options, they came out and went back on the streets. It was a continuous cycle of people in and out of institutions with no connections to help them out of the cycle. That’s when I realized the value of a longer-term housing program like Jubilee.
I am often asked about my positive attitude. I always have hope. I don’t walk around with a negative attitude. It’s not so much what happened, but how we feel about it. Everything happens for a reason. Jubilee gives us a beautiful place with pride, dignity, safety, and ambiance to understand where you’re from and where you’re going. It is up to every one of us to take hold of the reins in their life and take off. Put the work in and embrace the help. If you leave here and you are not successful, you probably won’t be anywhere else. I am grateful to be at Jubilee.