Sparking Hope - Dawn's Story
Dawn first told her story publically at the Annual Breakfast. Before this, she was ashamed and lost being homeless. She didn’t want to tell anyone about her situation and that she needed help. When she connected with Housing for New Hope and other community partners she saw hope on the horizon.
Dawn moved with her son and daughter from Union, South Carolina to Durham, North Carolina in 2011. Dawn has a background in healthcare with certificates in both phlebotomy and medical assistance. She easily found a job with Purposely Driven By Hope, which later became Universal Mental Health Services. She loved her job, but as fate would have it, her hours were cut. Without regular pay coming in to the family, she found it harder and harder to make ends meet. She knew she was unable to pay a full rental amount along with other household expenses. She asked her property manager to allow her to make payment arrangements. Unfortunately, the property manager could not accept any arrangements and her family became homeless in 2016.
It was not easy for Dawn and her family the year’s leading up to being evicted. With no support from friends or family in the Durham area, Dawn was at a low point. Her mother had passed away in 2012. Her son was involved in a hit-and-run car accident in 2013, had to have major surgery, and he continues to deal with medical issues related to the accident. And then, Dawn’s daughter became pregnant at the age of 17 in 2016. Dawn’s world was imploding and she had nowhere to turn for help.
After Dawn and her family were evicted they were forced to stay in their vehicle but had to later sell it for money for a hotel stay. Just as the family was about to run out of money to stay in the hotel, the hospital social worker was able to find Dawn and her family a room at The Ronald McDonald House.
Unsure where to turn next, Dawn went to the Durham County Department of Social Services who gave her the number to Housing for New Hope. She called and spoke to Cynthia Harris, Housing Resource Coordinator for the Rapid Rehousing team. Cynthia listened and helped Dawn and her family settled into the Genesis Home – now Families Moving Forward. Dawn was very thankful, but her struggles were not over yet. Since Dawn usually worked third shift, she was unable to get to work because she did not have a car anymore. Upset with the situation, she was determined to get her family back on their feet.
She started submitting applications to affordable housing communities in Durham, and with the help and follow up from Housing for New Hope, she was able to get into Main Street Townhomes. Dawn and her family were excited to move into our new HOME! She was able to start working again, this time as a phlebotomist. She loves her job and has now been there a year and a half. She was also referred to Wheels4Hope and has her own reliable car again!
Dawn and her family continue to rebuild their lives as they each strive to accomplish their goals. Dawn plans to open a coffee shop and sell her handmade pastries one day. Dawn says they are thankful to Housing for New Hope and for helping us make it this far and for allowing me to dream of my future again!