Many residents of Catherine’s House  became homeless when an already fragile living situation was threatened by illness or the need for surgery. Former resident Dawn’s story is one example. Dawn’s job was going well, however, she needed to have a total knee replacement.  The recovery from this surgery was more challenging than anticipated, and Dawn could not work for 3 months.  During this time she lost her job and eventually her housing when she could not make rent.  Increasingly, she also became concerned she might not regain full mobility following surgery.

After living in an emergency shelter with her thirteen-year-old daughter for one month, Dawn was admitted to Catherine’s House. She said, “First, I was relieved to know my daughter would have a place to sleep. I could sleep in my car, but I didn’t want that for her. Second, I could focus on healing and recovering fully from my surgery.” It was not long after recovery that Dawn secured a management position with a large retail company. Dawn’s case manager at Catherine’s House assisted her in creating a realistic budget and savings plan focused on her next goal – housing. Within the next month Dawn and her daughter moved into their own apartment.

Recently, Dawn returned to Catherine’s House to inspire current residents and reinforce the importance of budgeting and savings. She gave a class for residents on how to use internet tools for both preparing and staying on their budget.  The class was especially meaningful since it was provided by a former resident. Dawn credits a large part of her success to being “frugal and conservative.” She took full advantage of the food and personal items that were donated to Catherine’s House and passed along to her and her daughter.  She could thus save her income to secure housing.

When asked what impacted her most about her stay, Dawn said, “Every employee and volunteer believed in us. They encouraged us. That was something I didn’t have from my family.” The staff and volunteers at Catherine’s House consider Dawn and her daughter a part of our family, and we know she will continue to inspire others with her story.