See the video of her success story
Originally from a small farm town in North Carolina, DeAndra came to the Charlotte/Gastonia region in search of “personal and professional growth.” She developed a strong interest in medical practices after taking care of her diabetic grandmother who eventually lost her sight. She enrolled in a local college’s Medical Assistant Program while working several part-time jobs. Even though DeAndra excelled academically, the struggle to find affordable housing made her “want to give up.” As a single mother with no family to help her, DeAndra turned to Catherine’s House.
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.
This month resident Ruth moves into her own apartment and looks forward to reuniting with her children. Ruth has much to celebrate now, but she didn’t always. In the process of leaving an abusive husband and being hospitalized for severe depression, other living arrangements were made for her children. Ruth, unemployed and homeless, found short-term solace in a new relationship that also turned violent. After finding refuge at the Domestic Violence Shelter in Gastonia, she was referred to Catherine’s House.
Catherine’s House is not just a house; it was my home. I walked through the door after being discharged from a medical facility. I had been in an abusive marriage for 17 years. During that time, I was a financially secure stay-at-home mom until my divorce 14 years ago. I suffered from clinical and situational depression. I had no job, no money, no food and no place to live – other than my car.
Jeremiah 29:11: “For I know well the plans I have in mind for you,” says the LORD, “plans for your welfare, not for woe! Plans to give you a future full of hope.” Evora, a single mother of three young girls, once wondered if she had a purpose. She asked God, “Why am I still living?” A car accident that left two of her daughters in the hospital was her wake up call.
After retiring from 32 years of public service with the Federal Government, I was bored out of my wits. My neighbor suggested that I volunteer at Catherine’s House. Living in New York City for most of my life, my view of the homeless was somewhat stereotypical. I frequently saw homeless people in subways or on the streets, often with a substance abuse problem.