Stacie moved to Colorado to make a new life for herself with a newborn son and fiancé after losing her home to Hurricane Katrina. For a time, she was happy and somewhat stable. Then things began to fall apart. When Stacie’s fiancé pushed her from a moving car she says, “That’s when I knew I had to leave.”
This was not her first experience with abuse. Stacie had been abused as a child and the most recent abuse set off a series of emotions that resulted in her being diagnosed with PTSD. This led to her leaving her position as a care-giver and ultimately qualifying for disability. During this time she turned to alcohol.
She was in an accident which totaled her vehicle, leaving her without transportation. She was so overwhelmed that she surrendered her youngest child to the foster care system while she tried to recover. Stacie says, “I knew I had to keep it together. I had to get my son back.” She worked hard, and did get River back, but a series of events, in addition to a lifetime of domestic abuse, resulted in Stacie and her son, River, becoming homeless.
If her life was not already difficult enough, she became a victim of identity theft. Though the theft, it looked as if she was earning more income than allowed, resulting in the loss of her disability income. During this time, the family had to rely just on $500 per month from child support, which resulted in being evicted from their home.
The family spent months in the RJ Montgomery Shelter while Stacie tried to correct the issues with the identity theft. Once she resolved the situation, they motel-hopped for almost a year, because they could not get an apartment due to the eviction.
Stacie’s life was spiraling out of control and although she had a regular income, she was making bad financial decisions that kept her family in crisis. “People don’t know how easy it is to make bad decisions. It’s real easy to say, let’s go splurge right now because in three days we are going to be eating peanut butter and jelly anyway.” When she found Catholic Charities, she began to change her life.
Stacie met with a Family Life Coach who helped her get a housing voucher. Once Stacie found an apartment, Catholic Charities helped her overcome her eviction and move in, providing bedding, food, and small appliances. Stacie also received a car that had been donated, which allowed her to begin to fully “live her life.”
Part of Stacie’s success is being matched with a mentor team through Family Connections, who helps with emotional support and financial planning. Stacie says, “One of the biggest things that the Family Mentor Alliance does it to make sure that God willing, it [becoming homeless] doesn’t happen again. You have people that care. That’s the biggest gift in all of this.”
Now stably housed, Stacie will continue to work with Catholic Charities and her mentor team for at least 12 months, helping to overcome any obstacles that might arise. While their story continues, the goal is for Stacie and River is to move forward with a normal and productive life.
Here is Stacie’s story.