Category Archives: Client Stories

Your Support Makes Felicia’s Success Story Possible

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2014 Annual Appeal

Your Support Makes Felicia’s Success Story Possible

“One night, when I didn’t have any place to go, I ended up at a gas station lot on North Broadway and I-70. I pulled up to the pump and parked there while tears rolled down my face. I had nowhere to stay.” Felicia was very frank with us.

Many people will never know what it is like to sleep inside a parked car in the lot of a lonely gas station. It is difficult for most of us to comprehend, or to be aware of the many individuals who are doing everything they can to stay on their feet…to understand how, when homelessness strikes, they find themselves lost and without a sense of direction.

Such is the story of Felicia, one of the most recent clients served by Room at the Inn.

Felicia came to Room at the Inn, reluctantly, after all her resources ran out. She is a determined and responsible individual who, in spite of working seven days a week, could not make enough money to afford her rent.

“Before I came to Room at the Inn, my life was unstable,” recalls Felicia in a ‘Thank You’ letter she recently wrote to the shelter’s staff. “Even though I had a car and a job, I was homeless. I was working seven days a week and wasn’t bringing in much at all. I drove around all the time visiting family and friends just to pass the evening away.”

Felicia says she felt she hit rock bottom when she ran out of places to stay.

She tried spending nights with her mom, who lives in a senior citizen center. “It was my only hope,” she said.

But when the staff at the senior citizen building found out Felicia was staying there, she had to leave.

At that point, there was only one option left for Felicia: to call the St. Louis County Homeless Hotline.

Little did she know that when she picked up the phone her life would drastically change for the better.

“I prayed and prayed that God would help me. I had thought about going to the shelter, but many years ago, while raising my children, I had a horrible experience with one. So I waited until I couldn’t wait anymore to call the hotline.”

A Caring Community Steps in

Felicia was brought to our shelter, where Client Coordinator Angie Hamilton helped Felicia get connected to different agencies that could help her. In the meantime, Felicia spent her nights at the different congregations which participate in the Room at the Inn Night Site network.

It was at one of those Night Sites where Felicia’s prayers for a miracle happened.

“… one of the night site volunteers found a place for me to live,” Felicia writes. “These people of God even paid for me to move in. My eyes are watery as I write this letter (Tears of Joy.) I moved in without having to pay a dime.”

Now living on her own, Felicia rejoices at this small but powerful miracle that was made possible by the many generous hands that participate in Room’s program.

“My stay at Room at the Inn was wonderful. It was nothing like I thought it would be. We slept and ate dinner and breakfast at different congregations. There was always someone there to encourage me. Through Room at the Inn, I found not only a place to live, but my place in life. Thank you Lord. And thanks to Angela and to all the staff and Sisters at Room at the Inn for your compassion.”

Room at the Inn Needs You

It is easy for us to forget to give thanks and sing praises of gratitude for even the smallest of gifts in life. I know you join with Felicia, as I do, in giving thanks for allowing us to bless her.

We want to thank YOU, as one of our partners, for making Felicia’s story possible. As we move into fall and begin plans for family gatherings to give thanks for our many blessings, we invite you to help us continue to spread God’s Providence, to share miracles and make profound ripples of hope in the lives of the less fortunate.

If you have time to give, become a volunteer. If you believe that God’s Providence is all around us, please pray for this ministry and those who find themselves homeless. The power of our collective action can and will make a difference.

May peace be with you,

 

 

Valorie L. Ferlis

Program Director

Room at the Inn

 

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Client Success Story: A time for renewal

Chris and his son thank a generous donor who dropped off new toys at Room at the Inn.

Chris and his son thank a generous donor who dropped off new toys at Room at the Inn.

Spring is a time of change and renewal. Now as summer approaches and spring slowly comes to an end, we see how the trees have sprouted their leaves and flowers have blossomed. Similarly, at Room at the Inn, we see every day how our clients grow personally as they find solutions to their homelessness.

One of the families currently staying with us is a wonderful example of the new beginnings Room at the Inn can provide to the less fortunate.

Our client Chris, his wife and two-year-old son arrived at our shelter almost a month ago with measured hope and many fears.

Chris said prior to Room at the Inn, he and his family were staying with relatives at an apartment. Then the landlord called. The apartment they were living in had an occupancy limit which they were violating. Jobless, with a second child on the way, and no place to stay, everything seemed to be going in the wrong direction.

Then, his wife decided to call the Catholic Charities’ Homeless Hotline, which refers clients to shelters like Room at the Inn.

“It was scary,” Chris said. “We didn’t know anybody. We did not know what to expect.”

Upon arrival at Room at the Inn, however, Chris said the shelter gave him a chance to start over and work hard to change his condition.

“I just kept thinking, ‘I need to take care of my family. I can’t move backwards. I need to keep moving forward,'” Chris explained.

While working with Room at the Inn’s employment program specialist, Chris was offered a job at a manufacturing company. In his application letter, Chris was not embarrassed by his current condition but, rather, empowered by the possibilities of making a positive change.

“In my cover letter I basically told them I had a family and that we were in a homeless shelter,” Chris said. “I told them I needed to be a man and take care of my family and provide for them. The hiring manager said she called me because of my cover letter and said she wanted to give me a chance.”

Now with a job, Room at the Inn is helping Chris find permanent or transitional housing. Chris said this experience has helped him understand that life is never over if you don’t give up.
“You just have to pray and strive to always go forward,” Chris said. “You have to have faith and keep searching. Everything changes for the better, if you make it happen.”

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