The following stories from and about our clients are real, although names have been changed for privacy.
Sharonna, 32 and daughter Kaylee, 16
I was forced from home at 16 and lived on the street. I married a man who gave me shelter and marriage but also led me into addiction and crime. He is now serving a life sentence in jail. I was always sick from disease or infections and almost died several times. My daughter was taken from me because I couldn't care for her and had nobody who cared about us. The court finally helped me to find Eva's Village. I am in recovery now for more than three years and I have my daughter back. I have a job, a paycheck, and healthcare. With Eva's help, I got into college and my daughter has a scholarship to a private school. Sometimes I look in the mirror and wonder who is that successful and healthy person looking back at me? Eva's helped me every step of the way and helped me to discover the strong person inside myself and gave my daughter her mother back, only better.
My life was completely unmanageable before I came to Eva's Village. I was homeless, unemployable, and had no real direction in life. I was literally living on the street. Eva's has shown me how to have confidence in myself. My life now has meaning and I have a foundation and stability in my recovery. The Job Readiness Program at Eva's Village is helping me find my strengths. I have a part time job and a bank account and I look toward full time employment with hope and confidence.
Homeless and sleeping wherever I could keep warm, I lived on the streets, constantly involved in things which degraded my life even more. One day, I somehow decided to seek help and that is when I found Eva's Mens Shelter. Inside, I found warmth, food, clothing, and the understanding of the shelter staff. They knew where I had been, but more importantly they knew what I could be.
I was keeping my substance abuse problem under wraps until the economy dealt me a hand that I couldn't cope with. I was laid off from my job and lost my home and my income. You might say that this was a good thing, because it forced me into Eva's Men's Shelter where I finally came to terms with getting help for my substance abuse problem. Things are better now, and Eva's is helping me get back on my feet. I couldn't do this without Eva's Village.
Coming from the prison system, having nothing, not even a home to go to, I found Eva's Men's Shelter. If there was room on this little card you gave me to write on, I would fill it ten times over with the wonderful help that I have received to transform my life. I received the basic necessities like food, shelter, clothing and medical attention, but the life-changing help Eva's gave me came in the form of counseling for my mental issues, and for recovery from my drug addiction. I never thought I could do this and I am so thankful!
Gustavo, approximately 60
Unable to communicate in his own words, we tell the story of Gustavo, which spans many years at Eva's Village. If Gustavo ever spoke English, he has forgotten it. He suffers from many disorders, speaks very little at all and understands only Spanish. Living under a bridge and suffering from severe frostbite, Gustavo was rescued by Eva's Village and cared for in our Men's Shelter and Medical Clinic. Doctors feared amputation was the only answer to save his toes, but his feet were bathed and bandaged daily and he recovered. Gustavo has no known family, so Eva's Village has become his home. He is cared for by our staff and receives medical attention for his many debilitating conditions. Surely, he is the most vulnerable of those cared for by Eva's, yet his shy smile and gentle nod hello speaks volumes for the humanitarian care and respect that he has received here at Eva's Village.
Debbie, 24, mother of two
My life was an emotional roller coaster before I came to the Hope Residence for Mothers at Eva's Village. I was trying to deal with substance abuse issues and my son's serious medical condition, but not doing either one of them very well. At Hope Residence, I learned to put first things first and deal head-on with my own recovery, so that I could then be the mother I wanted to be for my children. Nobody ever taught me these things before and I am so grateful to have a place to live that supports my efforts and shows me how to improve my life.
Sharee, 25 and son Carlos, 5
I was leading a horrible life, which was so out of hand. Addicted to drugs, I lost custody of my child. I just couldn't manage the kind of life that I really wanted for him. Eva's gave me my life back. They taught me how to build confidence in myself and how to work on my recovery. I have been clean for over two years and I am happy to say that my son is back with me. I continue to strive for a better life and I thank Eva's for believing in me.
Before I came to Eva's Village, Iife was an insurmountable struggle. I knew that I needed help but I just didn't have the motivation to get it. It's hard to describe how the struggle just to survive day to day takes all your strength and confidence away. Somehow, help came to get me, and I now have a really nice and safe place to live at the Hope Residence. This alone has improved my outlook and with all the help that Eva's Village provides to me, each day I‘m becoming more and more stable and confident. I'm saving money so that I can live on my own and I thank Eva's for helping me.
I'm an attorney and I once had a successful private practice, but I became addicted to alcohol and drugs. Over time, I lost my business, became divorced and also estranged from my children. When I couldn't afford rent anymore and was living in my car, I came to Eva's Kitchen for food and discovered new hope. Everyone at Eva's Village was welcoming and non-judgmental. They gave me shelter and introduced me to their recovery program. I had tried many recovery programs before, but nothing worked like Eva's. I have my confidence back for the first time in many years. I'm rebuilding my credit, my business and relationships with my children. It's not easy, and I couldn't do it without all the support I've received from Eva's Village.
Taquana, 18, mother of a newborn
Being a homeless mother left me with no self-respect and no one to turn to. I was living with the horrible stress of trying to make a life for my baby but not having any resources to do so. The Hope Residence at Eva's Village has given me a fresh start. Having a warm, safe place to live with my baby while I learn employable skills is such a gift to me. I am learning how to be responsible and I can see a brighter light for my future.
Casey, 32, mother of three
Being homeless with three children was a burden that I just couldn't bear anymore. Friends and relatives couldn't put us up any longer, and I had nowhere to turn. I believe it was for the sake of my children that Eva's Village came into my life. Eva's gave us a nice place to live, away from the crime and nightmares of the streets. We have clean beds and clothes, a big playroom and a kitchen where we cook meals with our friends at Hope Residence. For the first time, I am learning how to cope with life and have services available to me so that I will be successful. I am setting goals for my family and learning how to provide for the future. Thank you Eva's, for giving my children the balance they deserve in this world.
James, 62, father of 3, grandfather to 6
I had addictions for years and always struggled to meet the needs of my family. The tougher times got, the more I needed drugs and alcohol, so things got worse all the time my kids were growing up, and I wasn't the father I they should have had. After the kids were all grown up, my wife finally said enough and without her help, I was homeless and still addicted. When I found Eva's Village, it was like a miracle. They gave me everything; food, shelter, a recovery program and a lot more. When you go through Eva's, you have to get a job and save money, so I got clean and I support myself, but Eva's still helps me with a transitional apartment and I can go to the Recovery Center at Eva's for help when I feel like I need it. I wasn't there for my kids, but I'm trying to be a good grandfather. Eva's showed me that the past is past and I can do something good now. Thanks Eva's.