Most of us enjoy seeing spring arrive; warmer weather, flowers blooming, trees turning green, it seems like a time of fresh starts and new beginnings. At Restoration Place, we have seen fresh starts and new beginnings in lives of several women. In this letter, I want to share some stories with you, without sharing any confidential information on the women.
M was one of our first residents in the shelter. She had lived in another state but had been in a long relationship with a man in this area. When he visited her last year, he encouraged her to come back to Texas with him, leaving her children temporarily. He promised to help her get her children after she was settled in and had a job. After a few months, he was not willing to help her get her children, and he had become abusive. She called a local agency and explained that she was here with no support, nowhere to go, and no transportation. After some discussion, the agency referred her to us. She came to the shelter afraid, confused, discouraged, and depressed. She had a job that was 20 miles away and no car. For a few weeks, she worked to find rides with coworkers, but that was not always possible. I reached out to the community, and a car was donated to RA, which we had repaired and signed over to M, who signed an agreement to pay us to cover our costs.
We are committed to assisting our residents in getting a car if she is has a job and is working to rebuild her life in a responsible way, but we feel that the resident needs to pay something for the car, to increase her feeling of ownership for it. M was thrilled to have a car which she used to get to work every day. She was doing well but desperately missed her children and was eager to get back to them. After a few weeks, she called to tell me that she was on the way back home, was very grateful for everything we had done for her, but she had to get back to her children. I spoke to her a few times after she left and could tell she was having difficulty finding a job and a place to live to restore her family but she was persisting. I was surprised to receive a payment on the car in February, and another one in April. Although life was hard for her, M fulfilled her agreement to pay for the car we provided for her.
In February, I had a call from T, who had seen a poster with our number. She wanted some advice and information about what kind of help was available. She has been married for 17 years to a man she loves and has been good to her and their children but four years ago he went through some extremely difficult circumstances and became angry. His anger led to outbursts and he became physically as well as mentally abusive. A few weeks later, T called again, this time ready to leave her husband. We put her and her children in a hotel for the night, then took them to Restoration Place. After a few days, T let me know she was going back home because her husband had moved out of the house so that T and the children could move back in, and he promised to get help with his anger. In her text, she said, “You guys are amazing and y’all don’t know even these last days have been a huge blessing. Y’all truly are angels!!!!”
These are just two stories which I hope give you some idea of the work we are doing. Since September 1, we have had nine women and four children stay in Restoration Place. I am extremely grateful for this shelter and everything we are able to do to help women and children to be safe because of the wonderful support from our community. Thank you for your continuing support.