Consuelo's Story

Consuelo’s Story

It’s a common myth that people are homeless because they don’t want to work. That was never the case for Consuelo. After receiving a DUI in 2018, Consuelo found herself in a downward spiral. As a single mom, she was struggling to take care of her 4-year-old daughter and herself. Consuelo was overwhelmed by everything that was happening in her life, and after another DUI, she wound up in prison.

She served time at a minimum-security prison, where inmates were able to work “retention jobs.” Consuelo and others would be bused off-campus, work their shift, then be bused back at the end of the day. Consuelo’s job paid $3.25 per hour, which was good money in prison, she shared. Her earnings were split between her commissary account and an outside savings account for when she was released. Over her one year and four-month sentence, Consuelo saved over $2,000.00.

Upon release, Consuelo was able to continue to work, but found herself with nowhere to go. Her belongings were tucked away in a storage unit. She reached out to everyone she knew, finally finding a place to stay. She believed that they wanted to help her and provide support during this tough transitional time in her life, but unfortunately, this wasn’t the case. Her living situation became dangerous and violent; Consuelo knew she needed to escape.

Consuelo desperately needed a place to stay. After searching for countless homeless shelters, Consuelo read about UMOM’s Halle Women’s Center. On a stroke of luck, a bed was available just when she needed it the most. For the next four months, Consuelo had three hot meals a day, a place to secure her belongings, and a bed she felt safe sleeping in.

Consuelo was relieved that she finally had a safe place to stay, but the downfall was that her job was in Tolleson, AZ. Every day she navigated public transportation fro the Women’s Center to work; a two-hour commute each way. She dutifully showed up to each shift early, working from 7:00 PM to 5:00 AM. When she arrived back at Halle each morning, she would eat breakfast, clean up, and sleep before starting the routine all over again.

Over the next four months, Consuelo was able to save over $5,000.00. She was able to purchase a used car, cutting down on her commute time. She made the most of the support services that UMOM has to offer. Ultimately, it was Consuelo’s motivation and inner strength that drove her to end her experience with homelessness. With support and help from her case manager at UMOM, she researched and found an apartment that would work with her record. Soon after, she unpacked her storage unit and moved into her new home.

“It’s been a rugged road. A road full of obstacles, but also a road full of hope.”

Consuelo is driven, hard-working, and resilient. Regardless of her circumstances, she’s been able to support herself and get back on her feet. She is still working her third-shift job but it looking for a position with hours that allow her time with her daughter. As soon as that happens, her daughter will be able to move out of foster placement and home for good.

Because of you, 504 individuals were successfully employed last year. Your support ensures that clients have access to a computer lab and a number of services including resume coaching, workshops, GED courses, and help applying for jobs. Because of you, people like Consuelo are supported in finding sustainable jobs that provide the needed income for permanent housing.

Thank you for helping end homelessness.