“I never realized how much I love talking to people – this is all new to me and I like it!”
She was running out of places to go by Thanksgiving, hoping she and her preschool-aged child wouldn’t have to turn to living on the streets during the holidays.
It had been just seven months since “Carrie” (we have changed her name and a few of her story details to protect her identity) left her abusive partner, with whom she had been for nine years. Life with him was bad, and like most abusers, he forbade her to leave the house, even to go grocery shopping, wouldn’t allow her to wear makeup, or even own a mirror. She hadn’t held a job in nine years and had no money of her own. Her partner repeatedly told her she didn’t need to work because he would provide for them and would frequently hit her if he suspected she was straying or talking to anyone he didn’t know or approve.
Like many of UMOM’s single moms experiencing homelessness, Carrie was afraid to leave the abusive relationship because she had nothing of her own. She finally escaped after her partner hit their child. At the urging of close friends, she had been scraping together the courage to leave, but that, she said, was the final straw.
“He gave my child a black eye. I just said, nope, can’t have that, so I left.”
That was in the spring of 2020. With no place to go, Carrie slept on friends’ couches and off and on in hotel rooms. She and her child left with few possessions, and by November, Carrie wondered where they were going to go when the goodwill of her best friends would run out.
Carrie was able to get into UMOM New Day Centers’ main campus at the right time. Arriving on Christmas Eve, she and her child were able to feel free and independent, and most importantly, safe from her ex.
“All of this is really new to me, having our own roof over our heads. He was always telling me I could never do it without him.”
Carrie is excited to embark on a new life with just her and her child. She looks forward to taking advantage of UMOM’s job development services and getting a job in food services, where she has worked before and is comfortable. Her dream is to one day open a café that serves only breakfast.
Her child, meanwhile, is like a new kid. Previously deprived of the normal day-to-day activities of being a child and having other kids to play with, Carrie says every day is now full of making new friendships and opening up to people on the UMOM campus. Now that her child feels safe, confident, and happy, Carrie says playtime and naps happen every day.