Shawna’s Story

April 06, 2016

A Mother’s Broken HeartIMG_9614

Being evicted from her home with no notice in the middle of winter wasn’t what hurt Shawna the most. Losing her deceased father’s Air Force medals – her only physical reminder of him – was painful, but she could move on. Even being unfairly kicked out because of a clerical miscommunication wasn’t the worst.

“I broke down and cried . . . what did I do to deserve to get my baby homeless?” 

Even the ironic twist that she had recently opened her home to help homeless friends was already a distant memory. But what devastated Shawna was what came out of the mouth of her precious three year old daughter …

Suddenly homeless in the cold and pouring rain, Shawna and her daughter Daphne made it to our Adams Family Shelter. Even though we had twice as many people as beds, we immediately let them in and started the process to helping them get re-established.

“There’s our home mommy, there’s our home!” 

The next day Shawna went back to recover her belongings, only to find they had already been discarded. As they neared their old building, Daphne screamed with excitement – “There’s our home mommy, there’s our home!” trying to pull Shawna with her.

It was the blow Shawna couldn’t take. With tears in her eyes she tells us.

“It killed me to have to sit there and explain to her that we lost this. I was like, ‘I’m sorry baby, that’s not our home any more. I wish it was.’” 

Four months later, it’s still hard on little Daphne. Even though she’s beginning to adjust to her new routine, it’s confusing and difficult for her. And homelessness takes a tremendous toll on little children.

“It was rough on her first night because she couldn’t settle down.” Shawna remembers, “It’s affected her a lot because she doesn’t quite understand it. She keeps asking me now and then, ‘When are we going to get our home back?’” 

Now, as Shawna works to regain her housing, Daphne is spending most of each day in a daycare facility, where she is beginning to be more like a carefree little girl again. Her personality and friendliness are returning.

What’s next for Shawna?

Shawna is disabled, and will soon be receiving TANF (Temporary Assistance for Needy Families).

But for her, that’s not enough. She’s updating her resume and spending her days trying to find permanent employment so she can support her little family on her own.

With the help of the Mission, she is completing the paperwork needed to restore her housing benefits.

Meanwhile, she continues to build a small nest egg by staying at the Adams Street Shelter and eating three meals a day right here at the Mission. Soon, she and Daphne will once again have a home of their own . . . all because caring people like you are helping to support our Adams Family Shelter!

“If it wasn’t for Adams, I’d be underneath the bridge with her or out on the streets.”