Dionne needed to get away from her abusive partner, and was taken in by Lancaster’s Domestic Violence Services. There she was referred to Tabor’s Shelter to Independent Living program and met her STIL case manager who would counsel her through the process of getting a permanent place to live. Her case manager says, “I was impressed with Dionne because she was so persistent in obtaining full-time employment and wanted to take care of herself and her children without public subsidies.”
Dionne worked at two jobs as a housekeeper before landing a job that would provide advancement and the opportunity to help people. She now works as a housekeeper at Willow Valley Retirement Community and started their CNA classes on January 18. She says, “I always wanted to help somebody, somehow … and I’m helpful being there.”
Her case manager paved the way for Dionne to secure a 2 bedroom apartment, just a few doors from her son’s day care and the bus she takes to work. Three of Dionne’s children are with her in the apartment. One daughter is with her father (who was never abusive to the children) but visits frequently on the weekends. Her landlord reports that Dionne keeps her apartment very clean. He was so pleased, he gave her a $50/month discount on her rent for the first three months of the next year.
Dionne had tried several times to leave her abusive partner, but was not able to stay on her feet and would return to him. “Shelter makes you want to go back where you came from. You can’t focus sometimes.”
With the support of Tabor’s “housing first” program, she has been able to make it on her own. Her case manager says, “She has no family … it was all on her to make it.” Dionne describes her case manager as “very supportive. She had a lot of faith in me and provided a lot of spiritual support. She really tries to help. She is always so positive. She goes with us to the clothing bank and my kids think she's cool. She's has helped me spiritually, helped me focus, to keep my faith and my passion.”
Her youngest son is 2 and started attending Community Action Program’s day care in May. “Now he is potty trained and has so much confidence,” she says. “He’s like a different boy.”
She hopes her children appreciate what she has tried to give them by moving away from their father. “I want them to know something other than anger and fighting … to keep on doing positive things and have a more open outlook – to not be closed minded. I want them to feel that they can do whatever they put their minds to and I will always be there for them.”
Of her situation now, she says, “I’m able to do what I’ve always wanted to do … what I’ve always wanted to do, but just didn’t know my place.”