By: Debbie Schoeneshoefer
She had special permission to arrive late on Sundays and Wednesdays. It was on those days that she dropped her daughter off at the police station.
The nonstop tears evidenced her desperation. Only two weeks left of Winter Sanctuary and there were no housing options in sight. She was scared, scared of losing for her three-year-old daughter. Without housing the court would certainly not grant her custody. Her court date loomed, one week away.
Maintaining her job while being homeless had been so hard, being without her daughter had been almost insurmountable. He had changed the locks and gotten temporary custody of their daughter, telling the court that she was an unfit mother because she was homeless. It was a nightmare she couldn’t seem to escape. “I will do what it takes to get her back. She’s not in a good environment, she needs to be with me. But how?” she whimpered.
She smiled shyly when she saw me the next week. “I got an apartment.” What?! I was ecstatic! She explained that on Monday she was notified that she had gotten an apartment. On Wednesday she could go into court with confidence because she now had a secure place to live. Happiness exuded from her.
The 12 weeks of Winter Sanctuary had given her a safe refuge during this time of struggle. A place with friendly smiles, listening ears, and a warm bed. A place where she could feel secure amid chaos. The light is bright at the end of the tunnel for her—and her young daughter.
Thank you to all the volunteers from Winter Sanctuary that have made this possible—sharing not only your time, but your compassion. It has been a beautiful thing, Elk Grove.