A homeless Army veteran finding support and belonging.
Tanya - a U.S. Army Veteran – vividly remembers the chilly day in May 2019 with her daughter, Makayla. Tanya was a proud mom. Makayla became a high school graduate that morning.
They were homeless.
A day that should’ve been one of the happiest in Tanya’s life was clouded with worry.
“I had no idea where we would sleep that night.”
It wasn’t the first time Tanya faced homelessness. While attending college years before, she was caught by surprise to learn her parents had cut off financial support and asked her to leave home over a disagreement. Luckily, she as able to live with friends temporarily before joining the Army. The Army gave her strength, hope and a feeling that she belonged.
“I’ll be honest, joining the Army was never part of my plan, but it turned out to be one of the best things I ever did,” Tanya says.
After her military service, one misfortune led to another - a car stolen, a lost job, an eviction notice. And, eventually that chilly day in May when Tanya and her daughter spent graduation day without a home.
The next day, they were hungry and borrowed $30 to get something to eat. Then, Tanya and Makayla carried their clothes in garbage bags while trying to get a ride to a family shelter.
From this shelter, she connected with a Volunteers of America veterans program.
“I met with VOA on a Wednesday. I met with a landlord who showed me an apartment on Friday, and I had my keys to move in on Monday,” Tanya remembers. “I moved in with nothing. Volunteers of America not only supplemented my rent for the first three months, they helped me furnish my entire apartment.”
Once stabilized in safe housing, Tanya found a job at Amazon, where she works today.
“I am excited for where life is taking me. But, most importantly, I know I have support when it may not go as planned.”
“Through much of my life I felt like I had to go at it alone, that I didn’t belong and I didn’t have anyone. But through all of this, I learned I don’t have to do it alone.