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Client Story

Amina’s Story: Bright Futures Ahead

This holiday season…

I’d like to share an incredible story with you, about a family that walked through our doors almost three years ago. With the guidance and love of the Home Again program, Amina and her sons worked hard, got access to the resources they needed, and gained the skills to live freely again. 
Amina's Story
Amina moved to the United States with her husband, two sons, and daughter in 2015. Her eldest son was diagnosed with cancer, so they planned on being here temporarily to receive top quality care.  Over the next few years, there were many domestic violence incidents in the home, so much so, that a charge was eventually filed requiring her husband to return home. He took their young daughter with him but left the two boys with Amina so the eldest could complete his treatment. The boys were 17 and 10 at that time.  Amina never learned to read or write, and her English-speaking skills were limited. Despite the language barriers, she worked hard doing various cleaning jobs, trying to keep her family afloat. They were living out of motels, staying in shelters in multiple cities, and participating in various temporary housing programs throughout the area. They eventually found Harvest House when a local motel owner gave them the number for shelter once they ran out of money.  At the time that we met this family, they reported being homeless for 3 years. We served them at the Family Haven emergency shelter for 2 weeks, then in Family Haven transitional housing for 2 ½ months, and then with Home Again permanent supportive housing for 2 ½ years.  It was really hard to build rapport with Amina at first. She was soft-spoken and unsure of herself; she kept her head down in classes and appointments and it seemed as if we’d never be able to connect with her. She relied heavily on her sons to translate for her and speak on her behalf.  Over time, our staff was able to earn her trust, and her Home Again neighbors helped make the family always feel at home. After several months, our staff noticed that she was feeling more confident and outspoken in case management meetings, and she was participating more in classes, even laughing and joking with everyone. Her sons made friends in school, participated in extracurricular clubs and sports, and also started to see a different future for themselves. 
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Fast Forward to 2020:

Amina started receiving professional counseling services and the appropriate mental health care to assist with her daily functioning. She also bought a vehicle that is properly tagged and ensured and paid off thousands of dollars of debt – she is currently debt-free! The eldest son is cancer-free and earned a certificate in Information Technology. The youngest son just graduated from high school this summer and is enrolled at USF.  In September 2020, Amina acquired a NED voucher – a housing voucher for non-elderly disabled families. This makes housing affordable for them and it will last Amina her lifetime, as long as she keeps it active. She was able to move into a beautiful apartment with her family. Below is a note from the leasing agent on their move-in day: 
“I just wanted to let you know that the family just got to see their new home. This was my favorite move in, by far. We’ve had people crying, laughing, dancing, and hugging before, but to see the look on this family’s face was definitely the highlight of my month! To see the pure JOY and APPRECIATION makes this process so worth the frustration and sleepless nights. Amina, who is usually so reserved, was literally bouncing from room to room! I had to walk out because I wanted to cry. To say I’m happy for them is a huge understatement and no words can express how they have really lifted my spirit. I love what I do and to see their happiness makes it all worth it. Thank you for everything you did for this family.” 
Later that week, their case manager received a text from the youngest son that said: “Furniture came in. This is genuinely the happiest moment of my life. Thank you so f***ing much. You changed my life. <3”  They see a new future for themselves now. Who knows what the ‘next five years’ of Amina’s life looked like to her back in 2015? But now in 2020, she has her own home, her own car, is debt-free, and has the skills and confidence needed to thrive. Her sons also see a bright future ahead and are excited to make it come to life. 

Like so many others, Amina found Harvest House at one of the toughest times in her life – and her life up until that point was far from easy. The journey into housing stability and freedom often takes time. It took almost three years to help Amina get her family back on track, but their experiences here have an impact for generations to come.  The accomplishments Amina and her family achieved would not have been possible without your support. Whether a person walking through our doors has served our country, is struggling with addiction, is experiencing homelessness, or was just released from prison, we meet them where they are, and pour into them every single day for as long as it takes.  Our programs depend on private donations. Clients participate in their recovery by paying a nominal fee for housing and services, and your gift covers the remaining costs of operating our life-changing programs. No gift is too small to make a significant difference this holiday season. Thank you for your continued support.  Warm holiday wishes from our family to yours,  Erin E. Minor, CEO
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