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The Alliance Story Bank: Sasha - New Haven, CT
December 7, 2009
The Alliance would like to congratulate Rachel Lynch with New Haven Home Recovery in New Haven, Connecticut for winning the Story Bank drawing for a free registration to the Alliance’s February Conference on Ending Family Homelessness.
Ms. Lynch shared the story of a mother with two small children who experienced a housing crisis while overcoming several hardships. She was able to move into permanent housing by working with New Haven Home Recovery.
The Alliance is collecting stories of rapid re-housing, homelessness diversion, and HPRP application through our Story Bank. You can read more about the collection on our website. Please feel free to submit a story about your program and your successes! If you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to contact Alliance staff.
One Woman’s Story
Sasha: The fire destroyed everything
Sasha’s life changed in the time it took for a fire to flare up in her house and spread through her apartment. She was working the cash register at her job at a dollar store in downtown New Haven when her mother, who was babysitting Sasha’s 4-year-old son, called to tell her that smoke was billowing into the rooms.
The news took a moment to sink in. Then, tears streaming down her face, Sasha jumped on the bus and made it home to find her mother and son on the street, watching flames shoot out of the apartment windows. The fire had started in another part of the house, but it was destroying Sasha’s furniture, her clothes and all of her photographs. “My body was numb,” she said. “I had two kids. What was I going to do? Where were we going to live?”
Sasha, who is 26, had fallen and picked herself up at least twice already. She had completed a drug rehabilitation program to clean up a habit she picked up with an old boyfriend. Another boyfriend beat her up, smacking her face and bruising her arms, landing her in the hospital three times. Once when he was in the bathroom, she ran out of the house and called the police. She got a restraining order and breathed a giant sigh of relief when he was later deported. She thought she was getting back on her feet.
The night of the fire, the Red Cross provided Sasha, her son and her infant daughter with a hotel room, and clothing, food and toiletries, but only for two nights. They spent a few nights at her mother’s apartment across town, but it was so small Sasha and her children had to share a twin bed. Finally Sasha found her way to Life Haven, which provides shelter for women who are pregnant or have young children. “That was hard. I’m not used to living with a bunch of people I don’t know,” she said. But while she was there, she began working with New Haven Home Recovery, which found her a spacious subsidized apartment in Hamden.
Now NHHR case manager Liz V. visits Sasah once a week. Sasha is working part time, looking for a full-time job, planning to go to school for nursing, checking out new doctors and dentists, and getting her son settled in school and her daughter into daycare. She has furniture, bedding, a television set, beautiful old-fashioned china from The Furniture Coop, and lots of toys scattered about. On Easter Sunday, she hosted dinner for family and friends with ham, potatoes and seven desserts, and Easter baskets for all of the children. “I’ve never done anything like that before,” she said. “It made me feel good to have my whole family in a nice place.”