This view is so common in our world today, and it is easy to jump to this conclusion when we keep homelessness at an arm’s length. As we drive by those in need, laziness seems like the simplest explanation for their situation, but the story is typically much broader than what we expect. A 2013 US Department of Housing and Urban Development study found that 55% of homeless adults in families had worked during the previous year.
The story of Steadfast House resident Tammy Anderson exposes the diligence and commitment to work that many homeless people share. Her story is one of hard work and a transformed life. Tammy is a fifty-year-old woman who entered Steadfast House in August of last year. She had previously spent some years in prison where she served time for a history of substance abuse and habitual DUI. At the time people close to Tammy were involved with drug dealing, and her chronic substance abuse issues left her estranged from her daughter.
Despite the average person’s expectations, Tammy was committed to her recovery during both her time in prison and at Steadfast House. She engaged in a 12-step-recovery program with a sponsor. She held two work release jobs during her time in prison and was allowed to go to work with minimum supervision due to good behavior. As a licensed cosmetologist, Tammy’s goals during her residency at Steadfast House included securing a job as a hairstylist, paying off fines, working to acquire her driver’s license, building savings from earned income, finding housing, and maintaining her sobriety.
With her goals in mind, Tammy connected to community substance abuse supports like Celebrate Recovery where she was able to build up her faith with other Christians. Tammy began rebuilding her relationship with her daughter while at Steadfast House and connected with her godparents to have a consistently safe, sober, and encouraging set of natural supports in her life. Tammy and her daughter enjoy a renewed relationship and her daughter is so proud of her now! She secured employment as a hairstylist and began quickly saving her money with the goal of acquiring personal transportation. Tammy was also able to pay off all of her driving fines. She has since relocated to be closer to her godparents, as they were having health issues, and she was eager to support them. She secured work and housing before relocation.
Tammy’s dedication and hard work, coupled with the support, education, and stability provided by ABCCM’s Steadfast House, provided her with everything she needed to see her life transformed.