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Danielle Finds a Safe Place to Call Home
For Danielle, stability has been hard to find in her life. She and her mother shared a small studio apartment for much of her childhood, and though they didn’t have much, they were happy. But when Danielle’s mother lost her job working in a retail store, their lives began to change.
In a matter of months, Danielle and her mother were evicted from their apartment. With nowhere to turn, they spent nights in shelters or sleeping in their car. Danielle’s mother noticed a dramatic shift in her daughter’s personality. The once bubbly girl who was so full of life was now expressionless and depressed.
Eventually, Danielle’s mother found work as a dishwasher, and a coworker offered a room to rent in her two-bedroom apartment. Danielle was happy to have a place she could once again call home.
But things weren’t perfect. Her mother’s coworker already shared the apartment with her husband and two children, and things were crowded. It was also in a rough neighborhood, where the sound of gunshots could be heard almost every night. When Danielle looked outside of her bedroom window, she saw teenagers on the corner selling drugs. Fearing stray bullets, Danielle’s mother forbade her from sitting near the window.
Danielle’s mother also became very concerned about her daughter’s depression. Danielle always had a passion for soccer, but she stopped playing and spent her days cooped up in her bedroom after school. Danielle’s mother arranged for her to see a therapist, but could not afford to make regular appointments.
Danielle’s mother noticed a dramatic shift in her daughter’s personality. The once bubbly girl who was so full of life was now expressionless and depressed.
Things went on this way for Danielle for about a year, but when her mother’s coworker lost her job – her situation became desperate. She began inviting more people to live in the apartment to help pay the rent. It started with a cousin. And then a friend, who brought her 7-year-old daughter. And then another friend. Before Danielle knew it, 10 people were living in this two-bedroom apartment.
The situation became unbearable for Danielle and her mother. Every night, people stayed up late, drinking and playing loud music. Danielle’s mother asked them to be quiet, but they never listened. She had to buy ear plugs so they could sleep at night.
When Danielle woke in the mornings, there were people sleeping everywhere – bodies sprawled across the couch and the floor, even sleeping in the closet. One day, her shoes were missing. Danielle looked everywhere and asked everybody – but she never found them. She was so upset, she skipped school and stayed in her room all day.
This wasn’t the only time things went missing. Realizing she had to do something, Danielle’s mother installed a lock on their bedroom door. But one night, while they were sleeping, a drunk stranger broke through the lock and entered Danielle and her mother’s bedroom.
This was the final straw for Danielle’s mother. She knew they needed to leave, but she had nowhere to go. This was all she could afford. She began to look for a safe place for Danielle to stay.
While searching online, she discovered Mercy Home. Though they did not want to separate, Danielle and her mother knew that something needed to change.
When Danielle moved in, her depression prevented her from developing relationships. She also had a hard time sleeping at night, due to the trauma she had experienced. In the back of her mind, she was always waiting for the sounds of loud music, or worse, a stranger to come through her door.
But as time passed, Danielle’s wounds began to heal. She rekindled her passion for the game of soccer and helped organize regular games at our Home with her peers. She worked with her therapist to manage her depression, and now sleeps soundly through the night.
She also loves strolling the hallways and different rooms of our Home. She says it reminds her of her favorite movie, “Beauty and the Beast”. She feels like Belle wandering through the castle.
She also loves the simplicity of sitting in the window sill and looking outside. Now, she can go for a walk whenever she wants. At Mercy Home, she feels free.
At Mercy Home, she feels free.