Here at Home Sweet Home, everyone has a story. Read below to hear from these voices of hope.
“My name is Mindi. I am a 39 year old single mom to a 5 year old little girl. The circumstances that led me to Home Sweet Home was not unordinary, however, it was not typical either. I moved to Illinois from Idaho pursuing a relationship. It was not an easy move by any means, to leave my family and friends behind. It was a huge leap of faith. The relationship I moved here for, obviously, did not work and because I did not know anyone I had no choice to make some phone calls and figure out how to go about checking my daughter and I into Home Sweet Home.
I had never stayed in a shelter before. Ironically, I had worked at one for 6 years and was a case manager for 2 years. To describe the range of emotions checking in and getting “settled” is rough. Humility, anger, and lost are just the beginning of those feelings. At one time, talking with my mom, I told her my emotions felt like one who is grieving and mourning death. The denial, the anger, the hurt. It was all overwhelming for quite some time.
I had a job the whole time I stayed here. Unfortunately, it was not always the same job because I had to find something suitable and that fit around my daughter’s schedule. Either way, I continued to have a job. I finally got to a point where I had to humble myself and talk with my case manager about the Rapid Rehousing Program. Because of my background in working at a shelter, I knew resources were out there, I just had to ask. Asking for help is not my forte but I knew my daughter and I needed that little extra to get us back to where we wanted and needed to be.
Turns out I was a perfect fit for the program. It did not take long for the ball to get rolling and to get everything finalized. I was able to sign my lease and my daughter and I were able to move into our home.
I have nothing but gratitude for everyone that helped me along the way through my struggles. I went down a road I never thought I would see. With my perseverance and the help of HSHM, my daughter and I are back to where we needed to be. Home!”
Imagine having to bounce around from place to place and not having a stable location to call home. That was the case for Phillip before he was introduced to Home Sweet Home’s Rapid Rehousing program.
“Well, I was living with a friend and she was in a situation where she had to move. I knew I had a few people to go to but I didn’t want to burden anybody or try to live in my truck so I decided to come here,” shares Phillip.
After staying in the shelter for over a month, Phillip’s case manager introduced him to Aaron, Home Sweet Home’s Rapid Rehousing Navigator.
“We sat down and talked and we started moving from there,” says Phillip.
Aaron worked with Phillip to create a budget plan. “We figured out how much my bills would be every month and what everything would cost. He really help me put things into perspective,” shares Phillip. “I had some outstanding utility bills and I started aggressively paying that off and the program was able to help me with that.”
After putting his finances in order, the next step was to find an apartment. Phillip was excited to begin the search. “Aaron went with me and we talked to the landlords. We shared information about the new program.”
Once Phillip found a place, Aaron helped him fill out the necessary paper work and put down a deposit. When asked about getting handed the keys, “Oh, it’s awesome. Nothing like it,” smiles Phillip.
Aaron has kept in touch with Phillip, providing continued support and guidance. Phillip says he’s blessed to have others that he can count on.
“It’s very good to know that I have someone I can talk to in case I need some help. He comes by and checks on me. We have home visits to see if everything is going well.”
Fast forward a few months later and Phillip continues to work and save money. “It’s been a big help to just have a place to call home and come home to.”
Phillip says he is extremely grateful for Aaron and everyone involved. “The Rapid Rehousing program is a Godsend. It’s one thing to provide shelter for someone, but to be able to help someone get out there on their own, put their first foot forward, that’s a blessing.”
As Rosamond walks the halls of Home Sweet Home Ministries, she can’t help getting greeted with open arms and big smiles.
“Whenever I come here, I feel happiness. I feel family around me.”
It’s been nearly two years since Rosamond stayed at the shelter.
“When I first came here, I was so depressed. I was coming from an abusive relationship,” shares Rosamond. “I depended on my spouse for everything. I didn’t do anything on my own.”
Through counseling services at Home Sweet Home, Rosamond learned to embrace her independence.
“Home Sweet Home supported me physically, mentally, and morally. From here is where my experience really started,” exclaims Rosamond.
With the support of HSHM, Rosamond secured housing and employment. Despite a few struggles, her strength and happiness endures. “I have my home. I can go to the bank. I can do things for myself now,” smiles Rosamond.
Rosamond continues to live in her own apartment and enjoys babysitting. She remains devoted to her bible studies and helping others wherever she can. She is even an active member of the Bread for Life Food Co-op.
“I help with stocking. I sort bread and canned foods. I also work with the people who are shopping,” conveys Rosamond.
She loves shopping in the co-op at least a few times per month. She says she savors picking out fresh vegetables and meat.
“Here you get really good food and friendships,” adds Rosamond. “We have a good time together. It’s a good experience for me.”
As Rosamond strives to move forward, she demonstrates that there is hope beyond the shelter walls.
“With God, we have hope all the time. That’s what keeps me going,” praises Rosamond. Her spirits remain high as she discovers more about herself and the new paths that lie ahead.
“It’s been a very good journey for me,” asserts Rosamond. “I am living my own life. I am so happy.”
It is our vision at Home Sweet Home to be a ministry of refuge and renewal powered by Jesus Christ.
Each day we restore hope to our residents, encouraging them towards successful paths in life. Learning to walk a new path takes time and devotion. Take it from one of our former residents, Brian, a veteran who stayed at Home Sweet Home for seven months.
“When I got here it was December and we had some below zero temperatures. I could have been out there freezing to death,” says Brian.
When he came here, Brian was at rock bottom, hopeless. Brian was dealing with a divorce, leading him into depression which ultimately cost him his job and his apartment. Brian felt alone, with no one to talk to.
“You think you’re a number when you come in but as time went on you figured out that you’re not just a number you’re actually somebody that people care about.”
Having a special room for veterans was his first step towards a new, brighter path.
“So it was wonderful to have a place to go and some sort of privacy to start off with,” adds Brian.
Brian’s faith was restored through devotions, counseling, job life training, and Faith and Finances classes. “You get out of it what you put into it. And that’s what we did, we just kept plugging along all that time and finally things happened.”
He utilized our services here to turn his life around. “Everyone is fragile, they just don’t realize it how fragile they can be. They start to help you put the pieces back together.”
Brian now has an apartment, a job, and confidence in himself that didn’t exist seven months ago.
“It’s given me hope again,” says Brian.
He hopes to serve as an inspiration to others that no matter your situation, if you choose to change, it can happen here at Home Sweet Home.
Brian loves his new job and the path he is on now. He knows obstacles still lie ahead, but now has a more optimistic approach.
“Just basically live day by day and keep myself together. Making it. This place has been a Godsend,” praises Brian.
Maureen, a former resident of Home Sweet Home and an active volunteer, shares her story of hope.
My husband passed away unexpectedly, and the next seven years were very difficult. I was not staying in my support groups and my relationship with God began to suffer. I was angry with God and did not feel like He was there for me. As a result, I started making bad decisions, but I didn’t really realize they were bad decisions at the time.
My son was at school here in Bloomington, and he connected me with Home Sweet Home Ministries. When I came here, I had only the clothes on my back. Home Sweet Home got me clothes and gave me a hot meal. They helped me find the resources that I needed. My case manager would follow up with me on everything, and genuinely cared about me. You can tell that for everyone who works here, this isn’t just their “job”, they truly care about everyone who walks through the doors. The devotions every morning really helped me and challenged me in my relationship with God. There are so many classes to help you build yourself up.
I didn’t think that I had any artistic talent, but I went to an art class and painted a sunset. It was beautiful! I didn’t realize I had that in me. It helped me build my confidence back up. I was able to give my painting to my children, which just meant the world to me. God was helping me and opening doors for me.
What happened to me, can happen to anyone. When I first came here, I was scared. But as I got to know the other residents, I realized so many of them were educated, came from a good home, but circumstances in life led them to being here. I made so many lifelong friends while I was here, and while we all have different stories, we identified with one another. Everything in my life has turned around and I do feel like I have a bright future now and big appreciation for life and for family, for true friends and for everyone who helped me along the way. God was with me when I found this place. And when I moved out, I felt like I could be a whole person again. I could see God’s hand in my life. I know I could not have gotten myself together without the support of Home Sweet Home Ministries.
"I was proud to serve my country, but my experience as a solider has left me wounded physically, mentally and spiritually. I needed to find a place to heal from my health issues and to get back on my feet. Home Sweet Home is an amazing place where God is easily accessible and a springboard back to "real" life. Thank you, Thank you, Thank you! God Blesses Home Sweet Home!"
As part of our work service program, James was assigned to be an assistant in our facilities department and he remembered that he had something of value to contribute-himself. He also learned that he had the ability to change his life. With help from his case manager, he then found outside employment and housing. James' life is now filled with new possibilities.
Be joyful in HOPE, patient in affliction, and faithful in prayerRomans 12:12