FAMILIES FIRST COMMUNITY CENTER
Serving Homeless Families with Children in Hancock County
 
                                                    www.familiesfirstellsworth.org
 
 

  1. Managing Director
  2. Managing Director
  3. Managing Director
  4. Managing Director
  5. Managing Director
  6. Managing Director
  7. Managing Director
If you are purchasing tickets for an event, please donate the ticket price and leave a memo stating your intentions. Thank you!
Our mission is to break the cycle of homelessness by equipping families with minor children with the skills they need to gain self-sufficiency.

STORIES OF HOMELESSNESS

Even the Homeless, who have lost almost everything, are Welcoming to All.  Can we be as hospitable?  Help today by contacting us to find out how!!

Children in the Dark

Read the Story of Ashley: 
          My dream of becoming a doctor became when I was just six years old.  I helped care for my dying mother and knew that I wanted to help other sick people.  However, my life soon changed dramatically and I never fulfilled my dream.
          After my mother died of cancer, my father moved in with a woman.  I'll refer to her as my "step-mom" although they were never married.  I was responsible for my younger siblings, step-siblings, and half-siblings.  I was often in and out of foster care.  I was labeld a "floster kid".  As a result, kids unmercifully picked on me in school.  Teachers blamed me for things I didn't do, but I was too shy to protest. 
          When I was a senior in high school, I got pregnant.  My father told me to leave the house so I moved in with my boyfriend and was unable to complete high school.  Shortly after the first baby's birth, I became pregnant again.  My boyfriend started drinking and, unable to stay with him, I returned to my parent's house. 
          Shortly after moving in with them, my second baby tragically died of SIDS.  Around the same time, I discovered that my underage sister was dating, with my parent's knowledge, a convicted pedophile.  When I threatened to phone the police, my parents evicted me from their house. 
          My next home was the porch of a neighbor's house.  While there, I became pregnant by my step-brother.  Luckily, I was admitted to a homeless shelter and eventually issued a housing voucher. 
          I want to finish high school, go to college, volunteer at a cancer center, and work, but I am without child-care, transportation, and can't drive.  My parents are in and out of my life, often taking money from me.  I want better for my children, but don't know how to make a fresh start.

Read the story of Michael:
          Every day as a child, my step-father beat me and my mother turned a blind eye.  When I was 17, I moved in with my biological father.  However, he also beat me.  Despite my difficult home situation, I completed my GED and enrolled in college, but instead of finishing, I dropped out and married.  Now I have three ex-wives, five children, parents with mental illnesses, and a step-father who is an alcoholic.
          Although I worked extra hours at my minimum wage job, I was unable to pay rent.  My children and I moved into a tent to save money.  Regardless, I could not afford food.  In order to feed my kids, I stopped eating.  When I became quite sick, my children and I entered a homeless shelter.
          I left the shelter with a rental voucher and food stamps, but have no income.  My odd jobs at a church provide money for some neccessities.  For a short time, I met with a Case Worker who informed me that I had a mental illness.  I waited for treatment, but when the Case Worker retired, I never received it.  I still exist from day-to-day and I don't see anything changing.

Read the story of Emily:
          When I was 13, my parents died of drug overdoses.  I was forced to move in with my elderly aunt and uncle.  Following their deaths, I lived with my boyfriend, finished high school, and started college.  While in college, I became pregnant, but was determined to complete school.  However, after the birth of my baby, my boyfriend was arrested for an outstanding warrant I didn't even know he had.  No longer able to afford my apartment or continue college, I went to a homeless shelter.  
          At the shelter, a man and I decided to live together.  We managed to get a housing voucher for rent.  I worked nights while my boyfriend was supposed to be watching the baby.  However, every night he partied and got drunk.  He didn't feed my son, or change his diaper.  One day, DHHS visited me and saw my son's poor health.  I lost custody.  Now, two years later, I still haven't regained custody.  How do I ever get him back?    

Read the story of Jennifer:
          My mother was an alcoholic and drug addict.  I never knew my father.  My mother, when she wasn't trying to kill us, would often kick my younger sister and I out of the house.  Sometimes we lived in abusive foster homes and sometimes on our own.  To cope, I started drinking and taking drugs.  My sister and I barely graduated high school, through the goodwill of an excellent teacher, and I started college.  However, the college expelled me due to my addictions.  I married, had a baby, and then divorced.  I started drinking and taking drugs again, which finally, 20 years later, landed me in the hospital due to an overdose.  After leaving the hospital, I entered a homeless shelter.
          Every day, I work on my recovery and remain sober.  I live with a rental voucher, do not work due to chronic disability sustained in birth and childhood, and have no vehicle.  I am also a victim of domestic violence from an live-in ex-boyfriend.  I work on that every day too. 
          I long for my life to be better, but don't know how.

Read the story of Jessica:
          My husband left me while I was delivering my second child.  I moved in with my parents.  When my father passed away, my mother and I worked three full-time minimum wages jobs.  Despite our efforts, we could not afford our rental house and moved into our car.
          We lived in the car with my two children and my mother's two dogs.  In freezing weather, we moved into a cheap motel.  Then my mother broke her ankle.  We no longer could afford the rent and the motel owners informed the police that we were trespassing.  Luckily, a homeless shelter accepted our family and we were able to find people to "foster" my mother's dogs.  Months later, we are still living in the shelter and I am still working my two minimum wage jobs.  I believe this is my life.

Read the story of Sarah:
          My husband was always a little volitile.  Howeve, when he knocked me over the head with a phone, it was the last straw.  I left the house with my two children, my cell phone, and the keys to my old truck.  My parents are deceased and I didn't know where to go.  The truck had almost no gas.  I was without money to buy food. 
          I knew I could stay with a friend of my parents who I had always considered an uncle, but I just had to get to his house.  The local domestic violence agency had a place for me and my kids, but it was even farther away.  The local food pantry required 24 hour's notice to distribute food and my children were crying as they were both hungry and thirsty.  Fortunately, a pantry volunteer managed to get us some essentials, along with a small gas voucher.  I managed to drive to my uncle's, but know I can't impose on him forever.  I have no idea what I will do next.

Read the story of Amy:
          I grew up in a dangerous household.  As soon as I turned 16, I got out and eventually married.  My husband worked hard and even with three kids, we managed to make ends meet.  I strived to be a good mom, unlike mine. 
          One day my husband had a nervous breakdown, was unable to continue work, and was placed in a mental institution.  I couldn't afford the rent and the children and I went to a homeless shelter.  Currently, we are in a rental with a voucher.  Managing expenses continues to be very difficult, even though my oldest child eats in school.  She is misbehaving and I am afraid that she will grow up like my mother.  I want to break out of this negative, unhealthy situation that I live in with my children.  I just don't know how.

Read the story of Brittany:
          I am 24 years old, barely earn $110 a week, and recently divorced.  My husband and I divorced as he was sent to jail for a serious crime he had committed before I met him, and of which I had no idea. My two sons (from a previous marriage) and I are essentially homeless. We currently sleep in my father-in-law’s living room. He wants us to move as soon as possible. He doesn’t know me well and does not feel as if my sons are his grandsons.  He also seems to blame me for my husband’s incarceration, though I have no idea why.  Every other weekend, my husband’s children from a previous marriage come to visit him and I lose the couch.  I’ve slept in the bathtub and even on the stairs. 
         We really need to move, however, I have no idea how to make more money. I was going to college, but that had to stop when my husband was arrested.  In order to receive job-skills and life-skills training, I need some type of safe environment for my boys.  I truly want to turn my life around.

Read the story of Amanda: 
          I am twenty six years old and have a six-year old son. My parents were severely alcoholic and I began drinking in junior high school. When I became pregnant at the age of 17, I stopped drinking. However, my parents kicked me out of the house when they discovered I was pregnant. Despite this, I finished high school before the baby was born and secured Section 8 housing.
          Recently I permitted a friend to stay with me in my apartment. When she overstayed her welcome and took advantage of my generosity one time too many, I asked her to leave. To my disappointment she informed Section 8 that I had allowed her to reside with me, which is not permitted. Consequently I lost my housing voucher, falling behind with my rent. I was evicted and my landlord took me to court. Although I managed to pay him what I owed, he refused to rent to me again.
          Two years ago, my son and I became homeless. I drank again, just one time, but it was more than enough.
When someone reported me to DHHS, I lost custody of my son. Now I am cooperating with the Department, asking for treatment in the family drug court, and trying to achieve long-term sobriety. I long to have my son return to a safe, healthy, loving, and capable parent.
         Meanwhile my son is having difficulties in foster care. He is exhibiting negative emotions and behavior. I feel as though I am best equipped to handle him as I know him the best and love him more than anyone, but while I remain homeless I can’t provide adequately for him. Until I find stable housing and training in life-skills and parenting, my son can’t live with me. I badly need some help to get my son back where he belongs.