House of Ruth

Michelle’s Story

Michelle* and her three children lives in one of House of Ruth’s supportive housing programs for mothers and children who have survived domestic violence. Like more than thirty other House of Ruth residents, Michelle recently lost her job as a direct result of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Michelle is a dedicated, hard worker. She is certified to provide in-home healthcare. She has gone through difficult times before, having cared for terminally ill patients who passed away, which meant she was out of work for periods of time. Most recently she worked in Maryland. This situation started off well when she had a car, but when the car broke down and needed prohibitively expensive repairs, she had to take public transportation. This meant two bus rides and one metro ride just to take her daughter to daycare and get to work. House of Ruth was able to help her some with Lyft rides, but most of her wages went to transportation costs. Despite these challenges, Michelle was determined to keep working.

Today, House of Ruth is supporting Michelle with essentials (e.g. toilet paper, groceries) while she waits for her unemployment and stimulus checks to come through. She has also applied for food stamps. More time at home has given Michelle a chance to reflect, and she has realized she needs more education to obtain a healthcare position that pays a sustainable wage. She is researching degree programs. Our staff will be there for her as she figures out how to make this happen. Staff empowers every client we serve by helping them create a personal budget, and Michelle’s budget includes making regular, minimal payments on an educational loan for which she is in default. This has already set her up to move forward with her new plans in a reasonable time frame, and will keep her past challenges from preventing her from reaching her goals.

Michelle is a wonderful mother who wants the best for her children, and works hard to stay tuned into their needs. She has sought the help of our staff to make sure her children are able to complete their school assignments during the quarantine. Both of her boys are elementary school age and on the honor roll. This morning she joyfully announced that her older son was accepted into a middle school for gifted students, which he will attend in the fall. She makes sure the boys stay very active, and they have excelled while playing on multiple sports teams.

Her three year-old daughter, Elise*, attends Kidspace, our developmental childcare center. Like many children who have gone through trauma, Elise has experienced developmental delays. This was difficult for Michelle to recognize, but with supportive guidance from our staff, she was able to see the need for testing. Since then Elise has received regular speech therapy at Kidspace. Today she is doing so well!

As we face the reality of the current COVID-19 crisis, our staff is helping Michelle and all our clients process their anxieties, problem-solve in the face of new challenges, and remember their resilience — they have already come through so much. Michelle has faced many setbacks in her life, but she is vigilant in moving forward. She is a wonderful example for us all during difficult times. Michelle regularly expresses her appreciation for the help she has received from House of Ruth.

*Names have been changed.