Malissa

Meet Malissa.

You changed her life.

Malissa grew up in California with her family and lived a happy, suburban life. She never knew her life would end up the way it did. 

“People always like to think it’ll never happen to them, or that only poor people end up homeless, but that’s not true. We come from all walks of life. You get hit with a big crisis and that could be you standing on the side of the road. You never know what life will throw at you.” 

“People always like to think it’ll never happen to them, or that only poor people end up homeless, but that’s not true.” 

Five years ago, Malissa found herself in an extremely abusive situation. Malissa had never witnessed abuse before and thought that it was her fault, so she buckled down and tried to make it work. But after years of physical, mental, and emotional abuse, her partner took her money and left the state, leaving her no place to live. 

“I went from having a home and savings, to nothing – overnight. You know, the abuse is hard to live with, but the financial abuse is the worst. When they take everything you ever had and just leave, starting over is almost impossible.”

“I went from having a home and savings, to nothing – overnight. You know, the abuse is hard to live with, but the financial abuse is the worst. When they take everything you ever had and just leave, starting over is almost impossible.” 

Without money for an apartment, Malissa had to wait for her next few checks before she could find a new home. With nowhere else to turn to, she ended up sleeping in an irrigation tunnel below an intersection. Unable to consistently shower or get transportation, Malissa lost her job, only making her challenge that much harder.

With nowhere else to turn to, Malissa ended up sleeping in an irrigation tunnel below an intersection.

“I had hope, but my hope was so little. My hope was just ‘this is all I got. Out of all these years in my life, this is what I got and I am going to accept it.’ But was I going to keep living like this? No. I was going to make this better.”

A friend of Malissa’s reached out and got her into A New Leaf’s Faith House Domestic Violence Shelter. The women’s shelter gave Malissa a place to feel safe and wanted. There she also found other people who have gone through similar things she had experienced. 

“It was such a blessing to be there. I finally knew I wasn’t alone in the  challenges I was facing. I got to talk to a counselor about what I had experienced and come to terms with it. I felt alive for the first time in years.”

During her time at A New Leaf’s Faith House, Malissa was able to enroll into Glendale Community College and there she was able to pick up a trade. After her time ended at Faith House, Malissa moved into La Mesita where she was able to continue her education. 

When Malissa moved into A New Leaf’s La Mesita Apartments, she was so grateful for everything she was provided with. From the bed covers, the stove, the pans, and everything in between that Malissa couldn’t afford when she was homeless was provided in her apartment. In addition, La Mesita Apartments provided Malissa with a place to feel comfortable and to call home. 

La Mesita Apartments provided Malissa with a place to feel comfortable and to call home. 

“If it helped me and it’s still helping me, it’s going to help many more people. So I appreciate you, I really do. A New Leaf has been a place of refuge for me.”

Currently, Malissa is preparing to pass the torch on to somebody else who is ready to accept help. Working with her case worker, she has been planning her exit for some time, and is ready to move out and live independently.

Help someone like Malissa today, by donating!

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