As a single mother of three young children, Lonique fought hard to build a safe and stable home for her family. “In Michigan, I was making over $15 an hour. I had a house a car, and my credit score was over 700. We were happy.” But things were still hard as a single parent.
When her daughter’s father, Michael, promised his job in Arizona could provide for them, she took a chance. “My family is the most important thing to me. I would do anything for my children. If they could have a father that was there for them, I had to try and make it work.”
So Lonique and her children moved from Michigan to Arizona. “I left everything I had behind. Arizona was supposed to be a fresh start.”
But Lonique quickly learned Michael lied to her about many things. “He quit his job without telling me. We didn’t have anywhere to stay. I put all of us up in a hotel just to keep off the streets.”
Soon, Lonique started running out of money. “It was terrifying. I was thousands of miles from home, with no family, no money, no job, and three kids to provide for. The closer we got to running out of money, the angrier he got, and the more hopeless I got.” Michael started drinking and stealing money from Lonique to pay for his habit.
“He used the last $10 in our checking account to buy beer. I told him he couldn’t do that anymore. He dragged me out of the car and put his hands on me. The next day, he threatened to hurt our daughter – I called A New Leaf’s Domestic Violence Hotline.”
Lonique and her children were brought to A New Leaf’s Faith House that same night. This emergency shelter serves 200 women and children a year, and would provide safety and stability to Lonique’s family for the next several months.
It was a turning point. Lonique recalled, “When I first got to Faith House, I felt there was no hope… but every day got easier. Now I feel free.”
With A New Leaf’s Faith House providing a safe place to sleep, travel assistance, free child care, and attentive staff to help Lonique’s family recover from the trauma of abuse, things started to look a little brighter. She was able to secure a job, get a car, and begin planning for long-term independence.
Faith House’s staff was there to make sure Lonique knew she was never alone. “My caseworker was my emotional rock. She’d tell me, ‘Lonique, it’s okay to cry. But you get back up, and you keep going – for your kids, and for you.’ And I did.”
After four months, Lonique was accepted into a 2-year housing program. Lonique knows A New Leaf’s Faith House saved her family – and her life. “Without Faith House, I don’t know where I’d be. I am so thankful.”
Reflecting on her experience, Lonique feels strong. “If you need help, seek it. You will be okay. There were so many times I thought going to a shelter was the wrong choice for my kids. But I didn’t need to. Because of Faith House my kids are safe now, and I have a home.”
On behalf of Lonique – and thousands of domestic violence survivors – thank you for supporting A New Leaf. Because of you, they found a safe place to turn during one of life’s most terrifying moments.