Starr’s Story

You Saved Starr from Homelessness

“Being homeless means you’re dirty. It means you smell. It means no one will want to give you a job. It means that most people have given up on you. That’s not a place anyone wants to be, and it’s hard to get out by yourself.” 

Starr was in her mid-sixties when she became homeless, and it came as a shock. It was summer time when she found herself on the streets, and she constantly wondered if she would suffer from heat stroke or some other ailment. 

“Being homeless means  that most people have given up on you. That’s not a place anyone wants to be.”

“I’m old, and that makes being homeless a completely different thing. The younger folks do alright, but I struggled to get by. And you see a lot of the other folks pass away, you know. I had a few older friends I met on the streets that died, and that scared me a lot.”

She had been working as a personal caretaker for several years, living in a facility with her clients. But, when Starr’s job fell through, she suddenly had nowhere to go and nowhere to stay.

“I was homeless for five years after that. I kind of gave up on myself for a while, and you almost have to just to get by. You always have to have your guard up to keep yourself safe, and you can’t let how people look at you get to you. You just can’t care or that stuff eats you up inside.”

Bouncing from shelter to shelter, Starr tried to get back on her feet, but the constant moving and uncertainty made finding a job hard. The longer she was on the streets, the harder it was to find a place to live and work. 

“I just couldn’t afford anything at that time, and no one was willing to give me a hand up, give me a chance to succeed.”

“I just wanted to pay my way and do right by those around me. I just couldn’t afford anything at that time, and no one was willing to give me a hand up, give me a chance to succeed.” 

After five years, Starr finally found a long term home at La Mesita Apartments. Here, her rent is determined by the income she brings in each month, ensuring she won’t find herself on the streets again. She is able to pay for her housing, without going broke or ending up homeless.

“I finally found a place I could count on, and it felt like home. For the first time in years, I started to feel like a human being again, like I had dignity. I can never explain how much that meant to me, how thankful I am.”

Now, Starr is working towards her goals of finding work, achieving financial stability, and giving back to those that have helped here. 

“Out on the streets it’s rough, people feel desperate. I want to show them that they can get help if they need it, that organizations like A New Leaf can intervene and give them a chance. I go to every event, every class, every community building activity to make this place a success – because I love it here.”

“I got a second chance and guess what? It worked out. I am finally okay again. I am so thankful.”

Asked what her biggest takeaway was from her experience with homelessness, Starr had some strong words for other people facing crisis.

“I got a second chance and guess what? It worked out. I am finally okay again. I have a home and I pay my bills on time. I never thought I would get here, but look at me now. I did it, and anyone else on the streets can too. You just need to try.”

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