In 2009, Jenna realized she was living in an economy that was in a decline. She saw her friends around her struggling in their jobs, with the possibility of begin laid off looming over their heads. She had a good job in sales and was one of the top producers in her office; her heart was heavy for her friends who were being laid off, but thought to herself, “this will never happen to me.”
Over the next five years, Jenna struggled with consistent employment, stable housing, and depression. With the help of her family and friends, she had a roof over her head and found work that paid enough to survive. However, in March of 2014, Jenna’s company downsized, and she found herself unemployed once again. She had enough to pay rent for a few months, but it wasn’t enough. Her family had moved out of state, and the places she once found refuge were not longer there. She found herself homeless in late spring of 2014, and began living out of her car. Jenna, a disabled, single woman, moving from lot to lot each night, was desperate to find a safe place to sleep. She went from living a comfortable, safe life, to being homeless in an instant.
“I used to look down on people who were homeless. I would think to myself, ‘Why would they choose this life?’ It wasn’t until I became homeless that I realized that anyone can be homeless; you don’t always choose this life.”
When Jenna found Mercy House, she had been living in her car for months and was living off what little income she could.
“It’s so sad to lose everything,” Jenna said as tears welled in her eyes. Sleeping in my car is better than sleeping on the streets, but it’s still scary each night. I knew that I had to do something.”
As Jenna sat with her Mercy House case manager, she was told about a housing program that was fitting for her. With the help of her case manager, Jenna obtained assistance because of her disability, and she would have enough to cover rent. Her case manger would help her find an apartment, and she could once again have a roof over her head. On October 29, 2014, Jenna moved into her new home.
“When I walked into my new apartment, I thought to myself, ‘Yesterday I was homeless, but today I have a home.’ I have Mercy House to thank because of that.”