Intergenerational trauma is an ongoing theme we see in the women who come to My Friend’s House. When women are brought up in families where abuse has happened regularly during their childhood, where there is addiction or undiagnosed mental health issues, it sets a precedent for how family life should be. And oftentimes, women have a hard time breaking these cycles.
Sasha had stayed at My Friend’s House as a child. Her mother was regularly abused by her father and they were in and out of different housing situations. Now, as an adult, Sasha was struggling with maintaining housing long-term due to never knowing what this looked like growing up. She was never taught how to manage her finances on her own. Sasha did not recognize the abuse in her previous relationship until discussing it with staff on a regular basis.
My Friend’s House staff met with Sasha on a regular basis, providing support around her mental health and also working with her on budgeting and organization. We also helped her recover a large number of her belongings – items she thought she had lost due to missing payments on a storage unit – by advocating on her behalf. With some explanation, the storage company proved to be understanding of what she was going through and they came up with a fair compromise at minimal cost.
Sometimes we are able to act as a liaison for our clients to better explain their situation when it is hard for them to verbalize it themselves.
Following the recovery of Sasha’s items from storage, Chelsey, our Transitional Housing worker, was able to assist Sasha in securing housing in the community – in time for her kids to be registered for school. Through the minimal grants we have, Chelsey was able to assist with getting Sasha some support with first and last month’s rent. Through My Friends House supporters and our generous donors, we were able to provide her with the furniture she needed to start over. We also utilized the “Fresh Start” program to get her all the important day to day items she needs for her home.
By educating Sasha on the proper practices around budgeting and managing finances, eliminating unnecessary expenses and helping her keep to a diligent tracking system, she was able to acquire housing long-term – and she still keeps in touch with us about the resources she learned from My Friend’s House. And because we helped her recognize the signs of abuse in her relationships, Sasha felt more confident and improved her self-worth – which gave her the courage to start again.