Xochil's Story

Post date: Oct 15, 2009 3:02:27 PM

Before I came to the LOTSM shelter… I didn’t have a home, I didn’t have a job, I didn’t have a clue of what was going to happen in my life, I wasn’t even able to work in the U.S legally. The only thing I knew; was that I was in an unstable situation and that I couldn’t handle anymore. I especially didn’t want my 1 year old daughter to go through it. Coming to the LOTSM shelter was the boost that my daughter and I needed to survive, and with help of all the different volunteers and all the different local churches my situation slowly changed.

I was assisted with diapers, food, clothes, and rides to and back from appointments. I got help with my resume and training and workshop fees. When my work permit arrived, I was ready to find a job. I remember them being there cheering me on my first interview; and for me having such a positive support system was really important. I came out of that interview feeling really confident. Sure enough in September I was called to start my first substitute job at Clackamas county Head Start.

Next it was time to find an apartment that for me was the most challenging part of the process; because I didn’t have any rental history, and my income was lower than what I could afford. There was also another factor to keep in mind was where? I remember riding with one of the volunteers all through Gladstone, Milwaukie, and Oak Grove looking for low-income apartments. And nothing, they were either too far away or they had a long waiting list. I could not wait three to six months to get a place to live.

One day I took a different bus to go work and I saw a sign that said “If you lived here you’d be home by now.” I thought to myself the sign had a very valid point. It was located perfectly in a flexible location. It was near two different bus lines, the grocery store was across the street. And it was a minimal walking distance to my new job at the oak grove learning tree. Also a very convenient job since it was the same daycare that the LOTSM volunteers helped me find after I got my job at Head Start.

I was really lucky that my social worker from Clackamas County helped me obtain Section 8 eligibility. Otherwise I couldn’t have afforded it on my own. LOTSM even helped me with the cleaning deposit. When the apartment manager told me that they had a one bedroom available and that they did receive Section 8; I remember time flew from there. The next thing I knew, I had the keys to my first apartment and volunteers where helping me move.

LOTSM helped me with simple but very important things. Things I didn’t have, like dishes, a bed, cleaning supplies, couches, table chairs, lamps, even shower curtains. They gave me a place to live, and they turned my little empty apartment into a home. LOTSM gave our lives a 360 degree spin. They turn all my negetives into positives and they turned all my I CANTs into I DIDs.

The shelter even brought me closer to God and deepened my faith in Him and in people. I cannot express in words on how welcome I feel when I visit the Lake Oswego United Church of Christ. And I know that I will never lose this connections with them.

Today, thanks to LOTSM, I now own a three bedroom mobile home and I feel even more stable than ever, now that I can proudly say I own that property in full. HONESTLY what I have now is thanks to LOTSM it gave me a chance to move up in life and to keep me and my daughter off the streets. And for that I will forever be grateful.

I know that sometimes that when people donate something they don’t always know where it goes or they just keep wondering if it was worth it. And did it actually make a difference? Well I would answer that in a heartbeat "Yes!!". It is worth it and and it made a huge difference in our lives and it will still keep making a difference for years to come. I for one am still working and I will keep trying for a better future.