My Home is my Palace
When you’re homeless and sleeping on someone’s floor, finding a permanent, secure and affordable place to live can feel like a miracle. Once you do find that place, such as an efficiency unit at Pathlight HOME’s Maxwell Terrace Apartments, making it feel like your very own palace can seem next to impossible. Thanks to the wonderful donors to our new Pathlight Marketplace, which opened in early August, that does, indeed, happen. In fact, we’ve served more than 75 residents so far!
Yvonne moved into her Maxwell Terrace apartment in August, amazed that she had heard back from us during the coronavirus pandemic. “I thought they wouldn’t call because of the virus…the only people who got back to me are here [our staff]!” Having recently come to Orlando from Miami, Yvonne had been living with a friend and her husband and sleeping on a cot in their bedroom, which presented some compromising situations. In addition, there was much uneasiness about what was whose in the kitchen. “I had so much anxiety and was so depressed…I lost so much weight…I couldn’t eat.”
Once a steadily employed Juvenile Court Reporter and Visiting Nurses translator, Yvonne had been “volunteered” by her sisters in the 1990s to quit her job, move to Miami, and take care of their ailing mother. When their mom died after four years, she spent the next six years ministering to their sick father. He became violent and she moved out on her own, depending on babysitting and a small “benefits “check to get by. Over the years, that became impossible and she became homeless.
Homelessness now in her past, a contented Yvonne exclaims, “I’m eating; I’m sleeping! Everyone here is very kind. They listen to you and take time to solve your problem.” About her new apartment, she delightedly says, “I love my apartment. It’s so good to have your own place, so you can do whatever you want, whenever you want. Nobody knocks on my door, except when they want to give me something. I get up at 3:00 or 4:00 in the morning…bright and early…thanking God for another day. I sweep; I have coffee. It smells so good! I can read and listen to music. ”
Adamant about keeping her apartment neat and clean, she’s extremely excited about making it her own with the help of Pathlight Marketplace. “I was amazed,” says Yvonne about her visit to the Marketplace with Gabriella Trevino, our Community Engagement & Development Manager. “Gabriella said it was okay to take whatever I wanted…that I could take more than one thing! They give you things you need that you can’t afford, like (new) underwear. I got towels, hygiene items, a hair dryer, a can opener and even a green vase that matches my green pillow!”
With another Marketplace visit planned, Yvonne is excited and grateful. “I want to finish fixing my apartment,” she says. “I like things nice. My home is my palace!”
This holiday season, we invite you to make your Year-End Gift to our Pathlight HOME Warming Fund. You will help us buy some new necessities of HOME for our more-than 600 residents that will supplement the donated pots, pans, linens, hygiene items and more you have so generously given. Remember, one person’s object is another’s treasure. Thank you in advance for helping us to offer the treasures of HOME.