Autumn and her daughter eventually entered the Women’s Resource Center shelter. She recalls their first night spent in the shelter was Christmas Eve; a time usually spent with family and friends amid the comforts of home. Despite spending the holidays at the shelter, Autumn kept her head up and tried to make the best of their situation. Eventually she and her daughter were admitted into Sarah’s House, a transitional housing situation for shelter residents. She secured a job, working in the Women’s Resource Center thrift shop in exchange for rent. Sarah’s House allowed Autumn to finally breathe a sigh of relief, as she was able to focus on maintaining a job instead of securing housing. But even though things were improving, Sarah’s House was not a permanent living situation.
In 2010, Autumn was referred to Northwest Michigan Supportive Housing (NMSH) and found a permanent home, where she still lives today. “It sounds silly, but my daughter and I walked around in our underwear for a week when we first moved in. It was the first time we were ever able to do that- we finally had our own home,” Autumn fondly remembers. In addition to a home, NMSH was able to provide the support and stability for Autumn to focus on her sobriety and provide for her daughter. “As things got more stable, it got easier [to stay clean]. I didn’t want to use, I didn’t want to be that. How do I have the right to spend even $5 on drugs?”
Autumn also came to NMSH with a large debt from Consumers Energy. Because of this, NMSH subsidized her rental payments so she could work to pay off the debt she had incurred. These supportive services are crucial to the success of each client within the program.Today, that debt has been paid off, and Autumn is working as a caregiver to persons with special needs. “Once I was in the program, I finally felt like I was taking care of my family and that enabled me to take care of myself,” Autumn adds.
“Once I was in the program, I finally felt like I was taking care of my family and that enabled me to take care of myself”
Autumn’s story is not uncommon among the tenants in NMSH’s program. By providing Autumn and her daughter with a safe, stable and permanent home, NMSH was able to begin working with Autumn to address the issues that caused her homelessness in the first place. NMSH provides permanent supportive housing for homeless individuals and their families struggling with a substance abuse issue or mental health need in the five county region of Northwest Michigan. In addition to housing, NMSH provides supportive services, such as clinical psychological services, in an effort to increase the likelihood of successful independent living.