Growing Up in Shelter
“Cassie” came into the shelter at New Horizons five years ago with her mother and siblings as an under-age minor and about 6 months pregnant. She was struggling in high school, in life, and with shelter living. She gave birth to her child while in shelter and after about six months, she eventually moved with her family to their own apartment. She was not allowed to have contact with the father of the child due to her age and court proceedings regarding her being underage.
She stayed with her mom, eventually graduating from high school, and has been working in fast food to support her entire family. In the meantime, she also had her second child at age 18 and seemed to be managing her life. Her siblings are still in school and living with their mother however, her mother eventually returned to her abuser and life at home had become very strenuous.
Cassie was feeling uncomfortable with living at the home due to the behavior of her mother’s boyfriend, which was getting increasingly violent and abusive toward her mother. Recently he was being investigated for possibly sexually assaulting her younger sister. Cassie believes it’s true and happened, because he had also made advances on her and her two children. Her mother was not helpful with protecting her or anyone in the home, so one night she fled from the house to come back to shelter.
The abusive situation was reported and her mother was upset because she fears she may not be able to pay the bills with her boyfriend out of the house. Cassie’s mom is very reliant on her boyfriend for making her decisions and providing for her and the rest of her children.
While Cassie has been at New Horizons this time, she is working hard at two jobs and has her children in a safe childcare program with County assistance. She also has met with her Resource Advocate to work on housing assistance and getting applications filled out for the priority list. She is now waiting for an apartment to open up so she and her children will not have to rely upon her mother for housing. This will be Cassie’s first apartment and she is very excited for this opportunity. Advocates at New Horizons have also been discussing with Cassie the idea of going to college and the many opportunities for her and her children that could become available by furthering her education.
Cassie has been in shelter nine times—literally growing up there since the first stay in 2005 as a child, to her current stay as an adult and mother. She is making plans to ensure this cycle does not continue with either of her children, so they never have to experience being a victim of domestic abuse or sexual assault. New Horizons continues to work with Cassie to help her with the resources she needs to get on the path for a better life for herself and her children.
Learn more about New Horizons Shelter & Outreach Centers HERE.