My name is Monica and my daughter’s name is Olivia*. Our homelessness journey started well before becoming a part of Lydia’s House. In 2019 I decided to move back in with my family, specifically my grandparents, to get help with Olivia while I went back to school. In my head this was a great idea, but Lord knows I wasn’t expecting the whirlpool of changes ahead of us.
My time with my grandparents ended pretty quickly. We did a lot of house-hopping over the next few years, as we moved from my grandparents’ house to a friend of mine’s house over the river in Kentucky, to my uncle’s small one bedroom apartment, and lastly to my mom’s place.
This was a very hard time for me, and even though Olivia was only three/four years old at the time, I knew this took a toll on her as well. These two and a half years included an overwhelming amount of mental chaos, pressure and emotions. It felt as if I were dying a slow death. Every day felt like an attack. Every day felt like a battlefield. I was exhausted.
Finally, my mom’s place was no longer an option for us. We were looking at yet another move, and I had to face the fact we were homeless. This time, I was adamant about doing what I needed to do to do for Olivia and I to receive the help we needed. I reached out to my oldest sister who was a former Lydia’s House resident, and she told me how to reach out to the shelter. I checked the website, and applied for a room.
The first person I spoke to was Macey. Macey held the interview with me and briefly asked a few questions about Olivia and our living conditions, and more about my employment status. She then told me that my application would be reviewed, and I will be contacted with a move-in date if everything looked good and my background check came back okay. Days later I received a phone call with an official move-in date. I knew this was going to be the change that me and Olivia needed!
I wasn’t sure what we were walking into, but I knew that I was ready. On March 3rd 2022 Olivia and I moved into Lydia’s House. It felt really good to not have to sleep in a basement for one more night.
My first impression of Lydia’s House was bitter sweet. It was sweet because Lydia’s House is one of the best shelters in the city. It was bitter because even though we had stable shelter, my reality was still staring me in the face.
The first 30 days were rough. I had to adjust to the rules, the structure, the personalities of the women and children who moved in shortly afterwards. There were so many names I had to remember!
I call the rules at Lydia’s House discipline. There is a 9:00 pm curfew, a daily time period for guests to be out of the shelter, mandatory dinners, and a no drugs & an alcohol-free policy. It was exactly what I needed after coming from almost three years of living astray. After adjusting, I just tried my best to stay consistent and show that I could get through my shelter stay.
I have a few appreciations from our stay at Lydia’s House. My first appreciation would be the family dynamic at the dinners that were held on Mondays, Tuesdays and Wednesdays. My second appreciation would be the structure & rules. They keep the organization’s morality firm, as they hold current and former guests to a standard as well as the staff of Lydia’s House. My third appreciation I would say is the Lydia’s House team involvement with their guests. They showed true patience and empathy.
I can honestly say I’m very proud of myself for sticking through with the program. I am happy that I’ve opened myself up to the opportunities and the many gatherings Lydia’s House had to offer. This really helped me build my confidence and self-worth. I really began to feel like family. My relationship with Olivia grew stronger within this time too. We have truly come a long way.
Currently, I am working with Radio-One where I am a Promotions Assistant, a job I started while at Lydia’s House after graduating from Ohio Media School. I hope to continue to expand in the field of Radio, Broadcasting and Media.
It’s been a huge year not just for me, but for Olivia as well. She experienced daycare for the first time ever in her four years of life. She also celebrated her fifth birthday with the Lydia’s House community, and this fall she started kindergarten like a pro. Olivia is my little trooper, and I am grateful for her.
I strive to be a good mom for her. Which is why I am focusing on how I can better myself. Better my health, better my wisdom, be better in kindness, and better myself with God. I believe If I can expand who I am this betterment will overflow into Olivia’s life.
One thing I would like to remember from my time at Lydia’s House is what it felt like to be in a safe environment. For me this speaks volumes, because nothing feels better than being in a place where you have nothing to worry about.
Thank you, Lydia’s House.
*Names have been changed to preserve the writer’s anonymity.