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In the News Resident Stories

“I don’t know where I’d be if I didn’t come to Cross Roads House”

By Jessica Parker

Jessica first came to Cross Roads House four years ago. “The first time I was confronted with being homeless and having to go to a shelter, it was scary. I didn’t know what to expect. Once I got here I realized it’s not that bad.”

Unfortunately, Jessica was still actively using drugs, and hiding it from everyone. “The first time I was here wasn’t a good time for me. I was actively using. I just got to a point where I didn’t care anymore. Using drugs had a lot to do with that.”

Jessica left the shelter to move to Ohio. She stopped using drugs, but things were still challenging. She decided to return to New Hampshire to be closer to her family. Jessica got an apartment and was living independently, but then she relapsed. “I overdosed and I went to rehab for 28 days.”

When she completed rehab, she thought things were better. She was sober and she got married. For a while things seemed fine.

“I did not know I had married an abusive man and when I finally found my way out, I had nowhere to go. Thankfully, I came here.”

Jessica returned to Cross Roads House, determined to turn her life around for her and her children. She started working with a case manager on housing applications, finding work, and connecting with community resources. “When you first get here, the paperwork is overwhelming. There are some housing applications that are like books. They’re so thick. It’s relieving to have a case manager. When everything is so stressful, you have somebody there to help you. The case managers know so many different ways to go about things. The resources that they have are ridiculous. There were things I didn’t know about and my case manager pointed me in the right direction.”

While at the shelter, Jessica was working. Her children were attending school, and on breaks, Cross Roads House helped them to enroll in camp or other activities.

“You guys are always keeping the kids busy so they’re not just sitting here bored. Even when we have family meetings the kids are always doing stuff with volunteers. It gave me time to do what I needed to do.”

After nine months of hard work, Jessica received word that an apartment was available, and that she would be moving out of the shelter. “I’m excited to be back in our own place, but looking at all the responsibilities that come with your own place – balancing everything with work, and the kids, and everyday life – is nerve-wracking. The thing that makes me excited the most is being able to cook a real dinner in an oven. That’s my number one thing. I love to cook, so that’s the most exciting thing for me.”

To help with the transition, Jessica works with one of our Housing Stability Case Managers (HSCM). The HSCM provides case management assistance to residents moving out of the shelter and into permanent housing. She works with individuals and families in their new homes, helping them to manage a budget, stay connected to community resources set up at the shelter, identify and connect with additional resources, and can serve as a resource for the landlord, should the need arise.

Jessica is thrilled to be living with her children in their new apartment. “I don’t know where I’d be if I didn’t come to Cross Roads, but it would not have been good at all. Now I’m clean and sober almost two years. It feels good to say that.”

Jessica is grateful for all the help she received from Cross Roads House and is looking forward to the future. “The most rewarding thing is the feeling of getting your independence back.”

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Last year Cross Roads House provided 38,167 bed nights of shelter to 527 people, including 31 families with 58 children. Contributions at all levels from people like you are needed to help us provide shelter and services to homeless families and individuals.
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