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“I wouldn’t be where I am today without Cross Roads House.”

By Jessica Parker

Before Kristy came to Cross Roads House, she was living with her fiancé’s parents. She was working towards recovery from substance use disorder, and her fiancé was in jail. When the landlord found out that Kristy was staying in the apartment but was not on the lease, he said if she did not move out, he would have to evict all of them. “They’re in their 70’s and 80’s. I couldn’t let that happen. I didn’t have a stable place, so I came here.”

Kristy was apprehensive about moving into a homeless shelter with her four-month-old infant. “Coming to Cross Roads House, I didn’t know what to expect. I was horrified. I thought it would be similar to jail. That’s the picture I had in my mind. I was surprised that the baby and I had our own room, my older son could come visit, the meals were great, and I didn’t have to leave during the day. I mean what do you do with an infant for the day if you have nowhere to be?”

Kristy worked with a Case Manager to assess her needs and formulate a plan to get her into permanent housing. She was surprised by all the community resources with which her Case Manager was able to connect her. “I had never heard of Operation Blessing, Share Fund, or Womenaid. I had no idea, other than food pantries, that there were places out there to provide help. It makes you feel more confident that if something happens, like your car breaks down, that there may be someone out there to help so you can still pay your rent.”

According to Kristy, one of the most significant connections she made while at the shelter was with Seacoast Mental Health Center. “Seacoast Mental Health was a big support for me. That was a big thing that kept me stable. Mentally, I’m probably in a better emotional place then I ever have been, so that was huge. [My Case Manager] really pushed me to go there. I really didn’t want to, but I needed to. I’m glad she pushed me. Now I wouldn’t even think twice about going to a therapist again.”

While Kristy was staying at Cross Roads House, her fiancé passed away. She credits the staff for helping her through some very difficult times. “It’s been a long year. I’ve had so much tragedy. The staff is amazing, because you always had someone to talk to. If I wasn’t here I don’t think I would have had the support around me that I needed. I probably would have gone back to using drugs. I had everyone rooting for me, and I didn’t want to disappoint myself and I didn’t want to let everyone down. I feel like I have a fan club. It just helped keep me on the right path.”

Kristy’s Case Manager also connected her with the New Hampshire Employment Program (NHEP), which helps NH families become self-supporting by providing employment opportunities, job readiness, education, and training services. “It turned out to be really great for me. It got me started on the path to becoming a CRSW (Certified Recovery Support Worker). If I wasn’t here, I don’t think I would have been able to do that, and to go as far as I’ve gotten. I think that’s a huge success for me that I’m going to school again.”

Kristy is looking forward to finishing her CRSW program and helping others in the community. “I think I’m a pretty strong person. I’ve been through a lot. I think anyone battling drug abuse and mental illness could learn a lot from me. I just hope someday someone will hear my story and it will help change their life. If I could help one girl not go through what I went through, it would mean the world to me.”

Kristy is also hoping that her success can set a good example for her oldest son. “I would love to graduate someday and to have [my son] be there just to show him that you can struggle, and you can do all the wrong things, but you can still fix it. That’s a valuable lesson for anyone to learn. You’ve just got to work really hard at it.”

Kristy is grateful for the support she received at Cross Roads House, whether from staff, volunteers, or donors. “I hope people understand how grateful I am. If I could thank each person who helped me individually, I would. That saying ‘it takes a village,’ is so true. I wouldn’t be where I am today without Cross Roads House.”

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Last year Cross Roads House provided 34,124 bed nights of shelter to 446 people, including 30 families with 62 children. Two-thirds of our funding comes from private donations. We rely on contributions at all levels from people like you to help us provide shelter and supportive services to homeless families and individuals.
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