Shayna’s Story: One Day Made All the Difference
Shayna* arrived at the shelter with her two-year-old son, struggling mentally and physically after having fled a physically and emotionally violent relationship. A few weeks after arriving, she learned that she was pregnant, and worried about where she would live and how she would raise two children. Working closely with a counselor and her FCC Service Coordinator, Brandi, Shayna’s time during and after shelter included external counseling and mental health care referrals, referral to family planning for prenatal care, connection to healthy babies programs, and referral for her child receive additional services.
“At least if I went back to him, we wouldn’t be homeless… at least with him I knew what to expect…” -Shayna, reflecting on the night she almost returned to the violence she so recently escaped.
Throughout her stay at the shelter, Shayna continued to take meaningful steps toward achieving her goals. She enrolled in school, participated in house meetings and groups, socialized with other clients in the shelter, and made friends for the first time in a long time. Still – feeling frustrated by a difficult and timely search for affordable housing and facing doubts about providing a roof over her son and newborn’s heads, Shayna was preparing for a return to her abuser.
“She just needed to get her feet firmly planted on the ground and a helping hand to keep moving forward. So that’s exactly what we did.” -Brandi, Service Coordinator Manager
After consultation with her Service Coordinator, she agreed to stay one more day. It was that very day she received word that FCC was successful in helping to secure permanent supportive housing. Shortly thereafter, Shayna and her son exited the shelter and moved into their new, safe home.
In Shayna’s words
What changed the most for you during your time working with FCC?
Stabilizing mental health, establishing a connection with a long-term support system to continue working hard and making real friends for the first time – many I still speak with.
How do you see your future now, compared to when you first came to FCC?
I finished school in accounting and now have a career in the field. I have my own car and my kids are doing great.
What would you say to your past self?
Be gentle on you, you deserve everything good in this world. It wasn’t your fault. You’re stronger than you know.
What do you want your kids to know?
I hope they know that I just wanted to live in the light and that they were my strength in some of my weakest moments.
What’s something you’d say to others in your shoes?
Stay present but plan to move in silence.
*Personal details, including name, have been changed to protect the survivor’s identity.