E4C’s Crossroads Outreach offers support to homeless and sexually exploited women. Through partnership with the Housing First initiative, Crossroads Downtown offers interim housing to women who have multiple barriers that hinder their chances of obtaining permanent housing. For our 2012 Annual Report, Jaimie shared the story of her journey from homelessness to shelter, respite and hope.
Jaimie had known Hans, the Crossroads Outreach Team Leader, for five years. The consistency of their relationship had resulted in trust. So, when Hans visited the storage closet Jaimie was living in, Jaimie accepted Hans’ invitation to move into Crossroads Downtown.
It was in a tough time in Jaimie’s life. She was dealing with trauma, addictions and mental health issues, and she was pregnant. Jaimie was a tough personality and had uncontrollable anger. Knowing that, the staff at Crossroads Downtown made a conscious effort to work with Jaimie’s personality instead of against it. If Jaimie was having a bad day, they would leave her be. The space they gave her was the support she needed.
The staff watched her change little by little. She steadily gained respect for the staff. As her respect grew, so did the consciousness of her actions. She developed skills to manage her anger, she regained trust and she found stability. She became more patient, polite and respectful. She started to connect with family members, spending more time talking with them and helping them, rather than blaming them for the past.
Jaimie lived at Crossroads Downtown for five months, staying there until almost the end of her pregnancy. She moved out into an apartment two weeks before she had her beautiful baby girl. The staff at the hospital worked with Jaimie so she was able to bring her baby to her new home after being released from the hospital.
She became clean, and five months later, she is still in her apartment with her baby daughter. Eliviah is Jaimie’s third child. Jaimie describes her bond with Eliviah as something different. Through the skills she learned and the bond she has with her baby, Jaimie says, “She broke me. She broke my bad habits. All the bad I had was suddenly gone. She’s like me in a bundle. And I have to protect her.”
Reflecting on Jaimie’s journey, Crossroads Downtown Manager, Catia Lima concludes, “How many times in our lives have we felt lost and alone and feel that nobody cares? We are thankful that we can provide hope, support and compassion for women going through a truly difficult time in life. And through that, we help them to succeed.”