Alyssia Jarvis knows what homelessness feels like. She endured living out of her car, in hotels and campgrounds for 6 months due to a bug problem in her home. “I just couldn’t deal with it anymore. I was becoming isolated because no one would come over and no one would let me come to their place. It was embarrassing.”
She needed to find a place to live as the temperatures were turning colder. She submitted an application at Dove Harbor, a local women’s and children’s shelter, and then waited. To add to her struggle of homelessness, she was also dealing with health issues. She was so excited when she received a call and learned that she was accepted and a room was available, “from that point on, it was wonderful.” Alyssia stayed on for 1 ½ years while getting her life on track, and seeing a new future for herself.
“The support at Dove Harbor is amazing,” shares Alyssia. Because of her experience, she shares her story with everyone, including two ladies on the bus that were wanting to know what Dove Harbor is and what they do. “It’s life-changing. If you work for it, they will work for you.”
It was through Kaitlin, a United Way THRIVE Network income supports coach at Dove Harbor that Alyssia first got connected to United Way’s THRIVE program. Kaitlin helped Alyssia with supports that would help her become financially stable. She also mentored her on ways to save and stretch the dollars you have. She also helped Alyssia to get connected to Mary Baker, United Way’s THRIVE Network Employment coach, for coaching on finding not just another job, but one that would provide better income and future that would allow her to be independent and self-sufficient again. Mary helped her to hone the skills she needed to prepare a resume, answer questions truthfully and positively. Because of Mary’s help, Alyssia obtained a higher paying job. She’s been working there for about six months now.
United Way’s THRIVE program helps those who are willing to work hard and set goals for their future. Kim Wheat, United Way’s THRIVE Network’s Financial coach, helped Alyssia set some financial goals that would help her set money aside for buying a house one day and paying her present bills.
Being homeless, says Alyssia, humbled her. “Reach out when you need help. Don’t be so full of pride and think you can do it by yourself. Ask for help. It’s worth it. If you don’t ask, they won’t know you need it.”