A New Life at 74
By Billie Rosepa
St Luke’s Evangelical Orthodox Church is proud of its involvement with PADS and the fact that it has been offering shelter and meals to homeless women involved in that program for the past eight years.
The US has seen an increase in the number of homeless women and unfortunately the number of homeless women with children. Although these women share the common element of a lack of housing, each woman’s story has its own unique twists and turns that make it her own individual struggle.
This year, the members of the parish under the leadership of Father Andrew Harrison decided to stretch the parameters of their mission by collecting donations and securing the assistance of volunteers to alleviate the homeless status of one woman, who visited their mission.
Marian (pseudonym used to protect her privacy) was a senior citizen when she found herself homeless and in the PADS program. Her personal story shares common elements of most of the homeless women in her age group. Marian’s children were grown with children and lives of their own. She and her husband owned a home. They had two cars and a comfortable life in a Southwest suburb when he was suddenly taken ill and died within a month.
After his death, Marian was saddled with medical/burial bills coupled with housing expenses. Since her husband had always managed their finances, she did not have the skills necessary to manage those expenses on her own, and she did not want to burden her children. Moreover, the loss of her beloved spouse led to depression, and she could not immediately cope with his death. As a result, she eventually lost her home and thus began her life as a homeless woman.
St Luke’s enabled Marian to relocate to a new state, where she is living with her daughter and grandchildren. Her son lives nearby. Marian is very grateful to the PADS program for offering her food and a warm bed during her months of homelessness, and especially grateful to St Luke’s parish for its kindness and generosity in relocating her. Marian is delighted to have a new chance at life and counts herself blessed to be able to hold her new great grandson on a daily basis.
The people of St Luke’s parish are proud to have helped and embrace the idea that their involvement has given one homeless senior citizen a safe new home and a new lease on life. They see it as a win for all involved.