Story: A Home to Heal and Grow
Finding stability in a CommonBond home means something different for every person that moves in. It might mean creating a stable base from which to reach other goals, or finding a community that supports and empowers. Perhaps it’s finally finding peace in a home that is comfortable and nicely maintained. For Cecilia Evans, it’s all of the above.
Cecilia lives in Riverview Senior Housing in Minneapolis. She’s an active resident and takes advantage of nearly every activity offered in her building—art classes, in particular. She also serves as Riverview’s Resident Council Secretary, taking notes at meetings and encouraging other residents to attend. Her life hasn’t always been this way though. After all she’s been through, Cecilia rightfully calls herself a survivor, and her story shows how having a stable home is critical for moving forward.
Cecilia had to face housing obstacles early in life: when she was very young, her father became violent, prompting her mother to take her and her sister to live with Cecilia’s grandparents. “She was a sweet person, and it was very brave of her to leave,” she recalled. “She worked full time and paid rent to my grandparents—not many women could be that independent in those days.” After that, Cecilia spent years moving around the country with her mother and, eventually, her husband.
While she’s grateful to have experienced living in so many places, many of these moves were preceded by tragedy. One day, while living with her mother in Memphis, Cecilia and her husband came home to find that her mother had passed away. “It was a shock. She was strong and healthy all the way until the end,” recalled Cecilia. Grieving and soon to be without a home, she and her husband were forced to move to Tampa where her husband’s sister had offered a place to stay. Within a few months, her husband’s health rapidly declined, causing him to move into a nursing home. He passed soon after, and again, her housing stability was at risk. “It was kind of his sister to let us move in, but with him gone, I didn’t have anywhere else to go,” she said. These compounding tragedies took an immense toll on Cecilia, leaving her so despondent she feared for her mental health and voluntarily entered a care facility.
"I was afraid at first, but now I want to go out and pursue more."
Shortly thereafter, Cecilia moved back to Minneapolis to stay with her sister, but it wasn’t long before they decided Cecilia should look for a home of her own. She quickly faced challenges in her search and was placed on a waitlist of over 100 applicants. Her friend then told her about an ad in the paper for Riverview Senior Housing. She applied right away and after a few months, she moved in. “It turned out for the best,” she says, “I’m happy here, and still close to my sister, too.”
At first, Cecilia struggled with the idea of moving. Having spent her entire life with loved ones, and having just lost those closest to her, the sudden independence was frightening. She even spent the first two months of her lease living with her sister. But since she moved into her CommonBond home, Cecilia can see the difference in her personality. “I’m friendlier, that’s for sure!” she laughed, “and I’m not satisfied with being sedentary. I must get that from my mother. I also got a cat to keep me company.” She is engaged with her community, actively looking for work, and—after enjoying her art classes at Riverview—plans to apply to graduate programs in papermaking and book art. “I was afraid at first, but now I want to go out and pursue more,” she says.
When a tragedy strikes, finding solace in the comfort and stability of a home is crucial for healing and moving forward. But for many like Cecilia, this isn’t always possible. It’s a common story; people face tragedies that threaten the security of their housing, further complicating already challenging circumstances. Cecilia’s story is a testament to her strength and grit, as well as to the healing and motivation that can grow from the foundation of a stable home.