A foundation for taking steps
Homelessness and mental illness are often directly connected. For Anna, a CommonBond supporter, both have had a huge effect on her family through her daughter's experience. Read as she shares part of her daughter's story, and how finding stability within her CommonBond community is reshaping her daughter's life and their relationship.
I want you to envision my daughter, Leah, as she was in 2003: a National Merit Semifinalist, entering the pre-med, biomedical sciences program at her college. Leah had a goal to save lives, and her professors quickly saw something special in her. But everything she had worked for unraveled during her junior year when a sudden, highly debilitating mental illness reared its head. Schizophrenia with bipolar disorder bulldozed into our lives and has been a permanent fixture ever since.
The instability that suddenly rocked Leah’s world rocked mine, too. She had to take a medical leave from school, and while she tried to seek help, her illness took over. She also had a beautiful daughter in 2014, who I cared for and adopted permanently a couple years later. I tried to help, but especially after my granddaughter was born, having Leah in the house without treatment was not an option. Without a job and with a growing record of problems with her housing, Leah became chronically homeless.
After 3 years on the streets and jumping through a series of seemingly impossible hoops and procedures, the clouds finally began to part. I received a call that there was an apartment available for her through CommonBond Communities. This was in December of 2017, and I’m so proud and grateful to say that thanks to the support of CommonBond’s onsite Advantage Services staff, Leah has maintained her stable housing with CommonBond ever since.
Staying safely in one place is in itself a miracle for Leah. While her problems run deep, I know she could not begin to improve without the stability of a home.
Things are far from perfect, but they’re better.
Because Leah has a safe, stable home, I now have a way to reach her, rather than hoping each call from an unknown number might be her. It has created a way to maintain our relationship, rather than not knowing where she is or if she’s safe. Her apartment has made it possible for her to develop a stronger relationship with her daughter. And most importantly, she has the foundation to take steps toward managing her mental illness, instead of scrambling for a place to sleep at night.
The staff at CommonBond have worked with her relentlessly to ensure that this critical piece of stability isn’t lost. Because of that, Leah has been able to make her apartment her own. And we all deserve that—a place to make our own, to call home.
Through the support of folks like Anna, we're making a life of stability possible for more people who might not otherwise have found it. Will you help support our work? Click here to make a gift.