“While We Waited for Housing”: One Patron’s Story of Escaping Abuse

Mandy Shunnarah, GBM Communications Specialist

The patron whose story follows asked to remain anonymous, so for purposes of this story, her name has been changed to Christy.

When you have been married for 23 years, you’re a little set in your ways. You have a routine where you expect to come home to your spouse, where you expect to have two incomes, where you expect to be loved. But, unfortunately, this wasn’t true for Christy. For Christy, 23 years of marriage were filled with physical abuse and emotional turmoil.

“When my husband and I separated, my son and I became homeless. We lived at a motel downtown. It was a bad, drug-infested place while we waited for housing and social security,” Christy said. “We were scared. It’s not the kind of place you want to be. I didn’t want my baby there, but we didn’t have anywhere to go.”

Her son, whom she was holding in her lap as we talked, buried his face in her collarbone and seemed very much afraid of strangers. Even at his young age, between his abusive father and time living in a drug-infested motel, he has likely seen horrendous things his entire life. Who can blame him for being afraid?

Several months later, Christy and her son were approved for Section 8 housing, where they continue to reside. It takes a long time to get back on your feet after such a major life setback, but Christy is determined.

“I visit the clothes closet every now and then–just when I need something because I know other people need things, too,” Christy said. “Before I got re-approved for food stamps, I only had $15 in food stamps because they considered my husband’s income too. I get a little more now, but it’s not enough to get us by. I been coming her six or seven years now.”

During this time, she’s gotten to know Mrs. Sarah and Mrs. Mary and is thankful for their encouragement and support.

If you’d like to make a donation to GBM’s food pantry and utilities assistance program to help people like Christy and her son, click here to make a monetary donation online, or you can drop off food and clothes at the GBM’s location, 2304 12th Avenue North Birmingham, AL 35234, Monday through Friday between 8:30am and 4:30pm. All donations are tax deductible.