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Melissa & Mallory

After being hospitalized and almost dying, Melissa and her baby, Mallory, ended up homeless at the Siena/Francis House.

When young mom Melissa recently arrived at the Siena/Francis House Homeless Shelter, she had lost nearly everything in life…her health, her job and her apartment. She’d also lost hope.

In tears, Melissa told her story.

For over five years, Melissa had cleaned houses for a living. She was good at her job.  Earlier this year though, Melissa noticed that her energy level dropped to a point where she could barely make it out of bed, even to take care of her newborn daughter, Mallory.

After a series of medical tests, doctors determined that Melissa was very sick with a dangerous infection in her heart and lungs. She was immediately hospitalized.  Friends of Melissa – a married couple – took care of Mallory while Melissa stayed in the hospital for nearly three months.

During her hospitalization, Melissa was put on heavy doses of antibiotics and other medications. Despite this care, Melissa actually slipped into a coma, and doctors feared the worst. When she finally regained her faculties, doctors ended up performing surgery to remove portions of both of her affected lungs.

During her lengthy hospital stay, Melissa obviously wasn’t able to work. All of her savings were eaten up by medical bills.

When she was finally discharged, Melissa was confined to bed rest for the foreseeable future. She also returned home to a pile of bills, including several months of back rent, in addition to her overwhelming medical bills. And, although her employer was sympathetic, Melissa was laid off from her house cleaning job. Not long after that, Melissa received notice that she was being evicted from her apartment, due to non-payment of rent.

With her life spiraling beyond control, Melissa was losing hope that things could ever get better for her and her infant daughter, Mallory.  Luckily for Melissa, though, the hospital’s social worker called the Siena/Francis House to ask if this mom and daughter could possibly stay at our shelter.

As is always the case, our women’s and children’s shelter was operating well above 100 percent of capacity. Regardless, we rearranged some of our guests and made room for this little family.

Since the day that Melissa and Mallory arrived, my staff and I have made sure that they’ve received the life necessities of food, clothing and shelter. We’ve also assured Melissa that the Siena/Francis House is a safe and secure place for them to temporarily call home. And, besides ensuring that Melissa continues to receive the medical care she needs, our staff are working to get this family rental assistance so that they might be able to acquire affordable and appropriate housing. Until then, Melissa and Mallory will be here with us at the Siena/Francis House, and are grateful for the “hand up” they are receiving at our shelter.

Melissa and Mallory were homeless for more than two months. During that time, our staff made sure that they received the life necessities of food, clothing and shelter. Additionally, we ensured that Melissa continued to receive the medical care she needed. Our staff was also able to get Melissa in touch with a local agency that specializes in housing programs. This mom and daughter duo moved into their new apartment a few weeks ago. Along with our well wishes, we sent some food, baby clothes, diapers and formula with Melissa, just to help her get a good start on her new life. And, although we haven’t heard directly from Melissa since they moved out, a representative from the housing agency shared that both Melissa and Mallory are doing well in their new place, and that Melissa is very grateful for the many blessings in her life. Of course, we extend her thanks to all the caring and compassionate donors to our shelter, whose generosity made it possible for us to care for this little family.

Gifts to Siena/Francis House are used to provide food, shelter, clothing, and care of the people who turn to us during their hour of need, and are greatly appreciated. All of our services are provided at no cost to our guests. All gifts to Siena/Francis House are tax-deductible to the full extent of the law. Our audited financial statements are freely available by writing to Siena/Francis House, P.O. Box 217 DTS – Omaha, Nebraska – 68101. Our donor information is kept in strict confidence; our donor lists are never rented, shared, or exchanged with other organizations. The stories in our letters are real. Identifying details have been changed and file photos may be used to protect the privacy and therapeutic interest of our guests. For more information about Siena/Francis House or to include us in your estate planning, please contact Siena/Francis House Development Director, Tim Sully, at (402) 341-1821.

© 2018 Siena/Francis House Homeless Shelter