After ending up hungry, homeless and penniless, Suzanne left her abuser in a downpour, desperately searching for hope at the Siena/Francis House.
Suzanne was soaking wet and shivering when she arrived at the Siena/Francis House during one of the heavy rains we had late this spring. Her tears mixed with the raindrops as we got her some dry clothes and coaxed her to eat a sandwich.
I am often asked, “How and why do people become homeless?” My answer is that it depends on the person who is homeless. Every person staying in our shelter has a unique story. Often it’s a combination of personal struggles and heartaches, as well as a lack of affordable housing which brings individuals to Siena/Francis House needing food, shelter, clothing and safety.
Suzanne’s story is a similar to others. A victim of domestic abuse, and struggling with mental illness, Suzanne left her abusive boyfriend in a downpour and walked for nearly an hour to get to our shelter.
Unfortunately, Suzanne came here at a time when our emergency shelter for women was operating at over 175 percent of capacity. In fact, over the past six months we have seen a more than 50 percent increase in the number of women we serve nightly. Our conference rooms here at the Siena/Francis House have been converted into overflow shelter space for women. Each night, we place an additional 40 mats on the floor of these rooms, to accommodate women in need, doubling our bed count. Regardless of the tight quarters, we of course found a spot for Suzanne.
At first, Suzanne didn’t want to talk to our staff about her abuser…or her mental illness. Theresa, a shelter staff member, eventually earned her trust. Suzanne shared how her boyfriend had been physically and emotionally abusive, as well as how Suzanne’s illness contributed to the recent loss of her waitressing job.
Suzanne stated, “My life was in shambles and I didn’t know how to make it better.” She had no local friends or family to turn to. Suzanne didn’t know how she could succeed without her abuser boyfriend, but couldn’t go back. She felt scared and hopeless.
Fortunately, since arriving at Siena/Francis House, the hopelessness Suzanne felt is slowly being replaced with optimism for her future. Besides receiving three meals a day and a couple of sets of clean, donated clothing, we’ve assured Suzanne that she is safe and secure, here at the Siena/Francis House.
Will you please make a gift this summer to help us provide our services to Suzanne? Suzanne also has been working with one of our case managers who is helping her find housing out in the community. We are also connecting Suzanne with a partnering agency to help her address her mental illness, and we anticipate that Suzanne will be housed within the next few weeks. Until such time, though, Suzanne will be at the Siena/Francis House, and is grateful for the “hand up” she’s receiving, thanks to caring community members, like you. Click here to give online now!
Your donation will immediately help us provide for the basic needs of food, shelter and clothing to Suzanne and to so many others like her. Your support is also vital in helping us case manage individuals back into housing. The Siena/Francis House tries to never turn anyone away, and we are dedicated to providing life’s necessities to those from right here in our community who come to us in crisis seeking assistance.
While summer creates as many challenges as winter for the homeless, it is also our slowest time for gifts. With the extreme heat, many hundreds of desperate people come to us requesting food, shelter and safety every day. Will you please consider making your gift right now? Our shelter is operating well over capacity, and we truly need your help to be able to provide food and a temporary place to stay for the hundreds of hungry and homeless individuals who daily show up at our door, like Suzanne.
Please know how grateful we are to you for helping the Siena/Francis House provide our services to the poor and homeless when they have nowhere else to turn. Also know that these services are only possible because of your generous financial support, as nearly all of the contributions to our homeless shelter come from compassionate members of our community, like you.
God bless you for your sustained friendship and support. I wish you all the best this summer.
P.S. Please make your summer gift today to provide hope to people like Suzanne. Our house is always open because of generous and caring people who send gifts for food, shelter, and clean clothes.
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.