Lost Her House, Kept Her Grandkids

by Carla

It all came unraveled when I lost my rent-to-own home. Suddenly everything I had invested in the house was gone! I felt like such a failure.

I came to Chattanooga with two grandchildren (3 and 5 years old) to live with an old friend.  He shared his house with us and we split the expenses.  I paid him to watch the kids when I found a job. It seemed like a perfect arrangement.

After several months I realized I was never going to get ahead.  With everything he expected me to pay I had nothing left! Our friendship fell apart and seven months after arriving in Chattanooga we became truly homeless. I was thinking ‘Oh my God, I have two kids and am going to be sleeping in the car!

We found a crisis program that had us sleeping in a church and then I went to my supervisor in tears and was brutally honest about becoming homeless.  I asked for a week off to get things sorted out.  She told me ‘Do what you need to do.’

We ended up at CRITI.  I found a babysitter who would keep the kids in her home for the evenings while I was at work. The key was being able to save enough money for a place to live on my own.

Women with children are the fastest growing homeless group in the Chattanooga area. In 2018, the number of households led by women that were experiencing homelessness in our area exceeded those led by men by 45%.

When I got off work around 11 p.m., I picked up the kids to go back CRITI. When I was sure they were asleep again I did my evening chores and finally I would go to bed myself. The reward came in the end. Today I am renting a three-bedroom house. Everyone has their own room! I’ve been employed full time at the same company for more than four years.  I get to watch them participate in football and cheerleading. Everything is back to normal 100%.

"“For all the people who support CRITI: You are giving us the will to keep going!” "

CRITI Provides Individualized Self-Sufficiency Plans

All women who qualify for the program at Chattanooga Room in the Inn must out of immediate danger and drug-free for 30 days. Every client has a self-sufficiency plan for employment, permanent housing, life skills development, and physical and emotional health.