Out of Prison and Homeless

by Teresa

Without CRITI, I wouldn’t have been able to find permanent housing. After four years in prison a condition of parole was that I was not allowed to return to my home town and the potential negative influences. So I had to start over in a new place with no family or friends and with a drug history and criminal record hanging over me.

When you are on the wrong side of reality, people will make you feel small. At CRITI they made me feel like a person that mattered. It’s amazing how a smile will change your day. I got a job and they taught me how to budget and save, which was the first step to a different life. Most importantly, the staff believed in me so that I could believe in myself.

In 2017, 6.7 million households spent more than 50 percent of their income on rent. They were experiencing a “severe housing cost burden”.((https://endhomelessness.org/homelessness-in-america/homelessness-statistics/state-of-homelessness-report/))

When the time came to find permanent housing, no one would rent to me directly with my background. CRITI’s Home Run program allowed me to lease an apartment in their name and this created a housing reference that led to an apartment on my own.”

What I learned at CRITI still sticks with me. I am about to become a store manager and then I’m going to trade my old car for a truck.  I still have a savings account, I pay my own bills, including taxes, and I don’t receive any public assistance.

It’s been three years since I was out of prison and homeless. I am loving myself, my cute little dog, and my quiet life where I can spend a lot of time reading, which is my favorite thing to do. I thank God daily for my blessings.

"Without CRITI, I don't know where I would have ended up. CRITI gave me the chance to become a productive member of society."

CRITI Provides Support for Life Skills

Clients at Chattanooga Room in the Inn are required to save one half to two thirds of their income. Saving is possible because our program covers their basic living expenses while they are here. When they leave they will have a nest egg and the first major expense won’t lead them back to homelessness.