Melina’s episode of homelessness started with couch surfing from friend to friend and family to family before she entered the Hospitality Network last fall, nine months pregnant.
Once in the Network, Melina received case management help with finding income, but more important, a safe place to land when she gave birth to her son Zach. (You can learn more about that by reading Jim’s story!)
Melina and Zach remained in shelter for several months, sleeping on cots and moving from congregation to congregation. Zach was growing well and healthy. Network volunteers provided evening meals, formula, and diapers for the baby along with lots of caring support.
But in March, in response to the COVID crisis, the congregation shelter model had to be changed and Melina and the baby moved into a vacant apartment at Hope Forest. Coming out of emergency shelter, Melina had no furniture, but Inter-Faith donors stepped up. The Kilshaw family donated (and assembled) a homemade bed for Melina. It was her first night on a real bed in a year.
Melina exited shelter in June to an apartment of her own, closer to her family so that she could have their support. She loved her donated bed so much that she asked if she could bring it along…and it was the very first piece of furniture set up in the new apartment.