Woman finds help, housing after homelessness
Written by Julie Borgen, Twin Cities Media Relations Director for The Salvation Army Northern Division
Imagine moving to a new city to live with a cousin, only to find yourself literally out on the street. That’s exactly what happened to 32-year-old Monique Roberson (pictured) in January.
“My cousin and I got into it with each other, and she took all of my stuff and threw it out in the snow,” Roberson said. “I ended up getting arrested, and I didn’t even have a coat when I went to jail – nothing.”
No charges were ever filed against her, but when Roberson was released she had nowhere to go and no one to help her. That’s when she landed at The Salvation Army’s Harbor Light Center and met social worker and housing advocate, Sarah Haberman.
“Monique got right to work, she was super motivated to get her life back on track and that’s huge,” Haberman said.
Roberson took an assessment and discovered she qualified for the Group Residential Housing (GRH) program, which would help get her into housing and build the life skills she needed to regain stability.
“The key to success in this program is the clients need to be active in helping themselves,” Haberman explained. “Monique was really good about staying in contact, she kept her phone on, showed up for our appointments and was an advocate for herself.”
And that effort paid off. Within a month of enrolling in GRH, Monique had two housing options to choose from, and by mid-March, she had her keys.
“It’s awesome, I don’t have to live out of my backpack anymore, it’s just a big relief. I am moving forward with my life,” she said.
The GRH program requires that participants turn over all but $97 of their social security and disability income, but in return, the program pays their rent and helps with other expenses. Roberson said for her, it was an easy choice.
“If I was on the street with my check, I would probably have to spend it all just to find somewhere to live anyway,” she explained. “Yeah, maybe you’ve got a nice outfit, but you can’t live in that. Maybe you’ve got nice shoes, but you can’t cook up a meal in them. ”
And now that she has a safe and stable home of her own, Roberson says she can focus on building her future.
“It’s definitely a fresh start, I didn’t come out here thinking I would end up in a shelter,” she said. “Now I can focus on going back to school and finding a job, everything is falling into place.”