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Esther’s Story

For most of her life Esther held jobs and went out of her way to help others. She was as surprised as anyone when, as she entered her fifties, she found herself unemployed and facing homelessness. Kind souls intervened, but the turning point came in St. Vincent de Paul’s Connections Transitional Housing program, which helps struggling families turn themselves around, pay off old debt, and move forward with better chances of maintaining housing.

The mother of four, Esther had already weathered her husband’s unexpected departure when, in 2008, she lost her job as a retail clerk. Then came a 30-day notice from her longtime landlord. A friend offered to let Esther and her family live in an apartment over the garage. Eventually they found housing at ShelterCare, where a case manager suggested that Esther look into Connections.

Entry into the program got them a pleasant and affordable apartment, the immediate attention of a Connections case manager, regular support meetings, referrals to social-services resources, and continuous encouragement. Esther was advised to tackle her many challenges one step at a time, which she's done with great persistence.

Esther graduated from Connections in September and is studying visual arts and computers at Lane Community College. Eventually she hopes to work from home, perhaps maintaining websites. Meanwhile she’s elated that 18-year-old Avante, also a student at LCC, is on track to become the first family member to graduate from college.

To read more of Esther's story, click here.

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