Rocio is a young mother in her early twenties who arrived at our family shelter program with her three-year old daughter. It was mid-winter, cold and dark outside and the small child had been crying fitfully as they sat down in the office to complete our intake form. Homeless for months, Rocio finally visited the Department of Transitional Assistance office in Salem, where placement began for our Bridge House family shelter. The mother and daughter were hungry, tired and anxious—Rocio was struggling with anxiety and depression due to the stress of single parenting along with having no place to call home.  

During Rocio’s stay with us, she availed herself of every program offered: parenting classes, daycare for her daughter, a developmental play group and mental health counseling for both mom and daughter. Rocio did all she needed to do, including losing more than 40 pounds through good, healthy exercise, which boosted her self-confidence, helping her transform into a strong advocate. Rocio literally won the lottery while in Lynn Shelter Association’s capable hands, receiving one of just five available Massachusetts Rental Vouchers for families with barriers to housing. Rocio quickly settled into her new home and landed a job which she loves, becoming self-reliant and able to care for her little girl the way families do. 



The first day we met Randy he was noticeably intoxicated. He had lived on the streets of Lynn for several years up until that point and was known as part of the “dirty dozen” - the group of homeless individuals who were notorious for the over-utilization of city resources and emergency room visits. With the news that he was to be a father, Randy decided he needed to change. It took him a year to turn his life around for the better, but he eventually quit drug use and drinking and encouraged his girlfriend to quit as well. He came to Lynn Shelter Association clean and sober - ready to do the work required to improve his life. Even while battling loneliness, depression and withdrawals Randy still fought for custody of his daughter.  Despite this hardships, Randy began attending community college where he received straight As. All of his efforts paid off when he was eventually reunited with his daughter. They now live together in their own city apartment. 



Sheila lives at the Osmond - LSA's permanent, single-room occupancy apartment building. Since the first day in her new room she continues to make progress. She found a support group meeting and frequently attends -refusing to falter in her commitment to sobriety. Over the years, Sheila has sponsored several young people from Project COPE and Ryan House. For her, the path is clear—“I can’t let my past own me,” she said through a smile. Sheila has worked tremendously hard to improve her life and it wouldn't have been possible without the stability that having a home provides. She was able to finally find herself after settling into her own space. Now she wants to help others do the same.

Currently studying for her GED, Sheila hopes to one day become a substance abuse counselor. In her own words, “When one door opens, the next one closes and you sometimes have to wait in the hallway.” For Sheila, the wait is over. Now she has the key to a better future and it all started with a place to call home.