Beyond Shelter: A Road to Renewal

Jane’s story of homelessness, housing, and hope restored

Written by Courtney Mabie, Case Manager.

Case Manager, Courtney meeting with a guest.

Jane came to St. John’s Ministries for the first time in the summer of 2020. This was the first time I met her. I remember she walked into our facility wearing very fancy black backless mules. Jane spent most her time at the park across from shelter. She’d play basketball by herself, which is around the time I began building rapport with her. I would see her playing basketball and saw that as a perfect opportunity to engage. I was the Office Manager at Wellspring at the time, so nothing we discussed was deep. A lot of conversation was very surface level at the start.

Jane spent 3.5 years in and out of our shelter. She’d stay with us during the emergency shelter season, from November 1 – April 30. She’d spend her summer evenings in shelter during our Summer Safe Sleep program. Throughout Jane’s time in shelter she would often go days or weeks without presenting. She would rarely disclose where she was or what she was doing. But, without fail she would always come back to St. John’s Ministries. She recently disclosed that she knew she could always count on St. John’s Ministries to be there for her.

Homemade soup made by Jane.

Jane has a history of mental health struggles. Outside of myself and St. John’s Ministries, she lacks a functioning support system. When she wouldn’t return to shelter, nerves and anxiety overwhelmed me. I also knew that I could not force her to stay. It was my duty though, to be there when she needed me most. And it was the responsibility of St. John’s Ministries to always be there when she returned.

During her time with us I transitioned to my current position as a women’s Case Manager. My rapport with Jane had grown during her time with us and our park conversations became much more than that. Now we were having discussions about managing her mental health. Setting goals to overcome barriers in her life. I became her confidant; someone she could trust and depend on during her time with St. John’s Ministries.

In a recent case management meeting Jane told me she secured an apartment. When she told me the news I expressed my joy, but I felt scared for her inside. Given her mental health history, the risks of isolation and lack of support, I prayed for God’s protection and care for her. I made it my personal goal to ensure her safety and guide her to a life of dignity, hope, and success.  

Since moving in to her apartment, my coworkers and I have made home visits to check on her. We talk with her, ask her how the transition is going, and what we can do to assist. During our last visit we built her bedframe and put her entire bedroom together. Each time I visit she wears a huge smile and shares her joy as she welcomes us to her home. She has restored her pride and is very eager to share it with others. On the last visit she even treated us to homemade soup! The hospitality and the joy she took in preparing and providing for us was overwhelming! Jane is thriving in her new apartment and the happiness I have in my heart is endless.

I prayed hard that God would show His provision, and that He did. Although I don’t think homelessness is in the plans, God provided for her while she was staying with St. John’s Ministries and continues to provide for her.

Jane continues to join us at Wellspring, and I continue to go on home visits to make sure she is getting the proper support needed as she transitions from 3.5 years of homelessness to housing.

*The names in this story have been changed to protect the privacy of the person(s) involved*

Subscribe to Our Email List