Giving Matters
12:00 am
Sat September 1, 2012

Homeless Center for Strafford County

The Homeless Center for Strafford County provides seasonal overnight shelter to single women and families. Almost half the people staying in the shelter are children – nearly all under five years old. Susan Ford directs the shelter and understands her clients’ first-hand.

Susan: I had two little kids, found myself homeless, and ended up going to a homeless shelter in the area. At that point I had a high-school diploma and cosmetology degree. I had gotten my degree thinking I was going to be married and this would be a great stay at home job; I could work out of my house and raise my kids. It’s not that easy when you’re single. With two children living in a car in the winter I probably would’ve lost my kids, I probably would’ve had my kids taken away because I didn’t have any place to go; I literally didn’t have any place to go.

If it wasn’t for the shelter I wouldn’t be where I am today, I really wouldn’t, not just in my professional life but in my personal life. I hope to inspire people who come through the shelter to know that this isn’t it, this isn’t your life, this is just a snapshot in your life, and that you can make of your life whatever you want. I know all the stressors that they’re going through, and I know how hard it is; I wasn’t just homeless as a single individual, I was homeless with two small children.

I went from being homeless to owning my own home in seven years, and that’s, I think, a great feat. I got my bachelors degree. I’m not the exception to the rule, I’m just one person - it could’ve been anybody.