This month, Community Outreach Advocates Abby and Sophie had a chance to visit Abby’s client Maranda at her new home at Stillwater Crossing affordable housing complex.
As we arrived at Stillwater Crossing, Maranda met us in the parking lot out front, immediately embracing us with open arms. The joy, excitement, and sense of relief that radiated from her was so evident
and amazing to be around. It had been a long and difficult journey for Maranda, who over the years, had endured the loss of a child and subsequent houselessness. Now she was welcoming us into her home in a brand new apartment community. Opening the door to Maranda’s apartment, we could immediately see that this was her long-awaited home. Though she had only been there for about a week or so, she had already thoughtfully arranged each room with her belongings. As she showed us her two young sons’ room, she beamed, “My boys.” More than anything, Maranda was elated to have this beautiful apartment as a safe place for her children.
In the living room, Maranda had set up a room divider to create an additional bedroom in the apartment for herself. Behind the divider was Maranda’s bed, leaving a spacious passageway to the apartment’s balcony beside it. As we admired the ingenuity of Maranda’s design, she shared with us some wisdom of something she’s learned throughout this experience. “You can’t get hung up on, ‘Well, a living room should look this way with a couch and seating area.’ Why does it have to be that way when this way works better for me?” Oftentimes, we compare ourselves to those around us, pressured by societal expectations, to present ourselves, our homes, and our lives in a certain way. But what we were reminded of when visiting with Maranda is that we are all on our own unique journey, and sometimes, a bed in the living room is better than a couch.
Maranda had been working with Thrive since August of 2021. During that time, she spoke with our team member Abby weekly to search and apply for housing. At times, Maranda felt frustrated, overwhelmed, and ready to give up. But her persistence prevailed. As such, Maranda was one of the very first tenants to move into Stillwater Crossing, arriving early in the morning after a night of sleeping in her car to sign her lease. That car had been there for Maranda through a lot, being a home for her and her boys when they had nowhere else to go. Now it’s parked proudly outside of the apartment building, a testament to all that Maranda has overcome in her journey to find housing.
Before leaving, Abby and I gifted Maranda with a welcome home basket filled with household essentials, courtesy of donations from community members. Maranda excitedly pulled out her gift for Abby–an ocean-scented candle and a mug that read, “Actually, I CAN!” She thanked Abby for helping to give her the strength and hope to believe that she could do this even when she felt ready to give up.
We are so grateful for Maranda for welcoming us into her new home, sharing her story, and allowing us to be a part of her happy ending.