From Resistance to Resilience: Sophia’s Journey to Housing Stability

After being evicted for missing one month’s rent, Ms. Sophia Smalls and her five children entered Bell Family Shelter in December 2021. Sophia was not able to catch up as it got harder and harder to maintain paying her monthly bills. The family remained at Bell Family Shelter for several months before being accepted into the Bell Bridge Transitional Housing Program. Ms. Smalls and her children then entered the Bell Bridge Transitional Housing Program on April 6, 2022.

As her Bridge case manager began getting to know and continuing to work with the family, she noticed Sophia was resistant and closed off for the majority of her placement. The case manager would meet Sophia every week for an hour for her weekly home visit. This was the time that worked best for Sophia since she works a full-time job at the police station as a supervisor working 12-hour shifts six days a week. There were times during the home visits where Sophia was extremely tired from work and having a hard time completing her weekly goals but would still meet her case manager. Sophia didn’t like to be told about what her children were doing wrong. She would always be upset with her case manager, and this would make it more difficult to conduct the home visits.

Despite Sophia’s demeanor towards her case manager, she continued making payments on her car in hopes to refinance in the future, which was one of the goals that she had set for herself coming into the program. The case manager continued to support Sophia anyway she would allow. Sophia continued to give her case manager a difficult time when it came to her monthly inspections of the apartment. She did not like it when her case manager would talk to her about something that was not being taken care of in the apartment; she was very overwhelmed. Sophia received several program warnings for not following the program guidelines, as well.

By the ninth month in the program, Sophia finally began to open up about things with her case manager. She regretted spending eight months of her placement being resistant to services. She said she was having a hard time keeping it together and was under a lot of stress. Sophia realized after attending her nine-month review that she needed to save more money towards her permanent housing and that she had not put forth more of an effort to accomplish her goals as should have been during her entire placement. Her case manager continued to encourage Sophia and utilize the three months left to help her increase her savings and prepare for move out.

Sophia began to look at things differently; instead of resisting the case manager’s assistance and guidance she began to work with them and was finally willing to ask for help. When it came close to the time for exiting the program Sophia began to feel discouraged because it was brought to her attention that she had an outstanding bill owed to Public Housing from years ago. Knowing that her discharge date was coming soon, the case manager requested an extension for the Smalls family and was approved for 30 days, this way she could finish off her balance with Public Housing.

Initially, Public Housing stated that there would be no available apartments at this time, but miraculously, one became available soon after. Sophia was able to move into her new apartment with no issues. And because Sophia had limited resources when it came time to move to her apartment, her case manager invited their church members to come and assist Sophia with moving her belongings from storage and from her old apartment to her new one.

Finally, Sophia found her motivation and was able to pull things together at the end of her placement in the program and establish housing. Sophia still reaches out to her Bridge case manager from time to time and is doing great.  Her oldest daughter Amy is getting ready to move into her own apartment in a few weeks. Sophia plans to purchase her own home and has been saving to do so in the coming year.