“How do I explain to my children we are about to be homeless again?”
This is one of the difficult questions Chassity was asking herself after a series of events and circumstances led her to a place she calls an “abyss.”
“I started parking my car and sitting in a parking lot for hours, just staring straight ahead as if there was this never ending hallway in front of me,” she said.
She began to question everything, including her faith. “Did God take a vacation? Can’t He see what’s happening to me?”
It’s true, a lot had happened.
Chassity grew up the only girl of three boys in a single parent home. She was the first out of the four children to graduate high school. She had her eyes set on college, but she was a new mom herself and spent her days working to support her own growing family. Knowing she needed an education to make something more of her life, she enrolled at CPCC. For a while, she managed to juggle her responsibilities as a mom with her school work and a 3rd shift job. Eventually, it became increasingly difficult, and school was the sacrifice.
Things at home became rocky as her relationship started to fade. There were ongoing disputes, and verbal, mental and physical abuse.
“I had made several attempts to leave, but wasn’t secure enough to stand on my own two feet,” she said.
Finally, she made the move into her parents’ home, which came with it a new set of challenges. It was not a viable, long-term solution for Chassity and her children. She enrolled herself in cosmetology school, and worked a part-time weekend job catering, saving as much money as she could to get her family back out on their own.
Eventually, she was able to move out. “My only problem was trying to budget $850 a month. When rent was due, utilities were late. When utilities got past due, rent was late,” she said. “The challenge was avoiding stepping back into mayhem.”
The struggle continued for two years. She had a job, her own place, custody of her children and child support, so her life was somewhat normal. But, then she started having reoccurring premonitions seeing herself in a shelter, and she didn’t know why.
She was applying for jobs, as her hours at her current job were steadily decreasing. As the paychecks decreased, “There goes my car note,” she recalls. Her children’s father ended up losing his job. “There goes my rent.”
She had no other options, which leads us back to her point of crisis. She was questioning everything, and struggling to find any answers.
“Why is this happening? How do you teach your children to continue to trust The Most High in times like this? How do you convince them that this will only be temporary when all hope seems lost?”
Chassity put in an application through Charlotte Family Housing, hoping to find a pathway back to housing for her family. Around the same time, she received a call about one of her employment applications. She interviewed, and later landed a position at the Salvation Army Center of Hope, working part-time as front desk security. It was right around the same time she had set her date to enter the shelter through Charlotte Family Housing!
Remember those premonitions about the shelter?
“The first few days working at The Salvation Army and living in a shelter at the same time was hard,” she said. “My mindset was not on my issues, but helping someone else with theirs.”
Throughout the process, Chassity never let go of the vision she carried from the time her children were small. She never gave up on her family. She held onto Scripture, particularly Isaiah 41:10 (So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God); and Romans 8:31 (What, then, shall we say in response to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us?).
Today, Chassity serves as The Salvation Army’s Housing Peer Support Specialist, helping families going through similar struggles. She reminds them that “life is a journey and regardless of what path you take, there is hope waiting on the other side for you.”
Indeed, hope is waiting on the other side.