At Solid Ground, we serve families emerging from homelessness. Eighty-five percent of the families we serve come from Ramsey and Washington Counties. While the majority of our families consist of single mothers with young children, we serve all family structures, including single fathers and two parent families. The families that we serve are often working to overcome significant challenges and move forward towards a brighter future for their family. We invite you to meet some of our families.
DeNisha grew up in Washington County. After she graduated from high school she moved into her own apartment and began working. It was at work that she met a man and after dating for 6 months, became pregnant. When she was nearly 9 months pregnant, DeNisha and her boyfriend moved to out of state to be near his family.
In their 8 years together, DeNisha came to realize that the man that she fell in love with in the beginning had changed into someone completely different. He hit her, choked her, threatened her and belittled her, even telling her that they would all be better off if she would kill herself. Over the years they were together, DeNisha lost multiple apartments, jobs, and had three cars repossessed because of her boyfriend and his actions. Even so, DeNisha thought she was doing the right thing to stay with him. She thought it was important for her kids to have a mom and a dad.
One day, DeNisha went to the ER with stomach ulcers, high blood pressure and a panic attack. One of the doctors there could tell what was going on in her life and told her that she needed to leave or she would die. It was then she began to plan her escape.
After living in shelter for almost 6 months, DeNisha was referred to Solid Ground’s HomeSafe program, “When Shannon from Solid Ground called me, it was the best and scariest feeling in the world. I never knew there were programs like this, that this kind of help existed. I had no hope, I had lost everything. Meeting Shannon, I got hope back again.”
Shannon assisted DeNisha in finding an apartment with a landlord who would look past her credit history. Her new home is right down the street from a nice park. Solid Ground pays part of her rent, and she pays part as well. When she moved in, Solid Ground provided furniture and everything that she need to make it a home. She meets with her Advocate regularly, and feels supported. Her Advocate helps her problem solve and connects her with resources. DeNisha has been working and setting goals for herself. She’s working on loving and taking care of herself so that she can be the best mom that she can be. In their new environment, the girls are thriving. DeNisa says, “Solid Ground makes you feel like you have a chance. I’ve realized that I don’t have to be forced into a box. I now know that I have options.”
Jessica is a mother of 4 children who range in age from 1 to 18. She started doing drugs at age 30 and in her 5 years as an addict, “I lost everything, inside and out, material and emotional.” She even lost her children and became homeless. When she found out that she was pregnant with her now one-year-old son, she sobered up and took her first steps towards stability.
Now, Jessica is working hard to build a new life. She and her son are living in Solid Ground’s supportive housing. In addition to managing her mental and chemical health, Jessica has completed all of the programming offered by Solid Ground. She even continued with extra Dialectical Behavior Therapy sessions after she completed the 6 months because of how much she was getting out of it. Jessica is volunteering and looking for work, and is working hard at being the best parent that she can be. Jessica’s goal for her children is for them to follow their dreams and to stay true to themselves. She adds, “As I teach my children to be confident, I am praising myself as well. We are learning together.”
Monique had her first baby when she was 15 years old. She dropped out of school when she had the baby, and a few months later was placed into foster care because of the unhealthy living situation at her parents house. Once she turned 18, she was basically on her own. Over the next several years, she had three more kids but never a stable place to live. Monique and her children were homeless.
Monique found out about Solid Ground while living in shelter. She was on the waiting list for 4 months before an apartment became available at East Metro Place II permanent supportive housing. She moved in on her birthday.
Monique and her advocate started meeting weekly. Her kids are receiving needed academic support through Solid Ground’s Learning & Enrichment Program. Monique has completed the Dialectical Skills Therapy program as well as tenant training and budgeting. Through Solid Ground’s Employment & Education Program, Monique started a volunteer placement. This experience helped her to find paid employment and within a few months Monique started working as teacher’s aide in a local preschool. After completing the remedial coursework necessary to move forward with her education, Monique is currently enrolled in a Childcare Development Associate program to further her skills and career in working with children.