Patty’s Story: I Know What It’s Like To Be Hungry and Cold

Patty is a 53 year old native Lexingtonian, and her story is one of survival and triumph. A car wreck that left her seriously injured, substance abuse, and the death of her beloved mother all impacted Patty in a way that eventually led to her being unhoused. Patty wasn’t able to cope with her mother’s passing. “When my mom died, I died,” she shared.  Then, because of her addiction, she was turned away from remaining family members in the area. This isolation, alongside poverty, led to Patty experiencing homelessness for the first time in her life. “I’ve been there, I know what it’s like to be out there hungry, to be out there in the cold.” 

When she was unhoused, her whole life was on her back. She had everything to her name, all her remaining possessions, stowed away in a backpack. She slept in dog houses, wouldn’t eat for days, and experienced depression. Patty first found help from Natalie’s Sisters, a non-profit that supports sexually exploited women, who provided her with emergency shelter and then connected her with New Beginnings. Once she found housing, it was a literal weight off her shoulders. However, this alleviation didn’t just come from the newfound ease of having a place to store her belongings, or a bed to sleep in at night. Women experiencing homelessness are extremely vulnerable, and once she was housed, Patty recounted, “I no longer had to spend my nights looking over my shoulder.” Sexual assualt is common amongst women experiencing homelessness, and many survivors, like Patty, are also survivors of domestic violence. This lack of safety haunted Patty during her homelessness, and it makes her all the more appreciative of the security she savors today. 

Today, Patty is living a life of triumph. She’s been housed in an apartment for three years now thanks to the unwavering support of New Beginnings, an ​​agency committed to continually developing and implementing housing programs to help meet the needs of individuals with serious mental illnesses. Patty cannot speak highly enough of New Beginnings, especially her case worker, Michael. “This program saved my life, it’s the best thing to ever happen to me. Michael makes me want to be a better person, it makes me not want to give up. People actually care about me [at New Beginnings]. For the first time in my life, I wake up in the morning and love myself. It makes me want to go out there and be something. There’s good in everybody, and this program will bring it out of you.” She loves life today, and was eager to describe all of the positive affirmations she has posted up around her home, “Be strong. Be brave. Be you.” 

Patty radiates alacrity and zeal, and isn’t afraid to tell near strangers that she loves them. She’s committed to working as hard as she can towards recovery and repairing her relationships. Since her journey started at New Beginnings, she’s gotten her GED and will soon have a driver’s license. Ultimately, Patty hopes one day to be reunited with her children and grandchildren. She has three grandchildren, who she has never met because of her experience with homelessness and substance abuse. But now that she has housing, Patty’s optimistic that one day she will finally get to meet her precious loved ones. Patty’s story is one of triumph, and Lex End Homelessness is committed to supporting clients and partners in our mission to end homelessness in Lexington. Get involved with Lex End Homelessness  by visiting our website, joining the Continuum of Care, donating to the Lex End Homelessness campaign, or by following us on social media @lexendhomelessness.