Tea raises money for Homeless Coalition
Published 9:00 am Monday, October 2, 2017
By Fred Petke
No one takes the same path to becoming homeless.
Everyone has their own story, their own way in and, hopefully, their own way out.
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Saturday, the Clark County Homeless Coalition held its annual Serendipity tea fundraiser to benefit the organization and its long-term shelter on Wainscott Avenue in Winchester.
While donors had lunch and bid on a number of auction items, two of the Coalition’s former clients shared their stories of how they got in, and out, of homelessness and are putting their lives back together.
One woman said she was married, had a daughter and owned a business with her husband, and they were doing well financially.
“From the outside, it looked like a perfect marriage,” said Sherry. “It seemed like a good life. But underneath, it wasn’t.”
She said her husband was verbally abusive and had multiple affairs.
“For 18 years, I thought it was the way marriage worked,” she said. When he started spending more time overseas and moving their money there, there was an ultimatum: she could follow him overseas or stay and start over.
“I stayed,” she said. “He took everything I’d worked hard for for 18 years. I had to start over and I didn’t have the support system to start over.”
CCHC Director Terry Davidson said Sherry had lost her car and was non-functional because of her depression when she arrived at the shelter.
“She’s worked really hard to overcome this belief that she’s not worth anything,” Davidson said.
Sherry is now maintaining a lifestyle, working and bicycling to work.
“I’m happier than I’ve ever been in my life,” Sherry said.
Robert, another former client, told a completely different story, one which began with alcohol and drug use at age 8 as an escape from the violent lifestyle at his home. As dreams of becoming a firefighter were dashed because of a medical issue, it brought depression.
“It seemed like no matter what I did, I failed,” he said.
“My other goal was to have a daughter,” he said. “I accomplished that nine years ago. I got to see her, but I was in jail. I tried suicide but that didn’t work out.”
He said something told him to get on the internet. At the time, he was sleeping in a tent in Winchester, he said. When he went online, he found out about the homeless coalition.
“They showed me a positive attitude,” he said. “They offered to help. The most important thing was they cared.”
Robert said he left the shelter once, but fell back into his old lifestyle.
“I went back in that lifestyle and I knew it wasn’t what I wanted,” he said. “(The Coalition) gave me a second chance. They gave me a life back, a sober life, a clean life.”
Likewise, Davidson said he is currently living on his own and working. After his scooter was stolen, he started walking two and a half miles to work, she said.
“He’s working through it, which is what he should be doing,” she said.
“These are two of many, many people we help every year. A lot of our residents come to be support systems for each other is positive ways. This is what your gifts fund.”
Those gifts Saturday included a number of gifts and items which were auctioned, both in a silent auction and in a live one, to benefit the Coalition.