Another family has been reunited thanks to partnerships with multiple service agencies in Polk County, including Talbot House Ministries.

“Mary,” who asked that her legal name not be published, is a 27-year-old single mother of four with one on the way. She’s lived in Polk County all her life and graduated from Kathleen High School.

“My life was okay at first,” she remembered. Her mom worked for Publix, and growing up she never wanted for anything.

Mary’s descent into homelessness started six years ago; she was in and out of prison and her children were placed into foster care. After her mother passed away and a cousin turned her out, Mary started to give up hope. She remembers sleeping outside, being cold, and not being able to wash her clothes or shower.

“I felt hurt. I felt abandoned… I was thinking about giving up.”

But Mary wasn’t abandoned. Through the Homeless Coalition of Polk County, Mary received a referral to Talbot House Ministries. Housing staff and her case manager, Ruby, immediately began to work on finding her a home. She received furniture from Light House Ministries and counseling and medication management via Peace River Center. Her life began to come together again.

Working with the Department of Children and Families, Ruby identified the case plan goals that Mary would need to meet to regain custody of her children. Through Ruby’s intervention, and with the help of the Children’s Home Society and Heartland for Children, Mary is now on-track to reunite with her children. She has stable employment, a suitable home, and the wrap-around support that she will need to continue building upon this momentum in the future.

Ruby is incredibly proud of Mary’s accomplishments: “She went from homeless to housed; unemployed to employed; from children in foster care to being reunified soon.”

People in crisis need support from multiple agencies to truly recover; Mary’s story exemplifies the impact these agencies can have when working together. We are proud to partner with the nonprofit and government agencies mentioned above to reduce homelessness and rebuild families in our community.