afr.hispanic mom 2 sonsJuana was married to an abuser for 25 years, enduring physical, emotional, and verbal harassment and abuse. For the longest time she did not know how to leave, believing it was her fault and she had no other options. She finally confronted the abuse and violence and left to join one of Next Door’s Support Groups. Though she began the support groups with very little money or vocational assets, within the six months of her participation, Juana was referred to Career Closet and through case management at Next Door, was able to get a temporary job with Apple. Case management helped her to create short- and long-term emotional, career, and financial goals, and ultimately a realistic budget for herself. Support groups having cultivated her self-esteem and self-confidence, Juana began telling her story in the community. Since then, she has produced a small fundraising event for Next Door.

Sarah had very little money and was married to her abuser for 11 years. He often left bruises on her arms, pushed her into walls, and abused her emotionally and physically. Sarah was very scared to leave because she had nowhere to go; she was forced to choose between a life of violence and homelessness. Not willing to risk her life any longer, she chose homelessness. Through Next Door, Sarah filed for and was granted a temporary restraining order during this time. Her abuser, however, continued to torment her and then had a heart attack. She felt obligated to take care of him despite all the abuse, and even felt to blame for her abuser’s situation. When they received their tax refund, he told her she could not have any of it. This kind of financial abuse is what makes it difficult for victims to leave, abusers withholding rightful funds that would be needed in order to leave. Sarah left her abuser anyway, and through Next Door’s support groups, has befriended another client with whom she is staying temporarily. Next Door has since accepted her into its HomeSafe Transitional Housing Program.

Abra had been married for 30 years. During that time, she was periodically homeless and had endured all kinds of physical and emotional abuse. For example, her abuser used to call police to say that Abra was insane and the police would come and take her to the Fremont Mental Hospital. She would be released and, being homeless, felt she had no choice than to return to her abuser. As Abra and her abuser were extremely poor, Abra didn’t believe that she would be able to make it on her own. As a result, she remained in an impoverished life of abuse. This past spring, Abra and her husband could only afford a cheap motel to live in when she decided that this was the last time he would abuse her. She walked out on him, and luckily one of Next Door’s nearby partner agencies quickly referred Abra to Next Door’s 24-hour Emergency Shelter. Abra came to the Shelter malnourished, with no money and having mostly known only a life of abuse and homelessness. At the Shelter she met a friend, and with the help of security deposit assistance, rented a house with her friend and made plans to start a clothing business.