Our homelessness crisis is almost always described in numbers, but the truth is it can only really be understood in the stories of individual lives changed and relationships built. That’s why we want to share the story of just one of those relationships: Titi White, a mother of six who survived homelessness and domestic violence and now helps others who’ve experienced the same, connected with Tamara Bauman, a JourneyHome Rapid Rehousing Case Manager who’s helped hundreds of families find stability and healing after experiencing the trauma of homelessness. Here’s their story, in Titi’s own words.
Your investment in Solid Ground helps families like Titi’s find stability and hope.
In Titi’s own words…
In all honesty, I don’t think I could ever give Tamara enough praise or thanks for what she did for me and my family. I joke around with her all the time and call her my ‘guardian angel,’ and she just giggles in her modest way. But I truly believe that she has been our guardian angel since the day we were paired with her.
I first connected with Tamara in February of 2021, through the domestic violence shelter where I was staying while pregnant with my youngest son. I was working a full-time job – it just wasn’t enough for me to be able to get a place for me and my kids to stay. I was determined to get back on my own two feet, and with Tamara’s help, I was able to set realistic goals that I could achieve.
Stability for my family
By the end of March 2021, my children and I had an apartment of our own! Tamara not only helped me to find a home for us in less than two months, she also helped me overcome other barriers that were preventing me from the stability that I wanted for my little family.
“Throughout my whole journey with her, she always made sure I was able to see the progress I was making. She helped me to see and truly believe that I was a strong woman, that I was worthy of a good life, and that I could achieve any- and everything I aspired to do.” ~Titi White, Mary’s Place Intake Diversion Specialist & former JourneyHome participant
One of the major issues that was haunting me was a large balance that was owed to a previous landlord. Tamara was able to help me settle the debt, pay it off, and finally close the account.
Tamara had found us an apartment I could afford while I was still working, but once I had my son, I ran right into another brick wall. How was I going to pay my bills if I wasn’t able to work? I spoke with Tamara, and I let her know that I was afraid of not being able to pay my bills on time or at all since I was home with my babies. She told me that there was a program that I might be able to qualify for, and if I was comfortable with it, we would move forward.
About a month later, I received an email from the Emergency Housing Voucher program that I had been accepted. Without Tamara, I know for a fact that that situation would have landed me and my children back on the street.
Learning to believe in myself
Another issue for me, aside from being in a financial crisis, was having low self-esteem and not believing in myself. Tamara really helped me to change my mindset. Throughout my whole journey with her, she always made sure I was able to see the progress I was making. She helped me to see and truly believe that I was a strong woman, that I was worthy of a good life, and that I could achieve any- and everything I aspired to do.
Tamara never made me feel ashamed of my situation or my choices that led me to where I was. She always saw the brighter side of things, even when I couldn’t. She is, hands down, one of the most compassionate people I have ever crossed paths with. When I would talk to her, it felt like I was talking to a lifelong friend. Any time I felt down, or felt like I couldn’t handle things, she would reassure me that I could, and she would back me up the whole way.
For years and years, I felt alone. I felt like no one could hear me crying for help. Tamara did. She heard me, she saw me, and she helped me grow from the experiences I thought were stunting my growth. I seriously just adore her so much.
Helping others find the help that found me
Today, I am an intake diversion specialist for King County Family Shelters at Mary’s Place. On a daily basis, I speak with a multitude of families who are currently experiencing homelessness. Lots of families who call have had reoccurring experiences with homelessness.
My daily job is a constant reminder of how blessed I am to have been a participant in the JourneyHome program. And it’s a constant reminder that Tamara really is a guardian angel, one who helped save me and my kids from the streets.
I know I could never repay Tamara or Solid Ground back for where I am today, but I hope she and the organization as a whole truly understand how grateful I am for all they have done for me and my babies.
My goal now is to continue building a career in human services and let others know about the programs that have helped us come this far. I pray my babies never live a night in fear of having to go without, and I hope that other mothers like myself are able to find help like the help that found me.