How do you start over from scratch when you're a single mother with no support network?

Meet Sheila, a former client who worked with a case worker at our Beans & Bread center and built a new life.

She says she never knew privileges, growing up in Baltimore’s Belvedere neighborhood. Her father was addicted to drugs and in and out of prison, so she lived with her mother and a large extended family in her grandmother’s house. Despite the crowded conditions, Sheila and her mother found a way to make the best of every situation, and she describes a happy childhood.

But when Sheila turned 18 her mother decided it was time for her to move out and learn to survive on her own.

Baltimore filmmaker Gabe Dinsmoor with Sheila Pate at Beans & Bread

Sheila never imagined that she would be homeless one day. She found support at our Beans & Bread Center in Fells Point, and rebuilt her life. Then she asked us to share her story  -- to inspire others who were in shoes and to remind every one of the difference they can make in the lives of those experiencing homelessness.

No job and no place to live

Though she lacked a solid support system, Sheila tapped into her abundance of perseverance and grit... She worked hard, fell in love, started a family, and explored her passions. She got a job in real estate. When the market crashed, she became a certified nursing assistant, and then took a job in marketing. But no matter how hard Sheila worked, she could not shield her relationship from the pressures of young parenthood and the high cost of living.  She found herself alone again –  this time with a young daughter. 

Her wage of $8.50 an hour barely covered her $580 monthly rent bill – let alone utilities and food and clothing. Then life dealt a new blow; she was laid off from her job. It was devastating.  With no savings her lights were turned off and she was evicted.

A new beginning

Once again, Sheila was starting over on her own. She stayed in a few shelters, but how do you start from scratch when you’re a mother with no support network?

Just as Sheila began to lose hope she heard about Beans & Bread in Fells Point. She showed up one hot day in the summer of 2017 and signed up to meet with a case worker. All of our case workers are well-qualified experts, but it was serendipity that Sheila was assigned to Marcus Scott. Together, they charted a path for her to move forward. Sheila secured full time employment, temporary housing, and finally, a place of her own where she now lives with her daughter.

Want to help people like Sheila?

Your gift today will provide immediate support for people like Sheila who are seeking a path  of their own.

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