Accepting Help to Rebuild Her Life

Accepting Help to Rebuild Her Life

Samantha’s journey has been a long, challenging road. At 19, she was diagnosed with stage three cancer, and spent three years receiving treatment and chemotherapy. In 2016, a fire destroyed her home in Syracuse, and then in 2018, her husband, the family breadwinner, left – leaving behind Samantha and their three children.

One of Samantha’s children struggles with a mental and emotional health disorder. Samantha had been a stay-at-home mom caring for him. As she had not been working when her husband left, the loss of income was devastating. Scraping together money for gas and essentials, she was beginning to feel anxious. Summer was ending, and she needed to buy school clothes soon.

"When you have kids, you don’t want to end up in a situation where you can’t provide the basics for them."


Samantha and her three children first tried living with Samantha’s mother. But the one-bedroom apartment was small and cramped. She and her children were forced to share and sleep in the living room.

Samantha turned to the Department of Social Services, which placed her family in a motel in Weedsport. However, living in a motel is no place for children. They continued to share a single room, had only a microwave to cook meals, and were not allowed visitors. Samantha found herself driving back to Auburn each day so her children could eat a full meal with their grandmother. It was also an attempt to reclaim a sense of normalcy during such a stressful time.

Road to Independence

After a week at the motel, Samantha and her children received a referral to the Auburn Rescue Mission and the transitional living program, which provides temporary housing to families for up to 90 days while they find permanent homes. When Samantha recalls the day she arrived at the Auburn Rescue Mission, her voice cracks, as she is overcome with emotion.

“It hurt me bad to even be here,” she says. “When you have kids, you don’t want to end up in a situation where you can’t provide the basics for them. Coming here, I felt like I failed as a mom because I couldn’t provide them a home on my own.”

Samantha was determined to rebuild her life as quickly as possible. With the help of her case manager, Samantha was able to navigate public assistance benefits, attain a job at Syracuse University, and find housing. The Rescue Mission provided furniture. In October, Samantha and her children moved into their new home.

"Without being here [the Rescue Mission], I don’t think I would have been able to regain the strength to do it on my own."


Now Samantha is focused on her new normal: Life as a single parent, providing her children with stability and support. She still reaches out to her case manager, often to serve as a listening ear or to provide advice for life’s simpler problems.

Though she acknowledges that accepting help from the Rescue Mission was difficult, “It was a blessing in disguise. Without being here, I don’t think I would have been able to regain the strength to do it on my own. The Rescue Mission really gave me the light back in my life to keep pushing forward.”

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