In Tracy’s darkest life moments, she repeated these promises: “…I am the head and not the tail. I am above and not beneath. I am chosen, I’m beloved. I’m a princess of the most-high King; child of the most-high God.”
When Tracy came to Simonka Place in 2020, it was a miracle she was alive.
Mental duress had pinned her down; anxiety and depression plagued her, and she was homeless, sleeping in her car. Tracy felt that everything good had been stripped away. She even made several attempts at taking her life.
Despair swallowed her.
“I was so physically and mentally depleted that I felt like a shell; just empty,” says Tracy. When she engaged in Simonka Place’s Restorative Services, her life pivoted in a new direction. Once empty, she was being filled with gladness and calm, until despair and darkness had no room.
“The mental health issues calmed down and my focus was gained back. My mental health specialist and my case manager—they helped walk me through getting back my peace and joy,” says Tracy.
“When Tracy came to Simonka Place, she was in a state of shock,” says Mental Health Counselor DeDe Hazzard. “She had been traumatized by a mental health system that was unable to support her face-to-face due to COVID, a rental system that does not understand mental health, and hospitals were not taking individuals in for a higher level of care.”
Union Gospel Mission of Salem desires to help men and women become who they were intended to be. Sometimes trauma, substance abuse, and suffering rob their identity and purpose.
Today, Tracy has her own place and is living independently again.
“She engaged in class supports for trauma-informed care, gained tools to take secure thoughts, she found significance in volunteering at the front desk, and being supported in case management pushed through barriers,” says Hazzard.
“The classes have helped a lot because you learn about controlling your inner environment and how to deal with your environment. I’m learning about myself and how my mind works,” says Tracy.
Before coming to the Mission, she “was lonely; abandoned.”
Life after the Mission? “Full of life and joy,” says Tracy. “Simonka Place is so much more than just a shelter because of the staff and largely because of our donors.”
Tracy’s life has been hard. She’s experienced a searing pain and loss that some may never know. Yet she resists regret. “I got the word of God and his promises. God says, ‘I’ll redeem the years and give you more in abundance.’ And I have lived by that. I have never forgotten.”
This is a glimpse of what changing the face of homelessness, one story at a time looks like. Invest in people just like Tracy. Give today at ugmsalem.org/donate.