In the last seven years, Charlotte has moved from prison to being homeless to being housed to setting new life goals. As Charlotte grew up in West Dallas, a self-admitted “determined child,” she could not anticipate the trajectory that her life would take.
In adulthood she spent three years in prison, and upon her release, Charlotte found herself on the streets of Dallas with very few housing options. She did what so many others do – began living in a series of tent cities, encampments of individuals who are experiencing homelessness. Charlotte was homeless for four years before finally getting housed in January 2019.
During her time on the streets, Charlotte lived in one of the largest tent cities near downtown Dallas. She said it wasn’t easy, but she had no other options. Daily, she was faced with the threat the place she called home would be disbanded or shut down. And then that day came. “The city,” she said, “took everything I own,” referring to when city officials cleared out her encampment.
As she continued to move to new encampments, Charlotte became overwhelmed and felt “fed up with everything. One day, in frustration, she cursed everyone with whom she crossed paths. This included Shupon, her CitySquare case manager. The next day when she saw Shupon, Charlotte apologized.
Shupon knew Charlotte was frustrated and had experienced a lot on the streets; however, she befriended her, never stopped believing in her, and affirmed her always saying, “I know you can. I believe in you.”
Through her work with Shupon, Charlotte rediscovered that childhood determination and this fueled her to overcome homelessness. “CitySquare and Shupon helped not only by believing in me and providing housing, but also with food and my personal development, recalls Charlotte. “Everybody needs somebody and there needs to be more positive people and people who have been through trauma and can now help others.”
With the resources Charlotte found through CitySquare, she now has her own place to stay and momentum to change her life. Her next goal is to pursue her GED, and ensure she stays connected with her three daughters and six grandchildren of whom she is very proud. And Charlotte said she wants to remind everyone to “keep pushing.”