Escaping Domestic Violence

‘I don’t have to live in fear anymore’

Kenna was referred to Lifeline for the Homeless Crisis Response Program (HCRP Rapid Rehousing) by a local domestic violence shelter. The HCRP program provides emergency housing assistance to homeless individuals and families in Lake County. Eligible customers must have a referral from Project Hope, Forbes House, or be working with an agency who works with those living on the streets or in hotels. HCRP provides rental assistance as well as assistance with security deposit, first/last month’s rent, and utility deposit and/or arrears.

The circumstances that had led to Kenna’s homelessness are unimaginable. Kenna had been struggling to leave an unhealthy marriage for twenty three years. She was not only physically and verbally abused, but was conditioned by her ex-husband on everything from how to dress to what to eat. She fled to Lake County seeking support and services to help her get back on her feet. She began working diligently with her advocate at the shelter to get linked with needed services and was quickly referred to Lifeline for housing assistance. Once her referral had been received, Kenna met with Angela Wrana, Program Coordinator to complete the intake process for HCRP at Lifeline. She was immediately enrolled in the program and was able to obtain housing. This would be the first time that Kenna (who is 46 years old) would live on her own.

HCRP provided Kenna with six months of rental assistance. This allowed her the opportunity that she needed to get settled in her new home and to take care of other needed expenses so that she could be self-sufficient once the assistance has ended. HCRP not only assisted her financially with her rent and utilities, but she also met with Angela for case management services to provide additional support. This support included budgeting, goal planning and discussing any issues or concerns that she was experiencing. Now Kenna is not only living in a healthy and safe environment, but she has gained the skills and knowledge of resources to be able to support herself and live independently. Kenna describes the feeling of living on her own as a miracle. “This has shown me that I can stand on my own two feet and that I deserve to be happy. I have my individuality back and I don’t have to live in fear anymore.”

She is thrilled to be able to decorate her new home the way she wants it or watch the programs on television that she enjoys – little things that most people take for granted every day.

Moving forward, Kenna plans to maintain her independence and continue bettering herself. She is actively involved in mental health services such as therapy, case management and support groups. Most recently, she became involved with an art therapy group and has learned that she has a passion and talent for art that she never knew existed. She admits that some days are very difficult for her living on her own, but has learned to surround herself with a health support system and healthy activities. She has even expressed an interest in returning to school to pursue a degree in the medical field.

“Prior to coming to Lifeline, I had worked with Kenna before at a residential facility,” states Angela Wrana. “I have truly seen her come a long way and I am proud of her. The fact that she overcame her struggles and is now living independently for the first time in her life is a huge inspiration to others who are living in similar situations. With programs like HCRP, there is hope for people to create new beginnings.”

When asked if Kenna has any advice that she would like to give other individuals who are in a domestic violence situation, she replied, “Get out. Abusers will never change, you can’t save them or change them. Seek the shelters and the assistance that is available. Fight fear and believe in yourself.” She also shares her favorite quote for inspiration, “I won’t just survive, you will see me thrive” from Rise by Katy Perry