‘I haven’t felt this safe in a long time,’ she says
Destinie has never stayed in one place for too long. As a child, her family moved around a lot, totaling five moves by the time she was 15.
“As a kid, it was a fun adventure, but looking back on it, it was chaotic,” Destinie said. “I felt like there was no stability. I was alone a lot.”
This pattern continued once Destinie was old enough to live on her own, moving multiple times between states. Destinie and her children eventually settled down in Las Vegas, where she started her own business. But when her partner became volatile and controlling, and a family member she was temporarily housing turned physically violent, Destinie left Vegas and moved to California.
The first month they stayed in a hotel, but Destinie knew she needed something more permanent. “I didn’t have the resources,” she said. “I didn’t have the support. I needed to find that.”
They were referred to a local shelter, where they lived for almost a year. While she is grateful for her time there, it ultimately didn’t offer the flexibility or support that Destinie needed when she found work and continued her education. “I’m driven,” she said. “I needed to finish what I started, and I couldn’t do that there.”
In June 2023, Destinie and her four children found Home Again, the family shelter at Rescue Mission Alliance San Fernando Valley. Upon arrival, Destinie felt “nervous and closed off, but immediately (staff) told me I was safe,” she recalled. “They weren’t here to judge me—it was about supporting me and my kids.
“Since I’ve been here, it’s been amazing. I probably haven’t felt this safe in a very long time.”
Destinie is also proud of the personal growth and healing she has been able to achieve while at the shelter. “I’ve healed from abandonment and loneliness,” she said. “I’ve opened my heart back up. I’m more open to others now, more receptive… It takes a lot of weight off me and makes me feel secure and comfortable.”
Destinie is excited about the future. She recently graduated college, is now a Registered Alcohol Drug Technician, and has gained employment. Her next goal is to find her own housing—in California. She’s decided to stay put for once. “I’m not going anywhere! I love the beach, the food, the community, and the support I’ve found. I love home.”
Destinie doesn’t hesitate to encourage others in need to consider Home Again. “Do it! Just do it! The experience here is not only humbling but it’s comforting, safe, secure, supportive,” she said. “We’re all family here. And (staff) don’t just listen to respond, they listen to understand. I am incredibly grateful to be here and for what I’ve gained.
“I’ve always had a great outlook on life, but now I get the chance to actually live it.”