Esmeralda had been working hard at a financial company, when she inquired about a promotion. She knew she was qualified and was eager to move on to running her own branch.
“I did everything I had to do to get my own branch, and it didn’t happen, so I started looking for other opportunities and growth,” she said. “I came across a retrofitting company that I thought was a good fit, but after three months they let me go. They couldn’t afford to pay an extra person. After that, everything went downhill.”
Esmeralda’s unemployment benefits weren’t enough to cover her rental. “I wasn’t making ends meet,” she said. “So being a single mom with child support issues and whatnot, I needed help. I didn’t have any other resources. I found my way here.”
Esmeralda and her 4-year-old boy moved into the shelter in July. “Since I’ve been here, it’s been a blessing,” she said. “I’ve grown a lot and I’ve met some wonderful people. Everyone here is very loving and the staff is amazing.”
Esmeralda is working full time now doing private security at a charter school. Her youngest is in school and her 17-year-old is at a camp in Malibu for troubled teens. “I don’t have my own transportation, but I try to see him as often as I can. I’ve got a lot on my plate, but I live by faith, so I know things are going to get better regardless of what the enemy throws at me. I have God’s shield and he’s always in front, fighting for me.”
Esmeralda works hard to continue to be a strict parent to her young son, and to live amongst other clients with a range of personalities. “It’s been a challenge. There have been ups and downs. This is something that I never thought would happen, being independent, and always working, being the provider for my two kids. But I feel that everything is for a purpose, for growth and for knowledge.”
Esmeralda has been working with her case worker, focusing on saving money, growth, and moving forward. “A lot of times I think we single moms tend to be a little hard on ourselves,” Esmeralda said. “I’m here, and the least I can do is be positive. It’s temporary. I don’t want it to affect my children, and if I’m not 100 percent, as far as health or focus, it’s going to affect them.”
Esmeralda appreciates the bible study that the Mission holds on Tuesdays. “It is great for me because I’m very close to the Lord,” she said. “I serve at my church, and my relationship to the Lord is very important to me. My time with him is very valuable.
“I’m very grateful that I was given this opportunity to be here, and to get all the help I’m getting,” Esmeralda added. “Homelessness doesn’t just affect the poor. It affects everybody. It doesn’t look at race or economic levels. What I have learned is to keep moving forward, and try my best. There are situations in life you can’t avoid—if it’s meant to happen, it’s going to happen.”