Harmony Village Partner Families: Yolanda Pena
We are very excited to start sharing stories from Harmony Village now that our Partner Families are getting settled in. Our Partner Families are also eager to share their stories in hopes that they can inspire others trapped in the spiral of homelessness.
This is Yolanda and as she says, she fought the devil down at the River Bottoms and she won. She feels the key to knowing she won’t go backwards is being in a safe environment that is affordable and full of people working together for a better life. She had maintained a home most of her life but battled with addiction. Yolanda explained that the places she could afford to live in were in an environment that made living at the River Bottoms feel like a cake walk. Crime and drugs were more rampant and it lacked the comradery one creates at the Bottoms. When she explained this cycle you could understand the hopelessness of a wanting to change in a system built to give Band-Aids to homelessness. It isn’t just addiction and poor choices, we have many resources for homelessness but very few that provide permanent stability in an environment a person can thrive and succeed in.
When asked how Harmony Village is different and why she believes it will be successful, she was not at a loss for words. Her response could be its own novel and she went on to talk for quite some time, we would like to share this little portion of her words:
She went on to say, “We are all on cloud 9 here (Harmony Village). I open my door in the morning and say hello to everyone and it feels so good in my heart to see so many faces I was watching die to the hands of the devil down at the river, smiling here. We all have hope again. It is the first time I don’t wake up in a warm place knowing that I can only afford to stay a little while. We’re home, ya know? We’re home. This place is love. There’s a lot of love here, a lot of people care.”
“I like helping Marcelino, (Habitat Operations Manager) clean around here and do little jobs. I just want to give back to you guys what you gave to me. I want everyone to know they can beat the devil too. You can get clean and have a chance at a home that you can afford where the people care. They can feel safe too and stop living that way. It is really nice here, like Harmony. I like that name because that is what we are now.”
Welcome home, Yolanda. We are proud to have you as a Habitat Partner Family and thank you for bringing such light and positivity to Harmony Village.