Doris was an only child; being part of a large family is something she never experienced. As an only child, she lived a sheltered life where her parents were intent on protecting her. Their caring offered her little independence. As an adult with no children of her own, her life continued to be structured and safe. Doris recalls her father being worried about where she would live or that she would become homeless in her later years. “He knew I would not be a very good homeless person,” Doris said. Doris was married 39 years.
Doris and Michael had many transitions during their life, and later settled in a trailer court in Cedartown, Georgia. This was an eye-opening experience for them as they were completely unaware of all the challenges that came with living in this environment. Eventually, they needed to move and, upon a referral from a friend, Doris applied for an apartment at Cedar Heights Apartments in Georgia.
The day after she applied for their apartment, Michael became seriously ill and was hospitalized. A few days later, Doris received a call that her husband had passed away. While grieving the sudden loss of her husband, on that same day, their home was broken into and all their belongings were stolen or destroyed. After losing her husband — the only family she had left — and fearing for her security, Doris felt she had nowhere to turn. “I cried and prayed for an answer,” she said.
The next day she received a call from Patty, the housing manager at Cedar Heights Apartments, informing Doris there was an opening for her and her husband. With anguish, Doris shared that her husband had just passed away. She felt overwhelmed, but trusted that God had just provided her with a miracle.
With the help of Patty and the staff at Cedar Heights, Doris moved into her apartment with the few personal items she had left.
“Residents were coming out of nowhere and giving me things for my apartment. I found the love of friendship, a home and a staff that goes way beyond their jobs.”
Thanks to the support of donors and individuals committed to United Church Homes’ mission that includes affordable housing, Doris has safety and security in her home at Cedar Heights — something she felt she had lost after her husband died. “Now, I can close my eyes at night without being in fear of someone breaking into my home,” Doris said.
For the first time in her life, Doris feels the freedom to be herself and independent enough to accomplish tasks on her own.
She now is part of a large family — something she never had before. “I love it here,” said Doris. “They welcomed me with open arms and I cannot express how much this place means to me. I have a new lease on life.”
Doris enjoys her new-found independence by participating in activities and socializing with other residents. She especially enjoys meal times and participates in crafts including making quilts and baby items for other residents’ family members.