It wasn’t the first time Tammy had been in a tight spot — she struggled for years to keep her head above water.
As a single mother, much of her life was spent working long hours at low-paying jobs just to make ends meet. But when she lost her job and her home in 2018 — suddenly and without warning — she was unprepared for the difficulties of homelessness.
“It was actually the first time I had been in the homeless position,” she said. “We came straight to the Mission and I was very scared. But with some help, we made it through.”
At the Mission, Tammy and her son Jimmy set out on an uphill journey to rebuild the lives they once knew.
“I had a roof over my head and food in my stomach,” she said. “It’s not an easy thing, but it’s all what you make it. Work engagement gave me something to look forward to every morning. It was good to help out.”
Tammy worked hard to pull herself up, joining work engagement (a program that uses volunteerism to prepare shelter guests to re-enter the workforce), encouraging others and participating in case management.
Over time, she became known as a maternal presence on campus. Many young men and women experiencing homelessness even called her “mom” — some still do.
“Don’t let anyone tell you it’s easy, because it’s rough,” she said. “But if you pick your head up, push forward, work hard and trust in God, you’ll make it. You’ll make it.”
Tammy’s hard work and patience paid off in June 2019, when she was approved for an apartment at Greenway Flats (a 65-unit permanent supportive housing complex for homeless and vulnerable individuals). Her homelessness ended as suddenly as it began. She once again had a home — a place to call her own.
“I cried for two days,” she said. “When I signed the lease and they put those keys in my hand, I didn’t believe it was real. … I thank God every day that we have it.”
Tammy immediately began planning her return to the workforce. After a series of disappointments, she was hired to staff the front desk of Greenway Flats and enjoyed the convenience of working where she lived. But she dreamed of something more meaningful.
“I had it in my mind that I wanted to work for the Mission,” she said. “I wanted to help people like me. I know so many people over there, and I understand them.”
Her dream came true in early 2021, when she was hired by Springs Rescue Mission to help guests in the Welcome Center and the Resource Center.
Tammy’s journey has taken her from the desperation of homelessness to the meaningful life of a servant leader. She now dedicates her days to helping men and women struggling with homelessness, poverty and addiction.
“I love my job — I could almost cry just thinking about it,” she said. “The two things I won’t let anyone take from me are my son and my job. … It’s meaningful to be back here helping people who are just like I was two years ago.”
The struggles of her past have created a strong and impactful testament to others that it can be done — that there is a light at the end of the tunnel.
FUN FACT: Tammy loves to bowl and was on a team in her youth.
Consistently provide nutritious meals, a bed and compassionate care for neighbors in need by becoming a Good Samaritan Sponsor today! For just $25 a month, you’ll help transform the life of a homeless man or woman in Colorado Springs.