Crushing the Churn of Homelessness and Dependency

The Churn of dependency is relentless. Once you fall into it, you get swept up in a cycle of victimhood, handouts and pain. The Churn is a costly, futile cycle that occurs when root causes of family homelessness are not addressed, causing homelessness to repeat. Anyone can get sucked into The Churn, and in the hardest times it can seem futile to be able to escape. Without a solution, without a change, today's homeless child is highly likely to become tomorrow's homeless adult. 

At Solutions, we don't view these individuals as victims, but as victors. We know they can fight The Churn by solving root causes, which in turn saves their families, their health and their happiness. 

There are many ways people fall into The Churn: job loss, illness, domestic violence, eviction, and largely addiction. It drives them to seek refuge on friend's couches, their car, a temporary encampment, or vouchers. But at some point the vouchers and hospitality run out and the cycle continues. At Solutions for Change, we offer an escape from The Churn for those who are committed to ending this devastating cycle. We are here to help people fight their way out and overcome whatever holds them down. We call these Churnbusters and program graduates our Overcomers. The dedication, resilience and leadership we've seen from our Overcomers is constantly inspiring. 

Our Overcomers crush The Churn by meeting life's biggest challenges head on, addressing the root cause of their dependency, and acquiring the skills and knowledge to change their lives permanently in the face of today’s homelessness crisis. We have collected some of our favorite overcomer stories to share the realities of homelessness in 2020 and the real solutions that are working now.

Click an Overcomer’s name to see their full story.

Jennifer Pankey

When Jennifer’s child was taken from her right after birth, she knew she couldn’t keep going like this.

“Either I could go home and start this cycle of drugs and pain all over again,” Jennifer said. “Or I could change.”

So she enrolled in Solutions Academy—a 700-day program that offers counseling services, parenting classes, employment training and work experience to help people permanently overcome homelessness and instability.

Now, she shares her story with other Overcomers as she guides them through their journey and spends time with her two daughters.

Christa Medeiros

Today, Christa is a dedicated mother and empowerment coach. But five years ago, Christa was in prison and lost custody of her children.

“I was stuck in The Churn of instability and uncertainty that led me down a pretty rough path.” Christa said. “After prison, I was sent to rehab and someone there told me to check out Solutions for Change.”

She was worried that once she finished rehab, she wouldn’t have the skills or resources to land on her feet. She worried The Churn would start all over again. But with Solutions, she built an entirely new life.

Justine Mackey

Justine spent years searching for stability. Each time she thought she had found a foothold, drugs and alcohol knocked her back down. She bounced in and out of treatment and rehab but could never completely escape The Churn.

Eventually, Justine recovered from her addiction and maintained her sobriety, but something was still missing. She found herself on the brink of homelessness.

“I may have been clean, but I had a dangerous chip on my shoulder,” Justine said. “I wasn’t approachable, and I didn’t have the skills to sustain myself.”

After moving around to various transitional housing locations without much progress, Justine finally turned a corner when she went to Solutions for Change. And what she found at Solutions was more than stability—she found family, freedom and a dream job.

Roxanne Britt

Roxanne and her husband were living an unsustainable life—for themselves and their children. The final straw was when child protective services revoked the custody of their son, who was 12 years old at the time.

After that, Roxanne was determined to do everything she could to get her son back, but she didn’t know where to start. Fortunately, a family member offered a suggestion: Go to Solutions for Change.

Even though Roxanne was interested in pursuing Solutions, her husband had hesitations. He didn’t want to exchange his familiar job for an unfamiliar and uncertain environment.

“I told my husband we couldn’t keep doing things like break into hotel rooms to find a place to sleep,” Roxanne said. “We were too grown for all of this. We had to change for our son.”

Follow Roxanne’s incredible journey from homelessness to stability to her experiences as Solutions for Change’s newest Empowerment Coach.

Lilia Cantero

When Lilia joined the Solutions community, she knew she was changing her life. But it all became real when she got custody of her 8-year-old son for the first time. From there, she knew she could face whatever challenges were ahead, because she realized her true value as an individual and a mother.

“The people at Solutions didn’t see me as a criminal,” Lilia said. “They saw me as a person with a future. No program had ever really treated me like that before, and it made me actually believe that I deserved a better life.”

Soon, Lilia graduated from Solutions Academy and was ready to take on life with her son. Life, however, had another setback up its sleeve. Lilia’s first job after Solutions terminated her due to her felonies. But despite this, Lilia now had the skills and confidence to seek a solution.

“I saw a job opening at Solutions for Change and I threw my name out there,” Lilia said. “They took a chance on me and hired me. And I couldn’t be more grateful.”

These five Overcomers represent a much larger group of strong-willed, caring people who have changed their lives through Solutions for Change. They are the proof that Solutions works. We welcome those who are committed to escaping The Churn and meet them with tools to be successful. From there, the happiness of our Overcomers speaks for itself. 

As we look into the future of the homelessness crisis over the next several blogs, we’ll keep in mind how we help people overcome The Churn today. Take a look at the incredible stories of our Overcomers, and join us as we continue to lift our neighbors out of homelessness.