By Trina Bartlett, Catholic Charities West Virginia Eastern Regional Director
Before Paulette arrived at Catholic Charities West Virginia’s Martinsburg office, she had, in her own words, “been in several shelters, homeless programs, counseling, jail and the psych ward.” The first assistance Catholic Charities provided for Paulette was acquiring a C PAP machine in March 2019, and a few months later she met case manager Luci Hernandez and decided she wanted to participate in case management.
When she entered case management in November 2019, Paulette had three goals: to obtain her high school equivalency, to find a better place to live, and to improve her health.
The first task Paulette undertook was finding better housing. She was living in a substandard apartment, and the toilet didn’t work. She attended budgeting classes with Catholic Charities partner organization, Telamon, and was able to find a more adequate apartment in a better location. She continues to work on her other goals.
When talking about her experience with Catholic Charities, Paulette said:
I didn’t have family here. I did not have the genuine family support, and I now see Catholic Charities like a family. I feel supported and accepted here. I came across a community event and met Ms. Luci. She had a booth with different things that Catholic Charities did. As we began to talk. I felt more comfortable speaking to a woman of color. Little did I know the beautiful working relationship that we would have. Being in case management gives me the motivation to work on myself knowing that I have someone that supports me. I feel empowered going into my meetings and getting a chance to get out of my home and into the community.
Paulette and Luci have continued to meet weekly even throughout the pandemic.