Cathy and Greg were living a good life in Central Texas. They both had steady jobs. Their daughter Lilly was doing well in
school. They experienced occasional difficulties, but nothing out of the ordinary.
Then one morning, everything changed. Greg and Lilly were on their way to the store when the accident happened. Neither one remembers much about the impact or the trip to the hospital, but the severe mental and physical pain still lingers. Their injuries were severe. Lilly had a lacerated liver and other organ trauma. Greg suffered a broken pelvis, back injuries, head trauma, and other broken bones.
With no car and chronic pain, Greg could not return to work. Lilly developed severe anxiety and needed therapy. With mounting bills and little income, the family was forced to leave their home. During the first few months, the family stayed in hotels every night, but it was an expensive endeavor. Soon they were living in Cathy’s Jeep and received limited support from a local church. The pastor told them about The Salvation Army’s family shelters and how to begin the intake process. In just a few days, the family had moved into The Rathgeber Center for Families.
“I wish we would have contacted The Salvation Army sooner,” Cathy said. “Living out of your car is so stressful. We were in a downward spiral that just kept accelerating. It was hard to watch our daughter go from a vibrant girl to a kid that was breaking emotionally.”
After a few days of getting acclimated to their new surroundings, things began to improve. “Everybody at the shelter was so nice and understanding,” Cathy said. “They explained everything and made us feel welcome.”
Soon, Lilly began participating in the children’s activity programs and made new friends. Greg received employment help from their case manager and landed a full-time job. Cathy also began working again and the family is working toward securing permanent housing.
“We had no idea there was a facility like The Rathgeber Center in Austin,” Cathy said. “It’s scary to think about what might have happened to us if we had stayed in our car. I’m so grateful to The Salvation Army for giving us a safe place to sleep and the support we needed to get our lives back on track.”
On February 26, 2020, The Rathgeber Center welcomed 32 moms, dads, guardians, and children with open arms. As the only family shelter in Central Texas where families can stay intact and together, we have served hundreds of people in our 40 emergency and 23 extended-stay suites. We provide our clients a safe place to lay their head at night, nutritious meals, and the critical resources needed to successfully move to safe housing.
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