Each day more than 100 people experiencing homelessness walk through the doors of NSO’s Tumaini Center, sit in the orange chairs and ask for help. With a goal to end homelessness, the Tumaini Center is NSO’s 24-hour crisis support center for people who have no where else to turn.
For so many, like Rita, ending up at the Tumaini Center is the first step to a new life.
Rita, a 57-year-old mother of two, came to the NSO Tumaini Center December 12, 2016. As the rest of us were getting our last-minute shopping done and planning for family to visit, Rita was sleeping in her car. Rita comes from a long line of strong women. She believes in working hard and always valued a clean house. Life changed for her just after Thanksgiving 2016 when she had the strength to leave her husband of 30 years. This was a decision that took a long time to get to—29 years to be exact. She stayed in her marriage until she could no longer face the abuse. Rita slept in her car until December 11, 2016 when her car would not start. Rita was used to being the one offering help, so asking for help took a great deal of courage. Rita found her way to NSO’s Tumaini Center and there she began her road home. With a great deal of anxiety she sat in the orange chairs and placed her belongings in a clear bin identified only by a number.
One of the first people she talked to was Crystal, a Case Manager at the Tumaini Center. Quickly they formed a bond. Progress was slow and steady as Crystal helped Rita find employment and a place to stay. Looking for employment without a home or transportation brought Rita to tears more than once. How do you get interview clothes? How do you get to an interview that is not on a bus route? What address do you use on your resume? How do you type a resume? How do you apply online? NSO was there to answer all of these questions and help Rita overcome these challenges. March 1, 2017 was a big day for Rita as she moved into her new apartment. On March 6, 2017 Rita began her job as a school bus driver. She happily takes the bus to work each morning and looks forward to seeing the children each day. Rita now walks with her head held high and a bounce in her step as she helps children get to school.
Hundreds, like Rita, turn to us every year looking for help in their hardest times. We need your support to continue caring for them and for the countless more who depend on our expertise, compassion and personal care.