When Cynthia was younger, she witnessed her mother in an abusive relationship and always wondered why her mother simply didn’t leave. When Cynthia found herself in a similar situation in 2019, she knew she had a choice to make.

As Cynthia explains, “I can see why women stay. They often say to themselves, ‘I don’t have money, I don’t have this or that.’ And losing your finances is one thing, but losing yourself, leaving a damaging effect on your children, you can’t put a price on that.” Cynthia did what her mother couldn’t, and called 211 to find emergency placement. She landed at Illumination Foundation amidst a global pandemic with little to her name.

“There’s no price that you can put on the memories that your kids will have [of you] and maybe they will forgive you, but it will still affect them and their future and I don’t think I could have dealt with myself and that’s why I decided to go to Illumination Foundation.”

At Illumination Foundation, Cynthia and her three children received housing assistance, therapy and support. IF also provides in-home visits to check on past clients, hear their situation and ensure they’re on track to securing finances on their own. We are building trusting relationships with every person who walks through our doors. We meet each client’s diverse needs deeper than just receiving keys.

Cynthia has a unique perspective on homelessness. “There’s a story behind what took place… especially in the times that we are living in, the rent is high and the pay is not great.” With this perspective, and her sharing her own story, she is teaching her children that homelessness is not just a single issue, but a series of circumstances that often require the wrap-around services which Illumination Foundation provides for families to find long-term solutions.

Today, Cynthia is securely housed and focused on giving her children the opportunities they deserve. She is enrolled to go back to school to finish her degree in psychology as a single, working mother of three. “All I know is that I am healing from everything that has happened… so I think what the future looks like is me working on myself and being healthy so my kids can be healthy.”

Supporters of Illumination Foundation are shaping lives like Cynthia’s every day. With the generosity of community partners and donors, together we have the opportunity to change the lives of future generations, their families and disrupt the cycle of homelessness.

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