One bad fall was literally all it took. One bad fall completely flipped Katrina’s life upside down and, ultimately, led to her becoming homeless.
She was on her way to work at precisely 5:01 in the morning. It was dark as she stepped down off the back porch of her Hopkins apartment complex – onto a sheet of solid ice.
To this day, Katrina remembers little about the fall. She remembers standing upright and her feet coming out from under her like a cartoon character slipping on a banana peel. The next thing she remembers is calling 911 as she lay on the ground in pain. She must have hit her head because she sustained a traumatic brain injury that would define her life for the next four years. She says, “I wasn’t able to do anything, even pull my legs out from out of the bed. Walking, there were nerve problems. I’d try to write, and my brain didn’t want to do it. Having a brain injury you lose who you are.”
Unable to work, Katrina stayed in her apartment until she ran through her savings. Then she found herself homeless. She never thought it could happen to her. Katrina’s life had always been stable. She worked and paid rent and made good decisions. She was the one who helped others who were homeless. She’s learned from her experience, however. “It gave me a better and a broader, more appreciative understanding of people who are homeless because it can be anybody. Anything can happen to you. It can all change in a moment.”
For awhile, Katrina stayed with friends and family. However, it was difficult to manage her health and the challenges of staying in someone else’s home. To preserve relationships, she sought shelter for the first time in 2015, but shelter didn’t provide the stability Katrina needed. Then last fall, while staying at Our Saviour’s shelter, a staff member suggested that she try Our Saviour’s Transitional Housing Program. That was when things really started to change.
Katrina explains, “I moved here September 1, and everything has just been so much more at ease. Mentally, emotionally, financially, spiritually – everything has been so much different. You don’t have to worry about, ‘Okay, I have 90 days over here. Within those 90 days, I need to be trying to figure out where I’ll be living at next.’ I don’t have to take food and put it into bags because you don’t know when you’re going to eat. I don’t have to worry about some man trying to attack me.”
Beyond having a stable place to live, Katrina says she appreciates the environment of care. “[Our Saviour’s] has really nurtured me. They’ve really listened to me. No judging but giving wise advice. They want to know how you’re doing, the whole package. It’s not just, ‘Okay, you’re looking for housing. How’s your health?’ It’s the wellness of the whole complete person, and I think that is really awesome right there. They make you feel welcome and loved. They make you feel like you are worthy and this is just a bump – or a big ol’ hole – in the road, and we’re just gonna have to help you little by little to come up.”
The journey forward is still long, but Katrina is hopeful. She’s finally seeing progress in her health. “If you would have talked to me in September before I moved here or all the way back to 2013, I wouldn’t be able to answer you because I had a lot of cognitive problems. But I have occupational therapy, speech therapy, physical therapy, concussion treatment therapy. I have a rehabilitation doctor, chiropractor, so many neurologists. [Now] my brain is starting to go back to itself.”
As Katrina continues to heal, she’s grateful to have a home that makes it possible.