Our Success Stories – Carolyn

After living on the streets for three decades, Carolyn (left, pictured with her case manager Amanda) rang in the New Year in her very own home. For the first few weeks after moving in, she didn’t unpack, fearing that she wouldn’t be there long. After 30 years of moving every couple of days, it just becomes habit.

Carolyn moved into foster care at age 14. Her mother had been murdered by her second husband, and Carolyn chose to live in a Christian Children’s Home in hopes of escaping her difficult life. She had to leave when she turned 18 and lived in tents, barns, hotels and anywhere she could find a sheltered space. She had a son who was taken away when he was four. That’s when depression hit and her life began to unravel.

“Living outside is dangerous,” said Carolyn. “You have to camp in twos so you have someone to watch your back. People will kill you just to get your boots. You can freeze to death and if you’re taking medication, you have nowhere to store it. You can’t take it regularly and you can get really sick.”

Carolyn moved to Western North Carolina three years ago. She registered at AHOPE so she’d have an official address and got a job as a flagger on a construction crew. She couldn’t afford a place to rent so she slept in a sleeping bag by the French Broad River. She woke up every morning at 2:30 to get to work by 4:30. Carolyn often wouldn’t return to her campsite until after 9:00 pm. Then the next day she’d get up and do it all over again.

Homeward Bound Case Manager Amanda Thomas moved Carolyn into a small apartment in West Asheville on Dec. 14, two weeks after being assigned to her. Carolyn continues to work as a flagger during the season. She loves to cook, read books, feed the cats and squirrels, and especially loves being warm at night. She still worries about her friends who are living outside, but hopes they too will come to Homeward Bound and find the warmth of living inside.

In 2017, Homeward Bound moved more than 190 people off the streets, out of cars, camps and shelters and into permanent housing. We couldn’t do this important work without your support.