Tara is 33 and for years was in a very violent relationship with a man who was associated with an infamous biker gang. The violence continually increased and she finally managed to escape in 2012 and go into hiding. It took her four years before she could use her real name.
During this time, Tara stayed on and off with friends, but mostly camped in the woods.
Tara came here in 2016 with the clothes on her back. She wanted a fresh start and had heard about “quirky” Asheville. She felt like she would fit in, so she took a chance and hitchhiked here. She arrived in Asheville with only the clothes on her back.
Tara felt triggered by the chaos at shelters where she stayed, so she made the choice to camp in the woods, where she felt she had more control over her environment, and was less traumatized.
Tara was able to find housing on her own but was having difficulties. Homeward Bound Case Manager Jerry was at Deaverview one day in January of 2020, visiting a client, and came across Tara in the parking lot – – she was distressed about several unwanted guests at her apartment and was asking for help. Jerry connected Tara with case manager Phyllis Taylor who works with survivors of domestic violence who have experienced homelessness.
Tara has been successfully housed for a year. Living in the safety and security of a home enabled Tara to begin counseling and she is currently taking medication to ease symptoms of PTSD and the effects of long-term trauma. She has applied for disability and is following through with appointments and Tara has recently begun a new relationship. She feels she can trust people again.
Tara said, “I am just now beginning to get out into the world again and remember that I am a valuable, worthy human being and not disposable garbage.”
Tara’s goal is to move closer to her mother and get a job in sales. Tara would like to be able to give back to the community with support by way of supplying camping gear and essentials for the homeless.
Tara wants people to understand that people are homeless because something happened to them, and they need help to get out (of the situation).
She said, “I just want to thank Homeward Bound for supporting me and believing in me, and giving me a platform to start over. It’s unprecedented and I’m forever grateful.”