Tyronika is a 29-year-old mother of six children between five months and 11 years of age. She was laid off from her job at a nursing facility right before COVID-19 hit her community. With the loss of income and no other form of financial support, Tyronika and her children experienced homelessness and turned to The Salvation Army New Orleans Corps for assistance.
Tyronika, along with her six children, entered the shelter in January 2020, without food or shelter, and having just the clothes on their backs. During her time with The Salvation Army, she received nutritional meals for her family, assistance with searching for a job, finding childcare, and locating a new home.
“I lost my job last September and was evicted from my home. The only person I had to help me was my mother. She provided for my family when she could, allowing my kids and myself to live with her, but it eventually put her in a financial bind as well,” Tyronika shared.
She stayed with her mother for a while but eventually needed to find a shelter for her family until she could become financially stable. Tyronika was scared when she arrived at the shelter because she didn’t know what to expect, but soon grew to enjoy her neighbors and the Army.
“Living in a shelter was something new to me. I didn’t know if I could do it, but I felt comfortable after a few days. I started getting motivation from people who didn’t know me from Adam or Eve. My social workers, Ms. Treshone and Ms. Jhana, and Major Debbie Hull, were always there to help me,” Tyronika shared.
“I connected with Ms. Jhana a lot. She always told me to pick my head up and that she was proud of me. Ms. Treshone always told me how strong I was and let me know that she was there to help me. Their daily smiles lifted my spirit and helped me want to take care of myself and get back on track,” Tyronika added.
“That’s why I fight hard.”
Tyronkia deals with chronic anxiety and depression, as well as PTSD from being hit by a car while crossing the street a few years ago. Growing up, she dealt with these issues alone, not understanding their origin. She has learned more about mental health and is in therapy to learn how to cope with her conditions. She found it hard to manage these issues while living in a shelter because she wasn’t surrounded by close friends or family to connect with personally. There were also limited activities due to COVID-19. However, with the help of her social workers, she was able to pull herself through the ups and downs and continue being strong for herself and her children.
“Depression is a big monster. One day you’re motivated, and the next day you don’t want to be bothered. Staying at The Salvation Army was a good experience for me. My social workers were always there with an open heart and an open mind. They never turned me down. Ms. Jhana and Ms. Treshone helped me with my kids and loved them as their own. If I could go back to the shelter and give them all a hug, I would. I love them. I look at them as my family,” Tyronika shared.
“Being in a shelter during coronavirus with children was terrifying. The thought of one of my children contracting the virus scared me. Thankfully, we were never around a lot of people in the shelter. There were rigorous regulations to inform people to limit their contact with children, so I felt confident that my children were safe at the shelter,” Tyronika added.
“Tyronika stayed in our Rapid Rehousing program apartments for two and a half months. I was blessed by her sweet attitude and fell in love with her children. We are so happy for Tyronika. She is a true success story,” shares Treshone Collor, New Orleans Corps Director of Social Services.
“I’m home now.”
Tyronika met with social workers regularly to check on the progress of finding a job and home. On May 25th, Collor secured permanent housing for Tyronika and her family. She is now working as a home healthcare provider.
“It’s taking me one day at a time to get myself back on track financially. I’m now able to provide for my kids. Being a young mother with six children is a lot, and providing for them is a major accomplishment,” Tyronika shared.
“I’m so thankful for my mother and The Salvation Army because they helped me through such a trying time in my life. You go through things, and you learn from it. I’m home now. I have a home. I’m doing better and I’m working again. I’m getting back into a normal routine,” Tyronika added.
Tyronika is just one of the many stories of success we share atTheSalvationArmy. Through our staff’s dedication to others, we can guide families to self-reliance and advancement. Find out ways you can get involved to assist The Salvation Army in helping other families like Tyronika’s.