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She acknowledges that she doesn't always make the best decisions, but she knows ELAHP will always be there to support her.
Mary is a 59 year old woman with a big smile and a southern accent that fills a room. She is a mother of three, and a grandmother of six. Seven years ago, Mary came to Boston from South Carolina to take care of her sister who was very ill. She stayed with her sister, caring for her until she died. But with her sister gone, Mary had to leave the apartment because it was in her sister’s name. She also started drinking. With nowhere to live, she ended up living under bridges, in homeless camps. She was drinking all the time now and says she had given up on herself. “When I didn't have a place to live, I was trying to get rid of myself, overdosing on pills, standing in front of trucks.”
During a bad snowstorm one winter, Mary decided to go to Rosie's Place, a women's shelter. There, she got a job cleaning bathrooms and kitchens. Mary liked the satisfaction that work gave her and always tried to do her job well. After she exhausted the maximum amount of time that she could spend at Rosie's Place, Mary went to Pine Street Inn. She got a job at Pine Street earning five dollars an hour and was proud of her work. Seeing that she could be successful at something, Mary began to believe she could have a better life. While at Pine Street, she connected with Elders Living at Home Program (ELAHP) and her life started to turn around.
Mary is grateful for the endless amount of support that ELAHP staff has given her. Thanks to ELAHP, she now lives in her own apartment in a neighborhood she likes. Although she has had her own apartment for over six years, she remains in close contact with ELAHP staff. Mary is illiterate and works with a bill payer program to help her manage her finances. She acknowledges that she doesn't always make the best decisions, but knows ELAHP will always be there to support her. She now has hope for the future.
Although Mary still struggles with alcoholism, she knows she has people who believe in her. “They are beautiful. They don't want nothing to happen to me. They're right there saying 'Mary why'd you do that, you know you could have come to us'” Bringing her hand to her chest she says, “These people are my heart.”