Meet Emma and Tomás
A second chance at life.
The day that Emmy and Tomás* showed up at Crossroads was very hot and humid. They'd been staying on a friend’s pullout in a 3rd floor Providence apartment, but it did not have any air conditioning.
“It was like trying to sleep in an oven,” said Tomás. “We wanted to buy an air conditioner, but we didn’t have enough money. Emmy couldn’t take it anymore, so we left, even though we didn’t have any place else to go.” Fortunately, Crossroads was able to find the pair a room at their Couples Shelter. It wasn’t air conditioned either, but their new room was shaded by a large maple tree and felt much cooler. It even had a queen-sized bed—a real bed—instead of a pullout.
“Tomás and Emmy both had serious, untreated mental health issues,” according to Jill, their Crossroads case manager, who quickly connected the couple with outside mental health services. “Tomás was ultimately diagnosed with PTSD and we found out that Emmy had been abused as a child. That trauma made it very difficult for either of them to hold down a job and lead productive lives.”
But having a safe and stable place to stay really helped. With continued encouragement from their case manager, the couple kept regular appointments with their mental health providers and Tomás started taking medication for the first time. “I finally felt like I could think straight,” he reported. Once she was feeling better, Emmy decided to enroll in Crossroads’ Certified Nursing Assistant (CNA) training. “The day I graduated was one of the proudest days of my life,” Emmy said with a big smile, her brown eyes welling up with tears. “Tomás brought me flowers and I felt like I had finally accomplished something.”
Within a few short weeks of graduation, Emmy was offered a job at a local hospital where she still proudly works today, delivering patient meals, changing bed linens and taking people’s blood pressure. “I really like helping people,” she added.
“When Emmy signed up for that training, I knew I had to do something,” said Tomás, who hadn’t been able to graduate from high school.
So, with a little help from Crossroads and a lot of hard work, Tomás earned his high school equivalency diploma, took classes on how to job interview and eventually landed a job at a local call center, which paid him a decent salary.
“Emmy and Tomás are such an inspiration,” said Jill. “Six months after they walked through our front door, homeless and with few prospects, we were able to move them out of shelter and into a home of their own. My coworkers and I cried when we handed them the keys to their new apartment.”
According to Jill, Crossroads helped the couple out with a few months of rental assistance and provided them a few necessities like pots and pans and bed linens. But today, Emmy and Tomás are both working, financially independent and making the most out of their second chance at life.
*Names and photo have been changed to protect client identity.