Our Families' Stories Say It All

My Refuge, by Brianna


My favorite place to be is not common to most people, but it has the most meaning to me in my life right now. If I could be anywhere at any given time, I would want to be in my apartment. For my family and me, it represents stability, security, and hope. My family earned this apartment from Saranam. My apartment is a two-bedroom and one-bath. It may not be much, but for the two years my family and I are in Saranam, it belongs to us. It’s our home.

My boyfriend and I come from a background of homelessness. We have gone through many things nobody should have to go through. Together, we have three children and because of obstacles in our way, they have been on this continuing journey of homelessness with us.  Last year, my boyfriend and I decided we were tired of this life. Our children deserve a better future.

Saranam was our beginning to a new life. When we moved into our apartment, the feeling of having our own space to call home was refreshing. The first thing that my eyes caught was a clear plaque hanging by a black ribbon on the wall. It says, “Home is where your story begins.”  I felt like I could breathe for the first time in my life.

My boyfriend loves to make our kids laugh, so while I’m cooking dinner in the kitchen, he and the kids are running throughout their room, the hallway and the living room screaming and laughing. It’s my favorite noise.  When we eat dinner, we all sit down at our big, brown dinner table in the kitchen and eat as a family. This is very important to my boyfriend and me because we never have been able to do this with our kids before. After dinner is bath time, and it’s always fun.  My children enjoy taking a real bath in their own bathroom instead of taking turns in the showers at the homeless shelter. 

Have you ever been so proud of something because you earned it, fought for it, and achieved it? That is how I feel about my apartment. Every day when I walk through the front door, I feel an inner peace knowing that this place is still going to be my family’s home when I come back. Being homeless, my boyfriend and I were constantly worrying about where we were going to be sleeping next, if we would be kicked out of this place soon, but most importantly, would our kids be safe? Having this apartment, being in Saranam, and making the positive changes we need to has changed our perspective on life and what being happy and stable really means. My apartment is like my rock and without it, I would be lost.  My apartment is my Heaven on Earth. It’s full of life, love and happiness, and I treasure every moment my family has when we are all there. 


Sarah is a 28 year old Hispanic mother of three when she came to Saranam. Sarah and her children are survivors of domestic abuse, the cause of their homelessness. It took Sarah several years to escape the violence of living with her husband. She feared for her own and her children’s lives, but finally found the strength to get help and get out.

While the abuser now is in prison, Sarah and her family are in therapy to work through the effects of this abuse. Sarah is learning the signs of abusive relationships to avoid future harmful relationships. Sarah has passed adult education, life skills training, and completed the medical office assistant coursework at the PIMA Medical Institute.

Sarah and her family have moved into their own house through Section 8 housing. After completing the Saranam program, Sarah has remained stable for over  three years now.  She and her family live in the same house and are now having the opportunity to purchase it from the owner!  She is managing two businesses and her children have all been doing well in school thanks to their stability.  Sarah endured very hard times, but her will and tenacity allowed Saranam to assist her in the journey to self-sufficiency.