Finding hope for a better life

MEDFORD, Ore. —  Jennifer Covarrubias says finding a sense of hope was critical in helping her move from homelessness to stability.

“For me, Rogue Retreat provided the hope that I needed,” she says. It was helpful for her “to see that there are people out there in the community who have compassion for people who struggle.”

Jennifer CovarrubiasIn 2016, Jennifer had been homeless for a couple of years. When she was a few months pregnant, she was ready to “take the hand that was being handed out,” and connected with both Rogue Retreat and Maslow Project, two southern Oregon organizations that help people who are experiencing homelessness.

Jackson Care Connect, Rogue Retreat and Maslow Project worked together to quickly secure housing for Jennifer in Heather’s Haven, the women’s group home at Rogue Retreat. Priority for those spaces is given to Jackson Care Connect members. She remained in the women’s home until her baby was born and a space opened in Rogue Retreat’s Starting Strong studio apartment, which is reserved for women with young children.

Now her baby is 15 months old, and she has moved into Rogue Retreat’s affordable housing program. She is working full time for a career college, and enjoys helping others find experiences that allow them to grow.

“I just feel like I found a new-found hope, and I am very grateful for everything that I have gone through and all the blessings in my life,” she says. “Everything just kind of fell into place once I got into safe and sober housing.”

Jennifer says her experience being homeless was a huge learning experience. She discovered that people from all walks of life, all ages and all different backgrounds can experience homelessness.

“It made me realize that we are all one bad decision or one unforeseen circumstance away from a completely different life,” she says.

The case management Jennifer had through Rogue Retreat helped her set her own goals to improving her life.

“I liked having options and having a say in the type of care I needed,” she says. “I felt like I could go at my own pace. That was really important to me. To have a voice.”

Now that she is sober and building a stable life for herself and her children, Jennifer is inspired to share her story in hopes that it may help others. She recently participated in a panel at the Jackson Care Connect Spring Conference, where she spoke in front of 200 local health care and social services professionals.

 “It made me hopeful to see the network of people throughout the community who really care, and [to see them] be open to ideas that might work,” she says.

Jennifer also has advice for those who are struggling to change their lives.

“Whenever they are ready—whenever that might be—there are so many people in the community, at so many levels, from food banks up to legislators, that are coming together to work together to be able to offer that help,” she says. “There are people out there who care. Don’t get discouraged. There is hope, and there is love out there.”

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