Steps and Support For a Better Life: DeAnna’s Story

December 13, 2021


When DeAnna was hospitalized due to an abusive relationship, friends at her job in Florida got together and gave her a gift card to leave town. At the bus station with no plan of where to go, DeAnna closed her eyes, put her finger on the map, and got on a bus to Charlotte. What felt like desperation was a very brave step.

Twana & DeAnna

When she arrived in Charlotte, Deanna quickly made friends and ended up sleeping outside with a homeless community called the Greenway Crew. “My friends showed me how to get around and what to do,” she says. She became immersed in the lifestyle, including drinking and substance use, but she didn’t want to stay there. DeAnna wanted safety and stability.

Roof Above’s street outreach team connected with DeAnna and together they worked on a path to housing. “Janetta was wonderful to me and helped me to get out. All those friends from the Greenway have passed away except me.”

DeAnna entered our Scattered Site supportive housing program that places clients in individual apartments throughout Charlotte. Twana Bodison became DeAnna’s case manager and staunch supporter for the turbulent times ahead.

When asked how it felt when she first moved into an apartment, DeAnna says, “It felt different and took me a while to know that I’ve got somewhere to go. It took three months to get used to it. I would still go outside sometimes. But it felt good to have a key and walk in, and I thank God every day now for the roof over my head.”

The trauma of past abuse and homelessness was compounded by DeAnna’s relationship with a man she had met earlier in her time on the street. He broke into her apartment and attempted to take her life. He was arrested and DeAnna was moved to another apartment. Twana was by DeAnna’s side in court every day of the trial until the man was convicted and sent to prison. “It was scary for her and for me, too,” Twana recalls, and the experience formed a close bond between them.

Seeing the two women together, their mutual trust is genuine and powerful. DeAnna earnestly expresses how important support continues to be on this journey. “Twana is amazing. It makes me feel good knowing someone is there with me.” In turn, Twana credits DeAnna for her own hard work towards a better life. “I told her, there is no judgment here. We will build you up from the bottom of your feet to the top of your head. It doesn’t matter how many times we start again. Now she is around people who care. She has always pushed through.”

After several years of housing stability, DeAnna’s self-confidence has grown and her outlook is bright. She earns money performing deep cleaning for apartment inspections. She has a doctor now and looks forward to getting healthier. Her hard-earned victories add up to a new life.

Best of all, DeAnna has reconnected with her family. Her older sister contacted her, wanting to make amends, and recently sent her a bus ticket for a visit. This time DeAnna got on the bus knowing she was going to Alabama to be reunited with her children, her siblings, and to surprise her mother.