Eliza and her 10-year-old daughter found refuge — and a new start — in a Hopelink shelter.

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“I lost everything,” Eliza said, in tears. “My family came apart. I had no money, no job, nowhere to live.”

Eliza had grown up in an abusive family, living a childhood regularly shattered by fear. When she married, she promised herself things would be different; that domestic violence would be a thing of the past. But Eliza’s resolve and more than a decade of trying to make her marriage work weren’t enough to protect her from the same abuse she had witnessed as a child.

When she finally found the courage to leave, Eliza was scared and exhausted, and the strain of her home life had left her deeply depressed and sick. The thought of starting over was terrifying.

Eliza and her 10-year-old daughter found refuge — and a new start — in a Hopelink shelter. A safe, welcoming place to live was a relief, but a roof over their heads was only a first step. As expected of all families in Hopelink housing, Eliza began meeting weekly with her case manager — setting goals, mapping out a plan for her future and regularly tracking her progress.

She quickly landed a job in a restaurant, and although the sometimes seven-day work week was physically tiring, Eliza never wavered in her commitment to build a better life for her family. She was on a path out of poverty.

Within six months, Eliza had found a new full-time job in childcare, paid off a car loan and other debts, and saved enough to move into her own apartment with her daughter. Eliza says that for the first time in her life, she feels she can support herself, and she is no longer defined by her past.

“It wasn’t easy, but the hardest part is behind me now,” she said. “If it wasn’t for Hopelink, I wouldn’t have been able to do what I have.”

Happy endings similar to Eliza’s happen every day at Hopelink. The organization’s solid network of services is twofold: ensuring stability for those in crisis, and helping those who are stable acquire the skills and knowledge they need to exit poverty. With service centers throughout King County, Hopelink helped more than 64,000 people last year.

For more information about Hopelink, visit hopelink.org