‘It’s a miracle:’ Woman shares story of survival and resilience thanks to local program
By Meghan Danahey
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BUNCOMBE COUNTY, North Carolina (WLOS) — One Asheville woman calls a new option helping women and children escape homelessness “a miracle.”
Jennifer is a domestic violence survivor and she was homeless in Asheville for eight months. One cold, “Code Purple” night, she checked into ABCCM’s Transformation Village looking for a warm, safe place to rest. During Code Purple nights, when temperatures are forecasted to drop below freezing, participating shelters in Asheville and Buncombe County will provide more beds with fewer requirements than their typical programming.
“Two years ago I was a business owner,” Jennifer told News 13. “But I left an abusive marriage, so I relapsed out on these streets. One minute to the next, I didn’t know if I would survive the day, really. If it wasn’t for code purple and the volunteers, they were angels in my life. Transformation Village is not just an answered prayer, it’s a miracle.”
What she actually found was a pathway back to what Jennifer calls “normal.” She now lives at the facility full time, enjoys group therapy fellowship there and takes life-skill classes like conflict resolution and how to manage financing. Jennifer hopes to take a twelve-week course on behavioral health next. She calls all the programs they offer a “lifesaver.”
Safe Haven Coordinator at Transformation Village, Ginger Hicks, said she knew as soon as she met and talked with Jennifer that she was intelligent, organized and driven. Hicks thought Jennifer would be an excellent candidate for their residency program. There is a waitlist, but women need to submit an application, check in every week to keep their case active, interview then a committee selects full-time residents.
Hicks explains what the program looks like next in the video below:
Transformation Village is one of three shelter locations served by Asheville Buncombe Community Christian Ministry (ABCCM). Women and children can stay at Transformation Village. Veteran and civilian men can stay at one of the other two shelter locations, Veterans Restoration Quarters and Recovery Living/Costello House. There are 130 beds between the three facilities. ABCCM has already provided nearly 1,600 overnight stays since Code Purple season began in mid-October.
Ginger says they have helped 100 women alone at her shelter since mid-October. When they come in, they get a warm blanket, clean cot, hot meal, personal hygiene items, clean clothes and anything else that they might need to feel safe and warm for the night.
She says guests from Transformation Village come from all backgrounds:
WLOS is proud to partner with ABCCM again this year with their Safe and Warm campaign. The drive runs through February and also raises funds to prevent utility cut-offs, and provide heating assistance, blankets and coats to the elderly and families in the area struggling to keep warm during the cold winter months.
You can donate new or gently used blankets and warm winter clothing at one of the drop off sites at Carolina Furniture Concepts, First Citizens Bank and ABCCM.
It is easy to make monetary donations by going online to abccm.org.
Carolina Furniture Concepts will match all monetary donations up to $30,000.
WLOS, Carolina Furniture Concepts, College Hunks Moving Junk and First Citizens Bank are proud Safe and Warm sponsors.
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