“If Compassion House wasn't here, I would never be this person sitting here now. It would have been a repeated cycle.”

Shortly after Janina gave birth to her son, she realized that her marriage of five years was an emotionally abusive situation. “Whenever one person tries to control another person that can get abusive. It was a very controlling, oppressive relationship and that’s why I decided we could have a better life,” Janina said. So, Janina moved herself and her two children from Seattle, Washington, to Martin County. She originally hoped to stay with her sister for a just a couple of months.

“And then I just stayed,” she said. When that was no longer an option, she started looking around for housing and discovered United Way funded Compassion House at Salvation Army of Martin County. This is a transitional housing facility for women and their children who have fallen upon homelessness, rough times, or have recently come out of abusive living situations. The stay is typically about three to four months. Enough time to help residents get back on their feet and find resources they couldn’t connect with before.

“I was picturing a homeless shelter, like a hurricane shelter, but when I saw the pretty pictures of the living facility and just saw that really, it’s an amazing opportunity,” She said. “It went from: I don’t know if I want to live in a place like that with my kids, to: please let me live here. Because I could just see it had the potential I needed, to get to where I needed to be.” Now they live in their own place and they are living off Janina’s own income. “The kids are thriving. They have their own room. They know where things are. It’s organized. We have all of our needs met. It’s peaceful. I feel like now we’re finally out of survival mode.” She says that people need support, we need each other. She is learning how to reach out more often and ask for help, because she says, you don’t need to be alone.

“If Compassion House wasn’t here, I would never be this person sitting here now. It would’ve been a repeated cycle. I wouldn’t be where I am that’s for sure.”

Compassion House at Salvation Army of Martin County is one of 47 programs funded by United Way of Martin County. Your gift helps Janina and thousands of other Martin County families create a better life. That’s what it means to LIVE UNITED.