Apr 05, 2018
Youth Spotlight—Rose Edwards
“Never give up,” is the motto Rose carried with her during her years as a homeless youth in Vancouver, WA. After over five years of homelessness, struggling with addiction and ending up in jail repeatedly, Rose turned a new leaf on life. At 24, she is a supervisor at Papa Murphy’s, has a one-bedroom apartment, spends time with her six-year old son and is completely clean.
Her homelessness started at age 18 when she left home because of a falling out with a family member over her drug use and relapse. While Rose was able to get support, hoping to change the course her life was taking, she was not ready to quit. Eventually, Rose got into a program at Open House Ministries in Vancouver where she received rent-free housing for a year. When that ended, she was back on the street, trying to survive but relapsed again and sent to jail. In lieu of extended jail time, Rose enrolled in a Drug Court program that offered treatment and recovery support services. This was a turning point for her. “I realized I couldn’t help myself alone, it didn’t work.” While in the program, the Vancouver Housing Authority placed Rose with a caseworker at Janus who tirelessly worked with her to find housing. Says Rose, “It took a year to find stable housing and it was an emotional rollercoaster ride. I hit bottom, relapsed and was back in jail. Fortunately, my caseworker never gave up on me and was always kind and reassuring, which helped me get through that tough time.” Finally, Rose and her Janus caseworker found her an apartment where she has been happily living for a year. “A month before I moved into my home, I sobered up. Having my own space and a place to go home every night where I can shower and store my own things—I never had that,” says Rose.
Next month, Rose will graduate from the Drug Court program. She plans to become a mentor there to help others who are in similar situations as she once was. She also believes that staying involved in the program will be a good reminder never to go back to her former life.
One of the most important outcomes of having her own home, in addition to being clean and employed, is that Rose was able to have her son back within two months of moving into her home. Says Rose, “Last week I took him to school for the first time. Having housing stability gives me a chance to be a mom.”