Stephanie grew up outside of Boston with a supportive family, but following the death of one of her brothers and then the loss of her first child, her entire life turned upside down. She began self-medicating with drugs. After a fire destroyed her home and all of her possessions, Stephanie became homeless. She knew she needed to get sober, but the stress of not knowing where she would get her next meal or where she would sleep each night made doing so enormously challenging.
Stephanie moved around between shelters for more than a year, and at one shelter, she had all of her belongings stolen. Eventually, Stephanie heard about how a MHSA member agency, Pine Street Inn, had programs to get people housed. Through Pine Street Inn, she was eventually enrolled in MHSA’s Pay for Success (PFS) program, the nation’s first social innovation financing program dedicated to addressing chronic homelessness by providing low-threshold, permanent supportive housing to those who would otherwise rely on costly emergency resources. Thanks to PFS, Stephanie now has the stability of a permanent home, which allows her to focus on her sobriety and keep appointments with health professionals. She now meets with a psychiatrist once a month, and her depression is improving.
“Having a home means never taking it for granted,” Stephanie said. “The best thing about housing is being independent and having your own spot.”