The Diocese of Des Moines
What St. Joseph Shelter is all about: Ericca's Story
Errica & Martell Jr., guests at St. Joseph Shelter.
What St. Joseph Shelter is all about: Ericca's Story
August 20, 2010
Written By: Trish Radke

Families come to St. Joseph Shelter for a variety of reasons. For some it is because of a job loss and for others, health issues play a large role. Generational poverty is a factor for many who come, although last year, 56% were homeless for the first time. Whatever the reason, all have a similar story-- they had no other place to go.


Below is a reflection of the events that led one mother, Ericca, to St. Joseph Shelter. 


"In the past year a lot of things have been happening. We had a home, we were struggling because I did not have a job but we always made ends meet. Over time, things began to change and things really got harder and then we lost our home.

We decided to move in with some friends and stayed there for one day and decided it was not the place for us. During this time I began going to school at DMACC while [my boyfriend] kept the baby. We went to a motel but soon realized that we could not afford it so we went back to our friends and paid them rent. That same day they kicked us out... which has led us here."


A few weeks ago, I had the opportunity to meet Ericca, an extremely bright young woman, and her adorable five-month old, Martel Jr. While at St. Joseph, Errica and Martel Junior's father, worked with Sherry, the Shelter Advocate, to find an affordable place to live. Ericca, who had to quit school due to the circumstances, was able to re-enroll in DMACC.


While things will continue to be a struggle for the family of three, Ericca left the shelter with a place to call home, the opportunity to continue her education and hope for a better future. 


That is what St. Joseph Shelter is all about.



During the month of August, Catholic Charities’ staff and committee members are "Blogging the Build". Follow our blog for updates on the expansion of St. Joseph Emergency Family Shelter.

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