by Cassidy Landry
The chill of that first winter night alone in my car still lingers in my memory, a stark reminder of the months of uncertainty and struggle that lay ahead. Christmas had just ended, a time that should have been filled with warmth and family, but for me, it marked the beginning of a harrowing journey through homelessness—a journey that led me to repeatedly question: “How did I end up here?”
Homelessness happens for a variety of reasons and in a variety of ways. Each story of homelessness is as unique as the individuals it affects. Reflecting back on my own journey, I now understand that my homelessness stemmed from a mix of factors—a distressing lack of family support, the sudden loss of my job, and the threat of domestic violence that hung over me.
My story is marked by the anguishing separation from my baby boy, living with the constant fear of an abusive partner, the struggles of turning a car into a home, and finding solace in the simple act of washing up in public restrooms. But amidst this, an unexpected phone call from CATCH became the beacon of hope that started a new chapter in my life.
CATCH is committed to providing long term housing and resources in the interim for Treasure Valley families and individuals tossed into the chaos of homelessness. I discovered their website on one of those sleepless nights, desperate for any help I could get. I admit I was doubtful at first—was it possible that such a place of hope was real?
I will always remember the call from CATCH that changed everything. It was an extremely oppressively hot day, I had experienced homelessness for seven months at this point, and the fear from the night before still hung heavy in the air – an abusive man in my life, a man I was trying to desperately escape from, got his hands on a gun. When he waved it in front of me, enjoying my fear, it felt as if my life was over. Feeling utterly alone and hopeless, I reached out to my mom, only to realize she couldn’t help me—not because she didn’t want to, but because what I truly needed was beyond the scope of any one person’s ability to provide. As I was on the verge of giving up, my phone rang. It was CATCH, offering me a lifeline.
The day I unlocked the door to my apartment for the first time is also etched in my memory. It wasn’t just a set of rooms; it was the start of something new and hopeful. Stepping into that place was like stepping into a promise of a better life for me and my kids, free from the fear of having no home.
Today, I’m still in that apartment, which has become our haven. The car where I once slept is gone. Now, my children fill this home with laughter and joy. My son, at nine years old, is a gentle soul whose kindness spreads warmth everywhere he goes. My little girl, three years old and full of energy, finds joy in every playful moment. And me? I’ve grown so much since then, earning my associate degree and now close to getting my bachelor’s. We’ve come a long way, and we’re just getting started.
Now when I drive past the spots where I used to park for the night, there’s a sense of surreal gratitude. It’s a reminder of a past chapter, one that taught me the invaluable difference between a place to rest and a place to live. I share my story in hopes that those who read it will gain empathy and be compelled to support local organizations like CATCH who are doing life changing work. It’s important to remember that behind every case of homelessness, there’s a complex story that deserves compassion and help, not criticism.
This holiday season, CATCH is calling on our generous community to help end homelessness for 22 more families. Please join me in giving what you can. Every donation matters and will make a tangible difference here in the Treasure Valley. Together, our care and generosity will change lives. My family is living proof.
Cassidy Landry is a mother who experienced homelessness and was housed with CATCH. You can hear her story here. She is a student at College of Western Idaho and was recently published in The Advocate, an official publication of the Idaho State Bar.