After leaving an abusive marriage, Mindy found herself displaced and learning how to be a single mom. She was living in a small apartment in Utah, where she had very little support around her. When she thought she was at her lowest, the world was ravaged by COVID-19, forcing Mindy and her 11-year-old son into homelessness. With nowhere else to go, Mindy put all of her belongings in storage, packed a suitcase for herself and her son, and boarded a Greyhound to come back to her hometown in Boise. Before leaving, Mindy had arranged to stay with a friend, but when she arrived, learned that her friend had passed away.
Mindy remembers giving the rest of her money to a taxi driver, to take them as far as they could go. When the meter ran out, Mindy and her son, Valor, found themselves in a park where they set up the tent they would call home. Mindy says her sense of safety came from the taser she kept in her pocket at all times. Her time experiencing homelessness was draining–Mindy said that, even if she looked alright, there was a turmoil in herself from being on high alert at all times. All she wanted was a safe place to rest, bathe, and breathe.
Desperate for a place to stay, Mindy worked day labor jobs to pay for hotel rooms. While it wasn’t permanent, the stability that came from a safe place to sleep gave Mindy the space she needed to get help. She now remembers thinking that there was no way the programs worked, but that she didn’t know what else to do. When she got the call to begin the CATCH Program, she found hope.
Mindy remembers meeting her case manager, Jesse, in the park, where Jesse explained how the CATCH Program worked. Even though she thought it was too good to be true, Mindy says she knew she wanted to give it her all. The two met as much as possible to address housing barriers and create solutions. Mindy recalls waking up hours early just to search for apartments. She says that just having support was life-changing. Jesse and Mindy filled out several applications, and were even meeting with landlords to discuss Mindy’s situation. In September of 2019, when she found out she had been approved for housing, Mindy drove by her soon-to-be apartment just to tell herself, “this is going to be my street.”
Mindy remembers being flooded with feelings after she moved in, scared of what could come next and struggling to feel like she deserved her new home. Though there were times she wanted to pack up and leave, Mindy says that she trusted the support that came from CATCH and other services. Ultimately, Mindy decided that her son deserves a safe place to grow. She kept working. Jesse says Mindy always came to her appointments with a to-do list of goals to work on, and had a remarkable determination to meet those goals.
This is Mindy and Valor second year being stably housed and self-sufficient. With money she saved, Mindy was able to purchase a car so she could gain meaningful employment. A lifetime lover of fitness, Mindy is now employed as a personal trainer and American Ninja Warrior coach. This is a lifelong dream of Mindy’s, which she says would not be possible without CATCH. Her son, Valor, goes to school nearby and is still trying to figure out what he wants to be when he grows up, but has discovered a love of animals both wild and domestic. Valor says having a home is the “best” for him and his mom, and says home is the place where he feels safe.