Stephanie Primm and Jen Burns at the Hospitality House Family homeless shelter, in front of the Christmas tree decorated with ornaments made by the seven children who will wake up there Christmas morning.
Stephanie Primm and Jen Burns at the Hospitality House Family homeless shelter, in front of the Christmas tree decorated with ornaments made by the seven children who will wake up there Christmas morning.
I work at the Knox County Homeless Coalition (KCHC) three days a week and have some cleaning jobs to fill in. I have a car and I have been in the same apartment for two years now.

Three years ago I was homeless.

I had no job, no vehicle, and my life was in total chaos.

Stephanie Primm [KCHC executive director] came to one of our house meetings with her pup Ted. She took me aside and asked how I was and how I felt they were doing in helping me. Everything she does comes from the heart and when it comes from the heart it reaches the heart.

It must be contagious because all the staff go above and beyond.

There’s never a bad word, no one is looking down on you. Case managers help you set goals and teach you how to stay focused and make those things happen. They help you with everything that is affecting you, no matter how small.

When I’m feeling overwhelmed it’s almost paralyzing. They’ve given me the tools to stop and say, “Okay, this is what I want to do first.”

Having been homeless a few times in the past, I am grateful that someone finally figured out there is more to it than just getting people housed. Being homeless is a series of events. It’s a lack of knowing how to sustain yourself, and having someone give you the tools to be self-sufficient is huge.

I was reading a single person in the midcoast needs to make $17 an hour to afford a normal rent, and when you add three kids.… But my bills are mostly caught up and we still have a roof over our heads, so I’m not complaining. My focus right now is to become stable enough to not have the fear all the time of being homeless again.

In January I needed money for a personal reason and they asked how I would feel about doing some work in the office. They started giving me more responsibility and last month Laurie asked if I wanted to take a permanent position doing administrative assistant work. I admire Laurie so much. She does it all with a smile.

The job is part-time for now. Once I learn more there will be more to do.

I created the donation box that is in the Bar Harbor Bank and Trust. It was really fun. I wrapped it then got the idea to make it look like a house since it is for a homeless shelter, and I put lights on top so it looks like a decorated house. I have been getting a lot of ideas lately.

I am proud to be a part of this amazing team of people who work miracles for others in need.

KCHC has brought me the gift of hope, as well as a sense of purpose every time I step through the door.