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A Sacrifice Too Big - Testimony Tuesday

*Name has been changed to protect the privacy of our residents.

When Mary* walked into the doors of MATS, she was determined to make it worth her while. She was a veteran who had recently served overseas; and when she came home, she overextended herself in an attempt to help a friend. She gave above and beyond for this person, but then found herself without the means to take care of herself. She was now homeless.

Mary's mindset coming into the program was that she was going to do whatever it would take to get back on her feet. She had gone back to college, pursuing a nursing degree; but she also knew she would need to have sustainable income during that time. MATS residents are required to find sustainable income while working the program, and Mary knew her success in school would be linked to being able to take care of herself as well.

So she found a job and attended classes, leaving little to no time for leisure. Like other residents, she also did budgeting and chores, always completing them without complaining. Her perseverance and great attitude was an inspiration for all of us, and the case managers enjoyed working with her.

Through a collaborated effort of MATS and the Volunteers of American veterans program, Mary was able to find her own housing while continuing to work and attend school. She is continuing to do well and will soon be graduating with her nursing degree.

Often, we have a picture in our head of what we think homelessness should look like. We imagine lazy people with no work ethic who don't care to make a difference in their lives; and while that certainly can be true in some situations, stories like Mary's help us to see that sometimes homelessness is just a heart too big for someone's budget. Sometimes a simple reset of priorities can make the turnaround for someone's entire future. And that is why we do what we do at MATS.

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