When you meet Lanonya and see the confidence and strength that beams from her face, you would never know that she was once a homeless mother of four. In the not-so-distant past, during long, difficult nights in a shelter in Calumet Township, she remembers feeling overwhelmed and unprepared for the journey back to being housed. Yet the shelter is where she learned about Sojourner Truth House—which turned out to be the beginning of the journey.

At STH, while she participated in the day center program, Lanonya was able to leave the stress of the shelter behind. “Everyone there was nice,” she recalls. “I felt empowered to be in a place where people told me there’s help, you can overcome this. It was a blessing.”

Staff watched her children while she attended classes and focused on her own needs. Lanonya conducted job searches, received information on housing and education, and she and her family enjoyed nutritious meals from the STH kitchen. She appreciated the peace-filled atmosphere that staff and volunteers created for moms and children.

“It was a really hard time, and crazy, and I didn’t understand what was going on,” Lanonya shares. “But being there at Sojourner I felt some type of happiness. I felt like mentally it was a break from the reality that I was unhoused. The shelter wasn’t a pleasant place to be, and so I looked forward every day to getting up and going to Sojourner. I think everyone there at the time felt at peace. We were able to let loose, let go, have fun, and just feel normal for a moment. They looked out for us mentally, spiritually, and physically, but you had to put in the work. That’s what I loved about STH.”

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