Alexandria’s Rocky Journey to a Fresh Start

Dec 1, 2020

The move was supposed to be a fresh start. Alexandria, her husband Oscar, and their three sons (ages 7, 5, and 1) were moving from Ohio to Illinois to be near Oscar’s dad. COVID-19 had caused Alexandria and Oscar’s painting and remodeling business to go under, so they needed new jobs. The couple also decided to finally address their drug addiction, seeking to get clean in a new environment. “We wanted to get away from everything,” Alexandria said.

But then they got in a car accident. And in the process authorities took the kids away from their detoxing parents. DCFS said the boys could stay with their grandpa, but that their parents couldn’t live under the same roof. Meaning Alexandria and Oscar were now homeless. 

“I left my family to start over,” Alexandria said. “And it all got messed up along the way.” She and Oscar had to write “homeless” on job applications, turning off any potential employers. They didn’t have a car either, as the repairs to fix it after the accident were too expensive. “We couldn’t catch a break.”

Alexandria started reaching out to area shelters. “I didn’t think anyone would want to help us,” she said. Thankfully, Erin Andrews, a caseworker at the DeKalb Salvation Army Corps Community Center, proved her wrong.

Erin got them into a one-room apartment, working with a landlord with a heart for helping people get back on their feet. “That never would have happened without Erin,” Alexandria said. Erin also referred them to an organization that helped them get jobs. Alexandria now works as a debt collector.

Having an income means the couple can provide child support for Oscar’s dad. They also give him some of the food they receive at the DeKalb corps’ food pantry every week. “That helps so much,” Alexandria said. After a couple months, a real apartment in their building opened and their landlord let them move in. Having a home means the couple can have their sons with them on the weekends.

During this time Alexandria and Oscar entered an outpatient rehab program and are close to 100 days clean. They’ve also been taking parenting classes, making their court appointments, and are on track to get their boys back in December.

Whenever a tough day or setback comes, Alexandria looks back at her journey this year and says, “Look at how far you’ve come, girl. You got this!”

“We’re getting there,” Alexandria said, expressing gratitude for the role the Army has played in their progress. “The Salvation Army means so much to us. They helped us when we had nobody. They were kind enough to provide us a place to call home. The Salvation Army meant a new life.”


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