Meet darlene

This fall, your support made it possible for Sunrise to house our 1,000th client, Darlene! But to us 1,000 is much more than a number.

This Giving Tuesday, we honor Darlene’s bravery and her journey to housing and healing.

Darlene says she came from nothing, moving from school to school, place to place, when she was little. Her mom was the sole caretaker for her and her five siblings. Reflecting on her childhood, Darlene told us, “it’s been tough, and I really haven’t been that strong…sometimes I [got] so depressed.” But when she met her now ex-husband, she started to have hope that her kids would have the two things she didn’t when she was growing up: stability and roots.

On the surface, her 20+ year marriage was going well. Darlene and her husband had settled down in Ohio and started new business ventures that prospered, providing a stable home for their growing family of six. But people “didn’t know what [was happening] behind closed doors.” After years of abuse, Darlene moved all her belongings into storage in Austin, TX, so she could stay with her mom and other family members. But the house was overcrowded, and it wasn’t long before domestic disputes and limited income meant Darlene was living out of her car.

Darlene was hurting. 

Lonely and reeling from broken relationships, Darlene learned about Sunrise from her sister in 2018.

For the past four years, Darlene has come to Sunrise for warm showers, food, mail, supplies for her two chihuahuas, coordinated housing assessments, and to see a doctor for her chronic arthritis pain that limits her mobility. Darlene also worked with Sunrise staff to complete her Community First! Village tour and housing application. Darlene told us, “so many of the people that work at Sunrise are caring. When you keep going [to Sunrise], it’s almost like they are your family.”

On September 14, 2022, Darlene moved into her new house in the village!

Her new house reminds Darlene of a log cabin when she used to go camping. She’s eager to make it a home by using her passion for decorating to incorporate items like her cherished china cabinet that she’s had in storage for years.

More than anything, Darlene is excited for the chance to start over.

“I like my new place; I like it because I am parked [after living out of my car for years]. I can’t wait to meet the people that live here…I’m a very friendly person, talkative, caring. If I see somebody who looks sad, I want to see if there is anything I can do to cheer them up.”

Because of you, Darlene has the stability and support to think about how she can help others.

With a generous gift to Sunrise, you too can help others on their journey to housing and healing. Just $50 can provide the crucial identification documents our clients need to start the housing application process.

Please make a donation today.