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I never had support before I came to CCC.
Dana is a firm believer that anything is possible with hard work and dedication. Combined with devotion to her son, and unfailing support from Central City Concern, it’s her personal recipe for success.
“I’m coming up on three years of recovery, and my core beliefs and values have changed. I know that if I can do it, so can you – but I do know that it takes support. I never had that before I came to CCC.”
These days, Dana is building a meaningful career in human services, living in CCC’s Hazel Heights apartments and surrounding her teenaged son with love. But three years ago, she was in a much different place. After struggling with substance use disorder for eight years, she’d finally sought treatment and attained sobriety – but the program she graduated from didn’t have wraparound services. At the end of treatment, she had nowhere to go.
“I was never homeless until I got sober,” Dana says.
Dana was homeless for two months. At the same time, she was working full time for little pay and continuing to attend daily recovery meetings to maintain her sobriety. With limited resources and a criminal record, finding a place to live was tough.
Finally, Dana found CCC. She was hired in one of CCC’s workforce reentry programs and started rebuilding her resume. Then she became a client and got connected to housing and employment services. As Dana’s life stabilized, she had time to think about the future. Dana realized she could turn her past experiences into a profession that would impact others positively. She decided to become a certified recovery mentor.
But when COVID-19 hit, Dana had to put her dreams for the future on hold. Her recovery mentor training was cancelled. Like many in our community, Dana worried about how she would take care of herself and her son, who splits his time between Hazel Heights and his grandparents’ house on the Oregon coast.
“I spent hours on the phone waiting for unemployment, and my federal payment never came,” she recalls. “I felt defeated by the virus. Like I’d worked really hard to restore balance in my life, and now everything was out of balance again.”
Dana knew that she wasn’t in danger of losing her home, but as the bills kept piling up, her distress also grew.
Then Dana learned about the CCC Rent Assistance fund, which provides rental payments for those impacted by the pandemic. The Hazel Heights resident support services team called her to say they’d help make sure she could access the resources that were available to her. She didn’t even have to ask.
“They said I was doing great, and they didn’t want me to go backward. It was a huge weight off my shoulders,” recalls Dana.
In July 2020, Dana was finally able to complete her certified recovery mentor training over Zoom. It felt like a step in the right direction, but even with her new credentials it took five weeks of daily job applications for her to hear back from any employers. CCC’s Employment Access Center helped her stay positive.
“I kept talking with my career coach, and she kept giving me support. We updated my cover letter, she sent me online classes. I kept on plugging away every day.”
Today Dana has a job she loves, providing crucial recovery and mental health support to people in need. The support she received from CCC during COVID-19 eased her worries, so now she’s free to focus on others and give back to the community through her work.
“My gratitude runs so deep,” Dana says.
Dana knows there’s more hard work ahead – making a stable home for her son, continuing her commitment to recovery, advancing her career, even going back to school for her associate’s degree.
But she also knows she won’t have to tackle it alone.
Dana calls Central City Concern “the next step people: as long as you’re making a move, they’re going to set you up with the next step. They’ve been there for me every step along the way.”