October 23, 2023
Esther's Speech from Gerard Place Luncheon on September 14, 2023. Esther is from Nigeria and has been in the United States for about one and a half years. She is pictured here (on the right) with her Gerard Place Case Manager, Rennel Williams.
"Hello everyone. Good afternoon. Thank you for giving me the opportunity. My name is Esther. I will cut right to my story and be straight to the point. I was homeless. I was traveling with my six year old baby living on the streets. We found ourselves in a Vive shelter and I was praying for us to get a home. We were praying, looking for, and one day I got a call. They said, 'Is this Esther? You have a space at Gerard Place.' I was screaming, and I didn't have any money in me to pay the rent. I don't have no service, nothing, zero account. But they said, 'Come in. We'll help you.' And when they gave me the key, I was like, 'Wow, I actually got an apartment!' I came in, I got a social worker, and then with Sasha (Gerard Place Director of Housing), I have Rennel (Gerard Place Case Manager) here, they were supporting me. They helped me to get food stamps, helped my baby for school, helped me to start a program, even helped me to get a driver's license, and then I got a job.
They were just encouraging me. Even when the depression is coming, they keep on fighting, telling me it's okay. I was having depression before I came to Gerard Place, but I would just keep on going. They were motivating me, giving me hope, helping me to get assistance from DSS. It has been great. I can do this today. I have been able to do some programs online. And I am working with the children's department, daycare, and I know that one day I'm going to have my own place, my family coming over here, having my own daycare. God bless you. Amen."