One Woman's Journey Through Homelessness

Posted at: 12/14/2012 6:49 PM
Updated at: 12/14/2012 6:50 PM
By: Brittany Lewis

(ABC 6 NEWS) -- Homelessness. It’s a problem in our area, one that isn’t always easy to see, but one where extra resources are needed.

“When I was homeless, I didn't have a bed. I was kind of making pallets on the floor,” said Bernadine Hollins.

She was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2006. Working in childcare, she was forced to quit. The $3,000 she had saved up, quickly running out.

"After it ran out, I didn't have a clue what I was gonna do,” she said.

She went to her daughters.  Living in a small coat closet, down and out and losing hope.

"It was terrible. It was bad being hungry having no food cause you had no sense of belonging you know your family love you, but you don't have no sense of belonging,” said Holins.

Not wanting to burden her daughter or grandkids, she went to the Dorothy Day House. But still, her tank running empty.

"I was so messed up, I was on the verge of doing something,” she said.

So she reached out to Zumbro Valley Mental Health Center.
“We look for individuals in the community who are currently experiencing homelessness and once we find them or they find us, we work with them to hook them up with the services need, which also includes stable housing,” said Shery Block, Program Supervisor for the Homeless Service Team and Outreach Program at Zumbro Valley Mental Health Center.

Zumbro Valley says they help more than 100 homeless people in our area each year, but say that number could be much higher. One survey found 43 homeless people in Rochester in just one day.

"There are people in Rochester living with homelessness and sadly enough the need outweighs the resources that are available,” said Block.

Using the resources available to her, Hollins now has an apartment.

"I got a roof, I got food, and I just feel I'm real blessed."

She brightens up when she talks about her new home. Making up for the two years, she didn’t have one.     

"It's mine. It's home."

Zumbro Valley Mental Health Center says there are many agencies in Olmsted County working together to fight homelessness.