Destiny Bottoms remembers what it was like when she first entered The Shepherd’s House (TSH) two years ago.
“I felt alone when first walking through these doors,” she said. “I knew no one. Everything was pretty scary.”
She was a new mother who had just lost custody of her three-day-old son, Abel.
“He was taken from me at the hospital due to drug use in the home, even though I was sober throughout the whole pregnancy,” said Destiny.
Child Protective Services feared that Destiny’s custody case would impact her sobriety, which would lessen her chances of being reunited with Abel. So, through a court hearing, she was ordered to join TSH program to rebuild her life and regain custody of Abel.
“They said if you want this child back, this is what you have to do,” said Destiny.
The effects of substance use disorders are far-reaching. It impacts not only the person suffering, but their loved ones as well. Treatment for substance use disorders vary widely, but often include a combination of medication, behavioral health counseling and lifestyle changes.
TSH provides emergency shelter and support services for individuals and families in Surry and surrounding counties. Its mission is to end the cycle of homelessness by helping its clients achieve self-sufficiency.
In addition to shelter, TSH offers clients:
Within days of entering the shelter, Destiny found a job and was later granted a trial home placement with three-month-old Abel.
“Had I slipped up, lost my job or relapsed, they would’ve been able to take him from me,” she said.
With support and guidance from TSH staff, Destiny continued to build a better life for her and her son.
In July 2019, Destiny graduated from TSH with full custody of Abel and a new place for them to call home. She credits her rehabilitation success to the staff.
“It didn’t feel like I was going to make it to this point,” said Destiny. “If it hadn’t been for the staff leading and guiding me, I don’t know if I would have made it this far.”
TSH helped furnish her and Abel’s new home with basic furniture items, including a couch and bed. And when the COVID-19 pandemic hit, Mary Boyles, executive director of TSH, called Destiny and offered her a staff position.
Now she’s a case manager at the shelter where she connects clients to critical resources like clothing, food assistance and transportation.
“Whenever we get a new client in here, I try to make it as personable as I can,” said Destiny. “I just like to be there for them and let them know that they’re not alone during this journey. There is hope and there is a new beginning out there.”
As the only homeless shelter in Mount Airy, the demand for TSH services continues to increase. In 2019, the nonprofit turned down 504 people, including 276 children, due to a lack of shelter space.
Blue Cross and Blue Shield of North Carolina (Blue Cross NC) invested $100,000 in TSH to support the organization’s capital campaign to build a new facility to increase its housing capacity from 18 to 48 residents per night. The new infrastructure includes:
This facility opened in 2021.
Blue Cross and Blue Shield of North Carolina does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, national origin, sex, age or disability in its health programs and activities. Learn more about our non-discrimination policy and no-cost services available to you.
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