Community Housing Network: Johnna

Johnna says she wants to make sure her daughter grows up living a life very different from her own. That life included: an unsupported home life, dropping out of school, living on her own at the age of 17, making $1,000 each weekend night as a dancer and then getting involved in drugs. She says being around the wrong people turned what was once a fun lifestyle into a life that was out of control.

That out-of-control lifestyle included a 10-year addiction to heroin, jail time, and several stints in rehab. Pregnant and homeless, Johnna once again turned to rehab thinking at least it would be a roof over her head. At the time she was still thinking through her options of abortion, adoption, or keeping and raising her child. Life, she said, was a series of so many tough questions. She didn’t have all the answers but she made and kept the decision to stay clean.

During her time in rehab, she heard about Abigayle’s Place, a shelter for pregnant women. The decision about her baby still weighed heavy when she entered the shelter, where she learned she’d be eligible for housing help. “It gave me hope that I could do it on my own and be able to take care of my kid. I wouldn’t have to worry again where I was going to sleep that night. I knew then that we could have a life.”

Johnna has now been clean for just more than three years. Her daughter is growing up in a home filled with laughter, love and hope. She has a tricycle—pink, of course. She and her mom live in their own apartment, have their own car, are involved in a church and are surround by what Johnna calls good people. “Housing makes all the difference for us,” says Johnna, who is now employed, looking forward to buying a new car and hoping one day to own her own home.