Starting over at 72 – From a Tent to an Apartment.

Ruth’s Story of Strength, Bravery, and Hope.

When Ruth decided to leave her abusive husband, she had nothing but an old car and a tent with no poles that she found in a dumpster. At 72 years old, she was starting her life over with next to nothing. She spent weeks on the road, visiting the national parks she had always wanted to see and sleeping in the car.

“It was terribly lonely,” shared Ruth. One of her fondest memories of her time on the road is of coming upon a group of campers who were circled up and enjoying each other’s company. They welcomed her in, and she spent the evening talking and laughing, a luxury she hadn’t realized she missed so much.

Her car became less reliable, and she eventually befriended a landowner in Sheridan who helped her find a better tent and let her set up camp on their land. When Ruth’s car finally gave up, she found herself stranded and relying on her new friend.

Before long, Ruth was ready to be on her own again, and she came to VOA to see if we knew of anywhere safe where she could set up camp. Instead, our Outreach Service Coordinator set to work on finding her a home. Knowing she would need more permanent housing with autumn on its way, he reached out to our low-income senior housing program. In less than a week, Ruth was set up with an apartment of her own. Ruth also began to work with a case manager on benefits, food, clothing, and all the other necessities that would make her new home a safe and happy place to be.

Ruth’s delight upon arriving at her new apartment is why we do what we do. Rather than spending another night in a tent, she had a bed, a kitchen, and, perhaps most importantly, a community of people to talk and laugh with every day.

We have many different programs, and it is truly a blessing that they can come together to serve people like Ruth.

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