Homeless shelter residents try to rebuild lives during the holidays

Homeless shelter residents try to rebuild lives during the holidays

LONGVIEW, Texas (KLTV) - It’s been a challenging holiday season for many East Texans trying to find joy at the end of a tumultuous year, but for those living in rescue missions, it’s a time to reflect upon rebuilding their lives.

It has been a different kind of holiday season for those living in the Hiway 80 Rescue Mission and the House of Hope for women and it has been a tough year for those trying to rebuild their lives.

“It is a struggle. There’s lots of struggles. We could go on and on about women who struggle and women who have been here,” said Sister Helen Johnson, the women’s shelter director.

At the women’s shelter, they’ve celebrated Christmas by exchanging gifts for five or six days.

When Dorothy Barnes’ husband died, she couldn’t even turn to her family for help.

“We’d been married 40-something years. Without him I didn’t have a backbone,” Barnes said. “My husband died, and my family didn’t want me around, so I called here. I love everyone here. They’re so precious.”

Sheila Woody looks forward to the new year, even though she is battling cancer.

“When I came here I was planning on rebuilding my life,” Woody said. “I found out I had colon cancer. I actually found family here. Sister Helen is like a mom to me who really cares about me. One of the best holidays I’ve ever had honestly.”

Carol Hahn suffers from health problems and has had numerous back surgeries, but she said people should be strong going to the future and not be scared.

“There’s never a bad day or bad year, just bad moments,” Woody said. “And we have to look at it that way. I have never healed well with pessimism. What does pessimism or unhappiness do? It just slows us down.”

Their message is another day is another second chance.

“We understand about loss. We are all broken, and we are just trying to find our way back,” Barnes said.

“And it will be a whole new day tomorrow. And it always is,” Johnson said.

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