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Rebuilding her life: Linda

June 13, 2023


In our Village Voices series, we shine a spotlight on residents living in Pallet shelter villages across the country and give them the chance to share their stories.

Linda Daniels was walking down the street with her bags looking for a place to sleep that night. An outreach worker happened to notice her and asked if she needed help. Within two weeks, she was a resident of the Rapid Shelter Columbia village. 

A month in, Linda says the chance to have her own space to rest, to return to after a long day as a custodial worker at the University of South Carolina, and to collect her thoughts has been pivotal in being able to move forward. 

“It means the world to me, because I got my own space, and I got my own place to where I can call mine right now,” she says. “I like being by myself a lot of times. So if I'm going through something, I can come in my room and think about what I'm going through and try to make things better. And I think this is a wonderful thing.”  

Linda says she became homeless after experiencing family and marriage problems. Her tendencies to put others’ needs before her own made her lose sight of her duties and, in turn, found herself with nowhere to call home. 

“People were drowning around me and I'm trying to save everybody, but at the same time I'm drowning with them because I'm neglecting myself and my responsibilities,” she says. “It tore my heart apart. It really did.” 

The opportunity of living in the village and to recharge in her own space has given Linda an optimistic view of rebuilding her life. She plans on maintaining her job, getting a place of her own, and focusing on her own needs.  

“I’m ecstatic about this,” she says. “Makes me want to cry because if you only knew my whole situation, this is wonderful to me. And my case manager and the people that helped me to get back into my own place means the world to me.” 

She also has some advice for anyone going through a similar situation: 

“I want them to know that when it seems like it’s not working out or it’s turning for the worse, keep moving forward. Don’t stop. No matter what, how bad it looks, how hard it looks like it’s getting, never give up. Never. And that’s why I’m here.” 

Rapid Shelter Columbia, a Pallet shelter village serving 50 people experiencing chronic homelessness, opened just 70 days after plans were announced.

Read more about breaking ground on the site and cultivating community in Columbia

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