At the March 30th ribbon cutting ceremony for Laurel Creek Apartments, a resident opened her speech
with these powerful words:
“My name is Evelyn Chase…and I am not a victim. I am a survivor.”
Evelyn is not shy about detailing the abuse she has endured. It caused her to run away from home as a teenager. And, as a mother of three, she escaped twice from her common-law husband due to alleged abuse. Evelyn says they always believed things would get better if they just didn’t give up.
“We focused on turning our pain into perseverance,” said Evelyn. “I never allow my pain to dictate my future.”
In 2019, Evelyn began looking for housing she could afford for her family. It was very difficult as she was living on disability – lupus and cancer have prevented her from holding a steady job. The family bounced around between the homes of relatives and friends, an experience that offered no privacy or stability.
Evelyn never stopped looking for housing. After enduring years of rejection from apartment managers who called her a “liability” and getting on numerous waiting lists, in August of 2021, Evelyn and her family moved into the Austin Women and Children’s Shelter. It was another temporary move, not a home. Finally, it happened. Evelyn received a call from a manager at Laurel Creek who said they had been tentatively approved for an apartment in the complex. She and her kids were elated.
“After so many doors closed in our faces, Laurel Creek opened their doors,” said Evelyn. “Our joy went to the next level when we came here to view the complex. We didn’t know we would be moving into a brand new apartment in a beautiful community.”
The most emotional moment of the speech came when Evelyn held up the keychain and keys she was given as her family moved in.
She said, “…and the chain says, welcome home. And, we felt at home. Thank you.”
Evelyn concluded by thanking Foundation Communities for giving her family a fresh start. She also said they’re looking forward to accessing support services at Laurel Creek, including the Learning Center and nursing station. Evelyn said she wants to volunteer with the Healthy Food Pantry program so she can give back to the community.