Jun 14, 2023

Simon House Spotlight: 'It's really hard to potty train a child when you are homeless'

Cassie’s 5-year-old daughter pressed close to her mother, clinging to a toy horse.

“She isn’t used to people just sitting and talking, calmly, without a lot of shouting,” Cassie explained. “My girls have suffered so much from what they have lived through.”

After an emotionally abusive marriage, with “lots of loud arguing,” her husband of nine years recently deserted the family. Cassie makes a point of speaking with her daughters in a calm and reassuring voice.

Cassie, now just 25 years old, described experiencing two years of homelessness, living in the family car, with an occasional night in a motel or with a family member, and then back to the car.

“It’s really hard to potty train a child when you are homeless,” she remarked.

So, when she and her two daughters (ages 5 and 9) entered the Simon House shelter on Campbell Street in Frankfort, Cassie realized that she would finally have a stable place for her family. What she felt was overwhelming “relief."

She learned “I had a lot more help than I thought I had. My case worker was amazing — she worked so hard for me.”

They stayed at the family shelter for several months and eventually Cassie was hired as staff for the 24-hour Simon House shelter. Her caseworker helped her find an apartment nearby.

“I am so happy that we are in a really good school district,” Cassie added.

The girls are receiving therapy through the school for serious developmental delays “because of all the school they have missed, and for emotional trauma.”

Cassie’s main focus now is on caring for her girls, but she is also continuing her college studies. She was majoring in computer science, but she hopes to change her major to social services.

“Working at Simon House is the only job I have had that doesn’t feel like work,” she added. “I want to help people in the future. I know I can do that.”

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It is only together that we can help lift up the stories of the many others who have experienced homelessness like Cassie.

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