The old adage that families are forever rings true for many of us, but HIV/AIDS can wreak havoc on family relationships. An unexpected and heartbreaking consequence of the diagnosis may be that connections with family members are damaged, broken, or lost. For many of our residents, living at Samaritan House means finally having an accepting family. Meet Dora, one of our Samaritan House family. Dora came to Samaritan House after a lifetime of caring for others, when she needed others to care for her.
Dora discovered her gift and passion for helping seniors and disabled individuals while caring for her aged parents, and later put that talent to work at a nonprofit agency in Atlanta. When the recession caused her agency to lose funding, she moved to Texas to seek work opportunities here. But her housing arrangements fell through, and she found herself in a situation she never could have imagined: she was homeless, living in her car, and had no prospects for a job. Rejected by her family because of her HIV diagnosis and not knowing which direction to go, Dora's resourcefulness led her to Samaritan House. She says,
Samaritan House did much more than I could have imagined! Not only did they provide a roof over my head and food to eat, I now have a family for life ..... a family who truly understands my situation and knows exactly how I feel, because they too share the same or a similar situation. Living at the Samaritan House has given me an opportunity to see how my HIV+ peers live with their health conditions while overcoming life challenges. In this, we support and encourage one another. There's nothing like a sister or brother watching out for you in times when you need it the most!
Many of our residents were homeless or living in shelters prior to coming to us, and many have lost their family relationships. At Samaritan House they find not only a home, they find family like Dora to count on in times when they need it most.