Skip to main content


EUMA's The Refuge Stabilized My Family's Future

Growing up homeless, Consuelo experienced the challenges of instability firsthand. However, she was determined to break the cycle of homelessness and provide a better future for her eight children. In September 2004, facing uncertainty and hardships, Consuelo and her family found refuge within the walls of The Refuge, our shelter for individuals and families experiencing homelessness.

While at The Refuge she was embraced with open arms by staff members Chris and Melissa. She recalls feeling very nervous to have her large family at The Refuge and dint want to be in the way of the needs and programming of others but the staff made her feel at ease and welcome. She explained that they had a beautiful Christmas and one her family will never forget. She recalls her 3 youngest children nestling in close to her while the other kids pulled the mattresses off their beds to be closer to mom.

While she was searching for a permanent space for her family to reside she explained the difficulties she faced while trying to find a landlord or someone willing to allow her and her 8 children into a home. She made contact with a local landlord, Alice Hannold, which was opened to hearing more of her story and actually came to meet her in person. When the landlord arrived she was sitting at the dining room table playing board games with her children. The landlord explained that she was nervous to offer her a space but after meeting her kids and seeing how they interact—the opportunity arose for her to move out.

Upon her exit from the program she was provided with a full start-up kick such as furniture, pots, pans, new clothes, cleaning supplies, bathroom necessities and more. Mr. and Mrs. Dollax are one of the loyal volunteers that were working on putting in the wheelchair ramp together and they took to her five year old son while they there where he earned his first nickname. EUMA prides themselves in volunteer engagement, training and retention for this exact reason.  In addition, she had great support from her church family which loved and came alongside her during her stay to help with childcare and The Refuge staff worked with her to make that easy on transitions, as a single mom, she explained how crucial that was to her success.

Through hard work, perseverance, and the support of her community, Consuelo was able to overcome the challenges she faced and achieve her goals. Today, she proudly shares that all of her children have graduated from school, found employment, and built successful lives for themselves. She has become a first time homeowner, an active member of her church, and a loving grandmother to 21 grandchildren. She has a goal to write her first book on anthology about her experience of homelessness and her lived experiences as a single African American mother.

Consuelo with her children and grandchildren.

Conselo and family at graduation for family member

“I can never say thank you enough times for the way we were loved and embraced from day one. We didn’t have to even ask, the staff walked alongside us the entire way through."

Our Impact This Year

  • Adults and children sheltered


  • Bed nights provided by Our Neighbors' Place


  • Veterans exiting to permanent housing


  • People rapidly re-housed


© 2024 Erie United Methodist Alliance

Powered by Firespring