It was a frigid winter’s day. Tiffany was waiting at a bus station near Smith Road with her two-year-old son, Quincy, nestled under her coat. She was shivering from the rain that had turned into snow and felt like she was on the verge of getting frostbite. In that moment, she thought to herself, I cannot wait to have my own place to call home. I cannot wait.
That was the same day that her case manager, Donna Shelton, called with news that changed her story forever. She had been chosen for the Section 8 voucher program, a program of the Denver Housing Authority that enables families to rent an apartment that they otherwise cannot afford.
“When I called her, she screamed at the top of her lungs,” Donna said. “She was so happy!”
Tiffany didn’t get the voucher by chance or by luck. Tiffany was chosen to receive the voucher because of her drive, determination and go-getter attitude.
“She was doing really fantastic in our program, so it was a no-brainer for me that she get one of those vouchers,” Donna said.
Tiffany became homeless about two months after Quincy was born after walking away from an abusive relationship. She attended Job Corps in the Midwest but got kicked out because of the inability to control her anger. After bouncing around to different family members’ homes, she decided to move to Denver.
“The biggest transformation was watching how angry she came in—she seemed like she was mad at the world,” Donna said, “and she just blossomed into such a lighthearted, loving and cheerful woman. God had definitely just calmed her spirit and said, ‘I made you this way, and this is what the world needs to see.’”
The first time Tiffany and Quincy arrived at Champa House, a former residential program for single mothers offered by Denver Rescue Mission, she failed her drug test and consequently wasn’t accepted. One year later, she returned with hopes of a different outcome. “The second time, I was clean,” she said. “I’m here to stay. I’m here to give my all.”
Tiffany could have easily just skipped the program and given up after getting denied.
“That’s just not what resonated in her spirit,” Donna said. “Something else was pulling at her. That was God. The gift was in there. He just needed it to get to the surface.”
During her time at the Mission, Tiffany started to overcome the deep feelings of anger that caused many setbacks in her past. “The biggest transformation was watching how angry she came in—she seemed like she was mad at the world,” Donna said, “and she just blossomed into such a lighthearted, loving and cheerful woman. God had definitely just calmed her spirit and said, ‘I made you this way, and this is what the world needs to see.’”
As Tiffany began to heal, so did Quincy.
“The more he saw his mom working through difficult situations and talking to people she had disagreements with,” Donna said, “the more we saw a change happening in Quincy.”
After dropping out in 11th grade, Tiffany later finished her high school education online and advanced her GPA from a 1.1 to a 4.0. While in our program, she attended Community College of Aurora and pursued the Patient Care Technician program while also working. She maintained a strong GPA and received multiple scholarships, enabling her to surpass her savings goal.
God amplified Tiffany’s determination to provide for herself and her son. “I really just admired her drive and encouraged her to pay attention to what God has in store,” Donna said. “He didn’t give her this gift for nothing.”
Within a month after receiving a Section 8 voucher, Tiffany found an apartment—her own place to call home that she dreamt about on that cold winter’s day—just for her and Quincy.
Family Rescue Ministry (FRM), a program at the Mission that helps working families who are experiencing homelessness secure stable housing, covered Tiffany’s security deposit.
“It was unbelievable,” she said. “I got my own place.”
After moving in, Tiffany frequently met with her mentor through FRM, Stephanie Jones. Together, they created a budget and a savings plan. Stephanie helped her set career goals and talked through ways to cultivate her relationship with Quincy, now four years old.
“She’s an incredibly goal-oriented person,” Stephanie said. “I realized that about her the moment I met her.”
Tiffany found a PCT job shortly after graduating college in May 2019. She has lived in her apartment for about a year and loves its convenient location, which is walking distance from Quincy’s preschool.
When Tiffany and Quincy are out and about, Quincy would rather be home than anywhere else. “I wonder if it traumatized him a little bit,”
Tiffany said. “I think it did, but at the same time, he knows who he is. He knows who his mom is. He knows where his home is.”