For the past 16 years, The ARK has been helping homeless women and families gain their lives back through empowerment programs which help them learn to budget their finances, find a job, getting other personal help they may need.
India Trimble is one of those women who is working to get her life back on track.
After battling opioid addiction, Trimble had secured a job but had a terrible scooter accident which left her in the hospital with permanent nerve damage and pain. Following the treatment, which included opioid pain medication causing her to relapse, Trimble said she had nowhere to go.
“I went into detox a year ago,” she said as she sat in the conference room of The ARK Thursday telling her story. “I’m an opioid addict. I didn’t have anywhere to go.”
Her therapist suggested several times she seek help from The ARK, so in September 2015, she took the recommendation and moved in to the Elkin homeless shelter.
“Things just weren’t heading the way they were supposed to in my sobriety, so I called The ARK at the urging of my therapist to see if they could get me to AA [Alcoholics Anonymous], and they graciously accepted me,” Trimble explained.
“Since I’ve been here, my anxiety level has improved, my depression has eased up and I’ve been able to go to the programs I’ve needed to to move forward and get a place of my own,” she said. “I’m trying to get in Calloway House in Mount Airy. It is a place for people who need a halfway house.”
With a limited time to get through the programs at The ARK and be self-sustaining, Trimble said she’s received her 30-day notice from The ARK. The staff at the home has been assisting her in applying for disability, for which she is still waiting on acceptance.
“This was a good place for me to start. I need to be able to be safe enough to get my own place,” she said. “I still have a lot to learn. I’ve not graduated, and I figured Calloway is a good place to do that, because they deal with people who have addictions.
“This place has got so many resources here that not only is Calloway a place I can go, but there are other places.”
Trimble said The ARK has been able to help her with rapid rehousing, shack housing, transporting her to her AA meetings, helping regulate her medications so she doesn’t have to worry about taking too much.
“If I have a problem I can go to any staff members and they will help me find answers to the problem,” she said. “They are very open and caring individuals here.”
Trimble said she never imagined she’d end up in a homeless shelter, but with the nerve damage in her leg and suffering from major depressive disorder and anxiety disorder, her life was going in the wrong direction.
“I’ve been here since Sept. 1. My therapist had been telling me about this place for a couple of months, but I didn’t want to ‘go some place,’” she said of why she resisted calling The ARK. “This place has been a blessing, because they gave me a place I could grow. I feel better about myself and it’s empowering.
“Everybody feels like they’re a family here. It’s really great I’ve come so far,” she said, adding she hopes to eventually be able to have a place of her own so her daughter can move in with her.
“I believe this place has saved my life, because I was in a deep depression when I came here.”
Despite getting her 30-day notice, the staff continues to work with Trimble to find a place she can continue to get the help she needs. “They’re not just going to throw me out on the street,” she said. “They put me on a 30-day plan to move forward. There are daily steps I need to meet to find a place.”
Since moving to The ARK, Trimble has found a love for crafts and her long-term project is making a quilt in honor of her late grandmother. She said the colors in the quilt are those she wants to decorate her future home in, and it will hang on the wall when she gets her own place.
“I do crafts and coloring to keep my mind busy,” she said. “They have sewing class here on Thursdays, people who come minister to us several nights a week, community people who take you places you need to go. We have a lot of donations come in if we need clothes or coats, to make sure we have the basic needs.”
In addition to quilting, Trimble said she makes paracord bracelets and wreaths. “There are a lot of activities you can get involved in if that’s what you want to do.”
She said The ARK is very clean. “The staff here encourages cleanliness, and it is all done by the residents. We all have jobs we do, and we take pride in how clean this facility is,” Trimble said, noting The ARK is not what one typically thinks of when speaking of a homeless shelter.
After sharing the story of her wreck and how she was so close to starting her new job before it happened, she said of homelessness, “It can happen to anyone of any socioeconomic background. It takes just one catastrophic accident.”
March 1 was the 16th anniversary of the opening of The ARK which can house up to 25 people including individual women or families.
Wendy Byerly Wood may be reached at 336-258-4035 or on Twitter @wendywoodeditor.