Born and raised in Leicester, 23-year-old Rae has struggled with severe clinical depression from a young age, and the family conflict she experienced had her longing for her own space. To make that a reality, Rae's case worker at the Massachusetts Department of Mental Health (DMH) suggested she apply to Abby's House, a non-profit organization that provides shelter and affordable housing, as well as advocacy and support services, to homeless and low-income women. In November 2019, Rae moved into her new, fully-furnished room and began working with Meghan McLeod, Director of Supportive Services at Abby's House. Meghan helps Rae identify personal and professional goals for herself and the tools she needs to achieve them. "Just knowing that I have that support network has helped my mental health a lot," Rae explained.
Rae shares more about how housing has helped to improve her mental health.
Rae, a certified peer specialist, now dedicates much of her time to working and volunteering in the mental health field with youth and young adults. She also loves spending time at the Annette Rafferty Women’s Empowerment Center at Abby's House, where she plays bingo, writes slam poetry, talks to other residents, and does arts and crafts like knitting and jewelry-making. Now that she has her own space, she’s also more physically active and enjoys cooking healthy meals for herself.
Meghan McLeod (of Abby's House) reflects on how Rae is an integral part of the Abby’s House community.
Rae's goals for the future include getting her own apartment, going back to school to become a teacher, and having her own family and cat. In the meantime, she relishes her new freedom and independence, which she says would not have been possible if she hadn’t moved into Abby's House.
Rae talks about how she's gained confidence and independence through her new housing.