Grace Church Housing | Former Resident

Topics:" Front Porch Housing, Housing

Fresh Start

Grace Housing supports a family battling the trauma of mental health and abuse

When our neighbors and church family members find themselves in need of housing, the reasons are not always simple. Many are in crisis, facing a wall of interwoven factors—lack of affordable housing, financial insecurity, consequences of addiction, loss of relationship, or trauma.

As a stay-at-home mom of two, Katie never expected she and her children would need to find a safe place to live. From an outsider’s perspective, her family looked successful—they were financially stable, healthy, and well-connected in their church community.

But for years, Katie had sought help for her marital issues. Her husband, Drew, was verbally and emotionally abusive, stemming from a mental illness—narcissistic personality disorder. In 2019, Drew became increasingly abusive, and as attempts were made to correct and restore him, he was defensive, noncompliant, and volatile. Eventually church leadership recommended the two separate. Drew was unwilling to move, and Katie and the kids needed to find a safe place where he wouldn’t be able to find them. Staying with family or friends was out of the question.

Through Grace Housing, Katie was provided with a 3-bedroom apartment in a safe location. In the span of an afternoon, she threw necessities into laundry baskets, picked her kids up from school, and moved into a completely new home, fully furnished.

“If I had tried to get a place on my own, they would have needed my husband’s salary, and he would have been able to track my location.” Katie says. “He didn’t know for months where I was, and during that time I was able to get an order of protection from the court.”

While the hope during this time was for Katie and the kids to reconcile with Drew, it became increasingly clear that he was unwilling to seek help and change. Eventually he withdrew funds from Katie’s bank account, and without a job, paying rent was challenging. During these times, Grace provided flexibility with her payment dates, and installed a security system at the apartment.

“They really protected me,” Katie says. “Grace Housing was key to me being able to start another life. It put me in a safe space and gave me that time to heal and to grow.”

During her time in Grace Housing, Katie found support through a Family Grace group with other families facing similar situations with loved ones, as well as through relationships built with other residents in the program. Even though her background and personal situation were different from some, the need was the same, and Katie appreciated the unique community created.

“Grace did an excellent job of stepping into a messy situation with me and walking me through this process. They’re adamant about not letting their members be in need. This has ended up being such a surprise and a testimony to outsiders that a church would get involved to such an extent. Even though it can seem like such a big church, it was amazing to me how much they care.”

After two years in the program, Katie and her children are now renting a house of their own. Through connections she had from church, God provided a job for Katie in her skillset that she enjoys and allows the flexibility she needs to care for her kids. Though things remain unresolved with her husband, she’s grateful for the countless ways God has cared for her during this tumultuous time.

  • “There are so many ways that God has come through for us,” Katie says. “I’ve learned that God blesses faithfulness if we will just take what he gives us in trust and dependence.”

The names in this story have been changed to protect anonymity. For more on Grace Church Housing, visit GraceChurchSC.org/Housing.