Woman, once homeless, is thankful for new beginning


by Leigh Frillici / 11 News


Posted on November 24, 2010 at 1:39 AM

Updated Wednesday, Nov 24 at 12:17 PM

HOUSTON -- A woman who spent years living on the streets now has a new home, a new job and new hope and she gives thanks to a women’s shelter.

Margaret Torres said her life took a turn down a road nobody wants to take.

 "When I was homeless, I frequently asked myself: 'Why am I in this situation?'" 

Torres said she was homeless for 15 years and sheer grit kept her alive.

"I would clean tables for a plate of dinner," Torres said.

And she lived in her car.  Some nights, she'd pull into a Walmart parking lot, which was the closest thing she could find to home.

“I'd sleep in lane number 8, or lane number 4, because when I had a house I lived at 8411 Little River Road,” she said.

Torres said a number of issues led to her homelessness. Back then, she was struggling with a brain tumor, bipolar issues and a custody battle over her son. She said the issues eventually caused her to lose her job, her health insurance and the roof over her head.

Her life changed direction when a doctor told her about The Woman's Home, an 18-month residential treatment center for homeless women.

"They've lost their family.  They've lost jobs.  We are their last, their last hope, their last chance,” said Paula Paust, the executive director of The Women's Home. “I think they don't realize we are their best hope."

The Women's Home gave Torres a lot of help, like counseling and training. 
With the right medications, Torres is better now and she has a job and a brand new apartment. 

The Women's Home just opened a place for single, low-income women. It’s a safe haven with access to computers, case workers and a giant living room.

The Women's Home, which gets United Way funding, calls Torres one of its success stories.

"This is the biggest blessing I could have asked for," Torres said.

More info:    
The Women's Home Treatment Program: 713-521-3150, ext. 119
To find out about Permanent Housing at the Jane Cizik Garden Place call: 713-328-1976