"Re-Birth" at New Life

Quenica Thornton admits that most people would not have even known she was homeless. After all, her children were on the honor roll, she was highly involved with school committees, and she grew up in a stable, loving home. But what appears to be true on the outside often does not reflect what is going on in the heart.

Quenica first moved into New Life Interim Housing in November 2009. “When I first came to New Life I was very upset,” she says. “New Life was the third shelter I was in. None of the other shelters I stayed in were helping me or giving me the resources to move out.” But her attitude was transformed shortly after arriving at her new home in New Life. She felt comfortable, loved and part of a family.

Quenica’s upbringing was nothing short of a blessing. She grew up in a stable home, with two working parents who were dedicated to their children. Quenica became the caretaker of her father who was suffering from diabetes. When he passed away in 2002, she had nowhere to go, so she moved to Tennessee to stay with her older brother. She struggled to find a job there because of the difficult economy and decided to return to Chicago to find employment.  

That is when her search began. She was not only in search of a place to call home for her and her two children, but she was also in need of a new start. During her 11-month stay at New Life, she found a stable job, worked with the staff to find permanent housing, and most importantly, she felt part of a loving community. “My time at New Life was like a re-birth,” she says. “I was able to start over here. I got a new and fresh perspective on life itself.”

Quenica describes her transition of moving out of New Life. “I needed to have my own motivation, but Good News Partners gave me a push. They provided the resources for me and encouraged me to go out and look for a job and permanent housing.”   

Although Quenica is no longer a GNP resident, we keep a close relationship with her because of her new role in the neighborhood as a New Life employee. “The very fact that I can work at a place I resided in is an honor,” she says.  “I never would have thought this would happen.” She looks forward to the opportunities to help encourage other women who are in the same situation she found herself in four years ago. She uses her experience to motivate and inspire others. GNP is blessed to have such a joyous and encouraging spirit in our midst.