Lives Changed: From Homelessness to Hope

Our Stories

Miracles do happen! These stories are made possible with the support of friends like you.

Joan - Testimony to Ministry
I arrived at Lenox Hill Shelter for Women in the month of July 2008, feeling sickly and weak. Sorrow had taken the place of joy, because of my dire circumstances. At least one year and a half earlier I underwent a yearlong treatment for chemotherapy, then came the death of my beloved mother, followed by homelessness. Homeless was a word I’d never experienced ...
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Joan B.

John Wesley - Little Miracles
When asked to write about Life Experience and Faith Sharing Associates (LEFSA) I came up with a title for the essay. I call it “Little Miracles.” Read on, hopefully you’ll agree.

A couple of weeks after I moved out of the shelter and into my apartment, I was confined to a wheelchair. One night while coming home, a lady smiled at me and said: “you need LEFSA.” Somehow she knew ...
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John Wesley Mitchell

Donna - Drawn to the positivity
I’d been at Franklin Women’s Shelter and was feeling depressed and down. I was sitting in the corner and didn’t have a sense of direction or know which way to go. I had been working in home care, and my last client was a live-in situation, but after that client passed I couldn’t stay there and had to stay in a shelter. I didn’t know what to expect. All that I knew was...
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Donna

Lisa - Bringing out the love
I first starting coming to LEFSA’s women’s group in 2002 when a community member recommended me to the ministry. There I was introduced to Sr. Dorothy, who instantly made me feel really loved.

During the group everybody was talking about God, so I asked who God was and whether He was a person. Sr. Dorothy told me that God is love...

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Lisa

Grace - God had something for me
The retreat was beautiful and overwhelming. The people that I met, the staff, the team, the ladies and the men and Martindale—everyone touched my heart deeply. I was invited by Georgia and Pamela, and Sr. Mary. You know you’re not going to come back the same, and I feel spiritually changed. I went up there because I knew God had something for me. When I reflected, I saw myself in everyone. God placed in my heart ...
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Grace

Althea - Reconnected Through LEFSA
I became affiliated with LEFSA in 2011 when I was living in Lenox Hill Women’s Shelter on Park Avenue.

I always believed in God and that all people are children of God. Every week I looked forward to LEFSA coming to the shelter. It was my dose of reality ...
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Althea Craig-Morelli

James A - Getting life back
LEFSA gave me my life back. It didn’t just give me my life back, it gave me my family’s life back too. Because when I got better, my family got better also. And not only did my family get better, but my community got a little better.

I dedicate my life to helping others who are caught up in this vicious cycle of poverty and of drug addiction and abuse ...
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James, LEFSA Operations Manager

Debbie - We are always here
I met LEFSA in 2004. I’d been staying at New Providence Women’s Shelter and was on my way to sign out, and I heard gospel songs, like my mom used to sing. Sr. Dorothy walked up to me and invited me in. The gathering gave me peace. I was hooked after that—she would invite me to the Women’s Group and Leadership Study Day. I completed EOP in 2005 ...
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Debbie Canty

Mario - Finding Faith Again
Let me begin by introducing myself. My name is Mario and I’m a 54 year old Dominican raised in West Harlem. I met LEFSA while living in the Boulevard Men’s Shelter on Lexington Avenue. Let me say it’s a very dark place, where you’re living in constant fear that you might be the next victim. As for myself, I thought I was caught up in a nightmare ...
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Mario Pimentel

James B - It's a blessing
It’s been our blessing to provide this service. So many people have said to us, ‘we thought you were not coming out today, but it’s a blessing you are here for us.’ And we are there, every Monday, whether it’s cold or warm outside"...
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James Butler

Amoy Chung - Encouraging and uplifting each other
I honestly feel selfish for enjoying LEFSA the way I have. It was a very humbling experience that I will definitely cherish. At LEFSA, I feel at home. I always feel a sense of calm and serenity once the meetings start. I absolutely love how every attendee and visitor becomes a member of the ever loving and growing family known as LEFSA.

As a nursing student, especially in the accelerated program ...
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Amoy Chung

James, LEFSA Team Member

It was 2011 when I first entered LEFSA’s Men’s Spiritual Development Group. I happened to hear some men talking about it at St. Bart’s Soup Kitchen and decided to join them the following day. I did not know what to expect, but they told me that I could get a good meal and a metro card to travel around the city. I was living on the streets ...

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James, LEFSA Team Member

Johnnie - A beautiful and warm feeling
I was in a shelter at Ward Island and one week I was told about a gathering, where they give us food and talk to us. At the time, my mom had cervical cancer. She was my partner and confidant. When I met James, he touched me, because before saying hi to him I said, “my mom is dying.” The way he grabbed me, it was a beautiful and warm feeling. I started coming to groups ...
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Johnnie

Iris - Living is giving
If you can envision two white nuns, neatly dressed with religious pins on the fronts of their blouses, wearing sneakers, and pulling shopping carts through the streets of Harlem, those were Sr. Dorothy Gallant and Sr. Teresa Skehan. They began to give of their time, and were devoted for over fifty years in doing the Lord’s work. It was at “Harlem Two” ...
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Iris Sankey-Lewis

Timothy - They’ve seen their father become someone
You will know my disciples, because they show love for one another. When you come to this community, that is what you are going to get. It takes time to work on people, but it works. It worked on me. My children think LEFSA is the greatest thing on earth. They love it as much as I do, because they’ve seen their father become someone, and when someone mentions their father’s name people don’t cringe anymore ...
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Timothy

Cameron - Feeling at home
I got involved with LEFSA though my sister, Althea, about 6 years ago. I attended the LEFSA picnic and was amazed by how many people were there—by the food, camaraderie and the whole good feeling you got. When you were in line, people talking to you made you feel at home. That was before I knew about the Leadership Study Day or Men’s Group. All the people who come ...
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Cameron

Brittany - Inspirational and life changing
Thank you to all of the members of LEFSA for welcoming us into your phenomenal community. Each and every one of you are inspiring, and what you do is extraordinary. In the short time we were there, we were able to learn so much, and it truly opened my eyes that I need to spend more time involved in the community.

LEFSA is a place everyone should experience ...
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Brittany Robert

Janet - Support, encouragement and care
Several years ago, I arrived at Life Experience and Faith Sharing Associates, homeless and pregnant. Sr. Dorothy befriended me during that time when my life seemed to be falling apart. She encouraged me to get medical care and pregnancy counseling.

I began participating in the Life and Faith Sharing Community gatherings in the shelter and met other women who were struggling...
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Janet

Lucy - Food for the soul
In the beginning, being homeless was depressing. I was angry, ashamed, and upset for being in that predicament. I had no relationship with God. One day, I came in early from work and went to the Rec Room and walked in on a Life Sharing Community Gathering.

The gathering was on love, and it got me thinking about God’s love for me. I decided I would let these gatherings be my connection back to God ...
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Lucy, LEFSA Housing Advocate

Jorjina - LEFSA as a Family
When I was at a very low point in my life, someone invited me to the LEFSA Women’s Group. Fortunately, I was not working that day, so I went.

Knowing that there were people that had very similar experiences to my own and actually talking about them in a safe environment changed how I felt about myself, my faith, my situation, and my goals. I thank God for LEFSA every day! ...

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Jorjina

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How has LEFSA changed your life? What would you like everyone to know about LEFSA?